With increasing class sizes, Franciscan University has decided to separate graduation into two ceremonies, one for the sciences and one for arts, in order to remain in Finnegan Fieldhouse for the 2016 commencement exercises.
The Academic Affairs Department surveyed the graduating students earlier this year to determine which option would be most convenient for the majority of people.
“Our priorities are to provide formal events to honor your hard work and success, to let your loved ones experience our campus environment, and to accommodate as many guests as possible for each graduate,” wrote Ann Dulany, director of Advising and Academic Operations at Franciscan University.
The option to create two ceremonies, one for those receiving Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and one for those receiving Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees, garnered 68 percent favorability among student respondents.
“By doing so, we could increase the number of guest tickets to five per graduate, continue to provide a formal event to celebrate your achievements, and allow your friends and family to enjoy our beautiful campus,” wrote Dulany.
In addition to receiving an extra ticket for family and friends to attend their ceremony, graduates could receive a ticket to attend the ceremony in which they are not walking in order to watch their friends cross the stage.
“This will be a trial year for this option,” wrote Dulany, “and with your feedback, we will carefully evaluate the event after graduation and decide whether it accomplished our goals—and met with the satisfaction of you and your guests.”
Those students majoring in both a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts program must choose in which ceremony they will walk.
Those in the Academic Affairs Department considered three other ideas in the decision process regarding changes to graduation but found them unfeasible.
One was to continue the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies in Finnegan Fieldhouse and reduce the number of guest tickets per graduate from four to three per person. This only garnered 32 percent of the students’ support.
“Many of our students come from large families, but even for those with fewer relatives, three tickets (were) not thought to be sufficient,” wrote Dulany.
The second option, which was to find another indoor venue off-campus, was also unsuccessful. Dulany said that the only local facility larger than the Finnegan Fieldhouse is the former St. John Arena, which is no longer available for commencements due to its conversion into a YMCA.
The next option investigated was an outdoor venue on campus or off campus. This was dismissed due to the “fickle,” rainy weather that often graces the May commencement exercises.
“In 9 out of the past 14 years we have had rain and/or thunderstorms on commencement day,” wrote Dulany.
For more information on the upcoming commencement events, visit franciscan.edu/graduationevents.
“We expect the weekend to be a great one for all involved and look forward to celebrating with you and your families,” wrote Dulany.