New graduation ceremony to begin May 2008

Caroline Lautenbacher

Students planning to graduate in December 2007 or August 2008 might want to leave May 2008 open in their calendars.

At that time, Kent State will move to a single commencement ceremony instead of the three commencement ceremonies that are currently held each year.

“This would allow Kent State to turn a milestone for graduates and their families into a celebration of academic excellence and student success for our entire community,” according to an e-mail from President Lester Lefton to the president’s administrative council.

The plan for the change in graduation ceremonies was proposed earlier this semester, and officials hoped to begin the change this year. However, to ensure a smooth transition, the first all-university commencement will be held in May 2008, Lefton said.

“We didn’t want to rush it,” he said. “Students had made plans with their families for this year.”

Lefton also said the university wanted to take the extra time to find a nationally recognized speaker for the ceremony.

“We knew we could have done it this year,” he said. “But it might have been a little disruptive. This gives deans (of their individual colleges) time to plan their events.”

The main ceremony will be held at Dix stadium, rain or shine, Lefton said. Students and their families will then have a one- to two-hour break for lunch. Afterward, students will attend a second ceremony coordinated by their individual college. Students will receive their diplomas here.

“This makes it smaller and more personal,” he said. “With a big ceremony, you can do a big celebratorial event.”

He also mentioned that the single ceremony will be more cost efficient for the university.

Students can still graduate in December and August but can’t participate in a ceremony at that time. They will just receive their diploma, Lefton said.

“It’s not much of a surprise from the evaluations the president did,” said Ross Miltner, Undergraduate Student Senate executive director.

Miltner had presented the change to USS earlier this month and had been discussing it with student groups during the past few weeks. He said he has come across very little opposition from students to changing commencement.

Contact student affairs reporter Caroline Lautenbacher at [email protected].

Student politics reporter Kali Price contributed to this story.