As we begin the spring semester, we can also start to look ahead to the wonderful celebration that is Commencement Day: the culmination of all our hard work and the fruition of our students’ dreams and aspirations.
With this in mind, I write to inform you about a change to the upcoming Graduate Commencement Ceremony. After careful consideration and evaluation of a number of factors, the Graduate Commencement Committee has decided to move the venue for the 2024 event to Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport on Friday, May 17. The graduate ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. on the same day and at the same location as the Undergraduate Commencement, which will begin at 10 a.m.
We believe that this change will bring several benefits to the ceremony, enhancing the overall experience for both participants and attendees, namely:
- Inclusion of ALL Graduate Students: The new venue, which has a capacity of 8,000 seats for Commencement, will allow for expanded participation to include Post-Master's and Graduate Certificate students. Due to capacity constraints, they have not been previously included in the on-campus ceremonies at the Lyman Center. This addition will not only recognize these students’ achievements but also contribute to the diversity and richness of the ceremony, while demonstrating our commitment to inclusion.
- Increased Guest Tickets: The larger capacity of Total Mortgage Arena also provides participants with the opportunity to invite more guests to share in their special moment. This aligns with Southern’s historical commitment to access: these celebrations are deeply meaningful for our students, many of whom have taken non-traditional pathways to achieve this milestone in their lives.
- Unified Ceremony for All Graduate Students: Holding a single ceremony for all graduate students, regardless of their program, promotes a sense of community and unity. This inclusive approach allows students to support their friends and colleagues across various disciplines, fostering a collaborative spirit among the graduating class.
- Cost Savings: Shifting to Total Mortgage Arena presents a cost-effective solution for the university. By consolidating two graduate ceremonies into one event, on the same day and at the same location as the undergraduate ceremony, we can optimize resources and allocate funds more efficiently to create the best possible experience for our graduates and their loved ones.
The committee understands that this change may raise questions, and it is committed to ensuring a smooth transition. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated as this dedicated group works to make Graduate Commencement memorable for everyone involved. If you have any concerns or require further clarification, please contact Lisa Galvin, Chair of the Graduate Commencement Committee at: email@example.com.
I thank you for your continued support of our students, and look forward to celebrating the achievements of our graduates with you at the Total Mortgage Arena on May 17.
Dr. Julia Irwin
School of Graduate and Professional Studies