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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “New commencement to separate grads, undergrads”

    Beginning in May, the format of the commencement ceremony will be changed so that UA undergraduate and graduate students will have two separate ceremonies, according to a memorandum from President Robert Sheltona.

    Graduate students will be honored in a ceremony held at 7:30 p.m. in McKale Memorial Center on the Friday following finals week. It will include recognition of honorary degrees, alumni achievement awards, and graduate student awards. Graduate students from all colleges will participate, according to the memorandum.

    Undergraduate students receiving their bachelor’s degrees will be honored in a different ceremony on the following Saturday at 8 a.m. in McKale Center. This ceremony will include the presentation of all undergraduate awards and students, Shelton said.

    “”We expect that the undergraduate ceremony won’t be more than an hour,”” said Lori Goldman, director of enrollment management. “”Everyone doesn’t come. We don’t come close to filling [McKale] up.””

    She said she hopes the new, shorter ceremony will encourage undergraduates to come.

    Previously, there were two ceremonies determined by the different colleges, with undergraduate and graduate students together. Goldman said they have decided to separate the two because undergraduates don’t usually want to sit through all the awards presented to graduate students.

    This way, the graduate students will get properly recognized and the undergraduate ceremony will be less formal and more celebratory, she said.

    “”We get an opportunity to recognize the students’ achievements,”” Goldman said.

    Goldman said the goal is to make things better for students.

    The plans for these changes in commencement have been in the works for about two years, and have included the input of many students and faculty, she said.

    “”It’s actually not more convenient,”” she said. “”A change like this is pretty big.””

    Carmen Themar, program coordinator for the College of Nursing, said no one can determine whether the new format will be better or not until they have gone through it this first time.

    The Graduate and Professional Student Council said they were supportive of doing the two different ceremonies.

    The university-wide winter commencement ceremony will remain the same, with graduate and undergraduate students recognized in the same ceremony. The separate college convocations will remain the same as well, Goldman said.

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