2019 commencement will separate undergrad, grad students

Michael Keaton, the commencement speaker at Kent State’s 2018 graduation ceremonies, said he “wanted to come clean about something” and admitted, “I never really liked school.” Kent State President Beverly Warren reacts at right.

Lauren Sasala

Undergraduate students will be separated from graduate and doctoral students during the Spring 2019 commencement ceremony. 

The One University Commencement — a ceremony bringing graduates from all eight campuses together — will continue in Spring 2019.

The undergraduate ceremony will take place at Dix Stadium on May 11, while the graduate and doctoral students’ ceremony will be at the M.A.C. Center on May 10.

During the university-wide commencement in Spring 2018, every graduate’s name was read no matter what type of degree they received or which campus they were from.

“I love the total combination because I think it gives undergrads that sense of aspiration of what you might accomplish and go on to do with your lives, and I felt there was real value to that,” President Beverly Warren said.

Due to the high number of graduates, Warren said the separation was one shift for this year’s plans.

“We’ve tried to be responsive to some of the concerns about how large the event is and how do you make it feel intimately special for every student,” Warren said. 

Among the feedback from last year, Warren said traffic was a concern for attendees.

“When you bring 20-some thousand into one location, it’s never easy, particularly going to Dix Stadium where it’s kind of a two-lane road and there’s no other entryway,” Warren said.  

The university will explore alternate transportation options to address the blockage that occurred last year.

While Warren said the commencement speaker for Spring 2019 has been selected, they will not officially be announced until late March or early April.

“We want to honor (the seniors’) journey. We don’t want to announce so soon we sort of want to build up, hopefully, (the seniors’) excitement for commencement.”

The university hired celebrities such as Octavia Spencer in 2017 and Michael Keaton in 2018 as commencement speakers.

The Spring 2019 commencement will be Warren’s last as president of Kent State.

“I am really looking forward to that and think it will be a special moment,” Warren said.

Lauren Sasala is the administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected].