Separate ceremonies scheduled for Saturday

Julie Frank

Julie Frank

A total of 1,457 students completed requirements for graduation this year, and about 996 students will walk in two separate graduation ceremonies on May 3, according to University Relations.

For the first time, the graduation commencement will be split into two separate ceremonies, one for undergraduates and the other for graduates. The undergraduate ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. in Frost Arena, and the graduate ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. in the PAC.

“We just felt that the graduation exercise has just gotten so large and cumbersome that we could not handle it efficiently all at one time,” said Diane Holland Rickerl, associate dean of the Graduate School.

Information was gathered through surveys distributed to faculty, administration and students regarding a change in the commencements, Mary Kay Helling, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said. She said the split among graduate and undergraduate students is common. Academic Affairs also considered addressing the problem by separating the universities’ eight colleges into several ceremonies.

Of the students graduating, 1,185 are undergraduates and 272 are graduate students.

A pre-commencement concert prior to the morning ceremony for undergraduate students begins at 9:20 a.m. with the SDSU Symphonic Band under the direction of Jim McKinney. Professor Emeritus of Music Charles Canaan will be organist for the afternoon ceremony for graduate students, according to University Relations.

Rickerl said the graduate commencement was being held in the PAC because it will provide a more intimate setting. Doctorate-receiving students and pharmacy students will be seated on the stage so they can be recognized by the audience. Masters’ students will be seated in the back of the main floor but will walk on stage to receive their diploma, similar to other graduation commencements.

Madeleine Andrawis, academic senate chair, is responsible for presenting the graduation class to President David Chicoine and the Board of Regents during the ceremony and recognizes the Academic Senate and graduating senators. She said the two ceremonies will be similar and include speakers. In addition, faculty awards will be given out and music provided by the band and chorus will be included in the commencements, said Helling.

Honorary marshals for the undergraduate ceremony are Robert Burns, dean of the Honors College and distinguished professor of political science, and Doris Giago, associate professor of journalism. Honorary marshals for the graduate ceremony are Mary O’Connor, professor and coordinator of graduate studies in English, and John Ruffolo, associate dean of research and sponsored programs and the graduate school, according to University Relations.

The public is invited to both exercises. The morning ceremony in the Frost Arena can also be viewed on Mediacom Channel 2.

Helling encourages everyone to attend the ceremonies and said it is a wonderful experience to cap off the college experience for students and their families.

For more information on the day’s events, contact Mary Kay Helling, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at 688-4173 or [email protected].