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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Divided ceremonies

    It’s time to throw caps in the air for the 4,895 undergraduate students and 1,501 graduate students who will receive their degrees this weekend at the UA’s 140th commencement ceremony.

    Undergraduate and graduate students will have their own respective ceremonies this year. The graduate ceremony is Friday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. and the undergraduate ceremony is Saturday, May 16 at 8 a.m. Both ceremonies will take place in McKale Memorial Center.

    This is the first time the two ceremonies have been split, said Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, who worked on the commencement communications plan.

    “”Simply putting them together at the rate that the university is growing and the students are graduating just made it too time-consuming,”” Ruiz-McGill said. “”It was felt that we would be able to give everybody the credit they deserve on their day by separating it into two different ceremonies.””

    In May 2008, 4,540 undergraduate and 1,117 graduate degrees were awarded, according to a UA press release.

    The 2009 graduating class “”is definitely the largest undergraduate class,”” Ruiz-McGill said.

    In order to carry out an event of such magnitude, the university relies on volunteers, both professional staff and students.

    “”We normally average about 20 to 30 volunteers,”” said Claudia Davila, commencement volunteer coordinator.

    Volunteers help students process into McKale, Davila said, adding that there will be “”two different groups coming in at the same time, from Bear Down and Gittings.””

    “”A lot of our volunteers have worked with students who are graduating, so they have that connection with them,”” Davila said. “”There’s a lot for people to volunteer for and reasons why, so it’s a good experience.””

    Each ceremony will have its own speaker: Alan Weisman for the graduate students and Dean Kamen for the undergraduate students.

    Weisman, a UA professor of journalism and Latin American studies, said he hopes to “”say something that will be of some value.””

    “”I don’t expect to be talking about the great challenges and you know, all of that empty, bloated jargon you hear so often in so-called inspirational speeches. I’m sure someone there will be doing that,”” Weisman said. “”I’m simply going to talk about what I think are some interesting, important things that are going to (be) facing them in this world.””

    While Weisman is an award-winning writer, Dean Kamen is the inventor of the Segway Personal Transporter and holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents. He’s a “”great entrepreneur and advocate for science and technology,”” Ruiz-McGill said.

    The Alumni Foundation will also address the audience and introduce alumni award recipients, Ruiz-McGill said.

    “”What I’m mostly interested in is not the event but the students themselves,”” Weisman said. “”They’re heading off to do something with the education I hope they’ve gotten here.””

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