University releases commencement plans


Nefsa'Hyatt Brown, Editor-in-Chief

As the semester rapidly comes to a close and students plan to return home for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the university released a memorandum on Oct. 23 detailing the Fall 2021 commencement plans. This year, the university is hosting three separate commencement convocation sessions beginning Friday, Nov. 20 through Saturday, Nov. 21, in the university’s new stadium to include each graduating class of 2020 from the spring, summer, and fall.

The first session will be on Friday, Nov. 20, at 1:45 p.m. for candidates from University College and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The second session will be on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 8:45 a.m. for candidates from the College of Education and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The final ceremony will be held on Nov. 21 at 1:45 p.m. for the following colleges: Percy J. Vaughn Jr. College of Business Administration, College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and the College of Health Sciences. Throughout the three ceremonies, the Harold Lloyd Murphy Graduate School will also award graduate degrees by each college’s graduate degree offering.

“I am finally getting what I’ve been waiting for,” said Braxton Woody, a summer 2020 graduate, expressing his excitement for the upcoming ceremony. “I’m happy I’m finally getting the opportunity to celebrate my accomplishments with my family. I am also eager to see how all of it goes, especially since we aren’t having a rehearsal.”

Unlike previous years, the ceremony is both a ticketed and mask mandatory event. The university will give each student five tickets, and both themselves and their guests are required to wear masks and receive temperature checks before entering the stadium. In terms of transferring tickets, the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Commencement Coordinator Carl Pettis, Ph.D., explained that although students are not able to purchase additional tickets that the transfer of tickets is between the “students who have the tickets in hand and the student who would like to receive them.”

In terms of provisions from the memorandum, it states that there is a dress code for graduation. Men are to wear black slacks, a white dress shirt, and black shoes, whereas women are to wear black skirts, a white blouse, and black heels. Despite using the word “should” in the memorandum, Pettis assured that the dress code is required.

“There is and always has been a dress code for graduation,” Pettis said. “However, I will say that we are not in the business of turning students away.”

Furthermore, as stated in the memorandum, students cannot have excessive designs on their graduation hats. This includes all 3D designs that incorporate items hanging off or stacked on top of their hats. If a student violates this rule, they will receive another cap to wear with their regalia.

While students were required to order their regalia by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 26, Pettis ensured a contingency plan for students who missed the deadline to order their cap and gown. As the days to commencement wind down, Pettis explained that the university would continue to send more information regarding tickets and other “day of issues.” He also urged students to visit the commencement page on the university website to stay updated on information as the university releases it.