Kent State changes commencement policy in hopes of fewer seating issues

Commencement, the last step students take before officially becoming Kent State alumni, will take place Friday and Saturday. The difference from the Spring 2011 commencement is that no one should find himself or herself without a seat this year.

Friday, May 4

6 p.m.

MAC Center

Advanced degree ceremony for Ph.D. and master’s degrees

Speaker: Thomas Melillo, DPM, president of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine

Saturday, May 5

10 a.m.

MAC Center

Commencement ceremony for College of the Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Communication and Information and College of Technology

Speaker: Greg Crawford, Ph.D., Kent State alumnus and dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame

2 p.m.

MAC Center

Commencement ceremony for College of Architecture and Environmental Design, College of Business Administration, College of Education, Health and Human Services, College of Nursing and College of Public Health

Speaker: Dave Edmonds, Kent State alumnus and senior vice president of FedEx

LaShonda Taylor, academic affairs events manager for commencement, said the university changed the commencement seating policy after last spring’s commencement, when many students and more than 500 guests were left without seats.

“Since the May ceremony, we’ve implemented a mandatory commencement RSVP for students who wish to participate in the ceremony,” Taylor said. “We’ve also implemented a ticketing system where each student who does RSVP for the ceremony receives a set amount of tickets for their guests so that way we’re able to accommodate the students and their guests and the ceremony hall.”

Taylor said each undergraduate student receives six tickets for guests and one for himself or herself. Family and friends who do not have tickets can watch a live broadcast of commencement online, in the Kiva or in the Student Center Ballroom.

“We encourage all students to bring tickets and, even if they haven’t RSVP’d, to reach out to our office before the ceremony time,” Taylor said. “Once the ceremony begins, we’re all at different places making sure the day is going swell so I can’t guarantee their participation.”

The Commencement and University Ceremonies office sent out information and reminders about the policy to graduating students throughout the semester. They also sent out information to the permanent addresses of those students so that family members were aware of the new system.

“Ideally, we don’t want to turn any student who’s graduating away,” Taylor said. “But we also want to make sure that we’re able to accommodate all the students who did RSVP and accommodate all their guests in the ceremony hall.”

Live broadcasts of all ceremonies will be shown here.

Contact Rebecca Reis at [email protected].