Today: Apr 21, 2024

Changes have been made to the graduate commencement ceremony

Jay’Mi Vazquez- Managing Editor

As graduate students and undergraduate students begin to anticipate their celebrations, the university has made changes to the 2024 graduation commencement.  

The Graduate Commencement Committee have decided to move the ceremonies to the Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, having both graduate and undergraduate ceremonies on the same day at the same location.  

Taking place on Friday, May 17, the graduate ceremony will begin at 4:30 p.m., and the undergraduate commencement will begin at 10 a.m. 

Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies Julia Irwin said there are many benefits to the commencement changes.  

“The new venue, which has a capacity of 8,000 seats for Commencement, will allow for expanded participation to include Post-Master’s and Graduate Certificate students,” Irwin said.  

Irwin stated that this addition will further recognize students’ achievements but also include more diversity and inclusion in the ceremony. 

“This aligns with Southern’s historical commitment to access,” Irwin said. “These celebrations are deeply meaningful for our students, many of whom have taken non-traditional pathways to achieve this milestone in their lives.” 

With the 8,000-seat capacity, students will be able to now invite more guests to gather and celebrate this ceremony.  

Associate Dean for Graduate Enrollment Management Lisa Galvin said that this ticket increase is something students have been requesting for a long time. 

“Many have families, spouses and children, and the number of tickets allocated is simply not enough to include all in the celebration of their monumental achievement,” Galvin said.  

Galvin said that those participating have been requesting six tickets, showing that the space for more guests is and has been needed. 

Galvin explained how many students asked for the committee to consider moving the ceremony to accommodate more guests. Galvin said that a graduate student emailed her, requesting the commencement to be held at the arena. 

Irwin said that moving the commencement to the Total Mortgage also provides a cost-effective solution for the university. 

“We can optimize resources and allocate funds more efficiently to create the best possible experience for our graduates and their loved ones,” Irwin said. 

Irwin said the committee anticipates this transition will work smoothly and will answer any questions students may have about the changes. 

“Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated as this dedicated group works to make Graduate Commencement memorable for everyone involved,” Irwin said. 

As far as these changes being permanent, the Graduate Commencement Committee has not made that decision.  

“I can’t speak of what the future holds. I can say that with increased graduate enrollment, the issue of seating capacity in Lyman Center is not going to be resolved, and this is a good problem to have,” Galvin said.  

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