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Commencement additions make room for all

Due to the dramatic increase in the number of students who have chosen to participate in Commencement in recent years, the University is adding a Fall Commencement Ceremony and a second Harpur College undergraduate ceremony in the spring.

“For several years, more students have participated and they have wanted to bring more guests to Commencement, and we felt that we needed to make some changes to accommodate these requests,” President Lois B. DeFleur said.

The new Fall Commencement will help ease the demand for tickets seen in recent years for the University’s spring ceremony while providing fall-semester graduates similar recognition for their accomplishments. The second Harpur College of Arts and Sciences ceremony in the spring will also accommodate more attendees.

“Our goal is to provide the best possible options for our students to participate in Commencement with all of their families and friends in attendance,” DeFleur said.

“Each candidate will be given four tickets to the fall ceremony when they purchase a cap and gown, but can request additional tickets during the RSVP process,” said Mary Burns, Commencement coordinator.

Undergraduate candidates for the fall ceremony are asked to complete the Commencement Reservation Form found at before Nov. 9.

Graduate students should visit for information and deadlines that must be met to fulfill their degree obligations. The Commencement Reservation Form will be used for spring ceremonies as well, but will not be available for spring 2008 graduates until January.

The fall ceremony will replicate all of the grandeur of the spring ceremonies, organizers said. “The smaller-size ceremony and the fact that there are no recognition ceremonies in the fall will enable us to have all graduates, including undergraduates, walk across the stage as their names are called,” Burns said. “All graduates will also have their photo taken by a professional as they shake hands with the president or are hooded by their faculty adviser.”

New, green robes with white satin stoles will be used beginning with Fall Commencement. Students will be able to start a new tradition by signing their stoles and giving them to a faculty or staff member to show their gratitude. They’ll also be able to purchase an extra stole if they wish to keep one for a memento.

As plans fall into place, the call has gone out for student speaker nominations for Fall Commencement, which will begin at noon Sunday, Dec. 9, in the Events Center. The ceremony will feature speeches by one undergraduate and one graduate student, as well as a yet-to-be-selected speaker to address the graduates, Burns said. The Sunday before fall finals was chosen to ensure candidates for graduation, as well as faculty and staff, would still be on campus. Future fall ceremonies will also be held on the Sunday after the completion of classes and before finals week.

The Harpur College ceremony in the spring will be split into two ceremonies to allow more friends and relatives to attend. “Students will choose which Harpur ceremony they wish to attend — the morning one at 9 a.m. or the afternoon one at 4 p.m. — on a first-come, first served basis,” Burns said. “When one ceremony reaches the maximum, students will attend the other ceremony.”

The two Harpur ceremonies will be for all Harpur students, regardless of major, and will have similar programs.

Fall Commencement

The ceremony starts at noon Sunday, Dec. 9 at the Events Center. For more information for undergraduates, go to Graduate students should go to


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Last Updated: 10/14/08