Spring commencement to feature two ceremonies

A commitment to ensuring that every UCCS graduate can bring a full contingent of family and friends will mean dramatic changes to Spring 2013 Commencement ceremonies.

This year, there will be two ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. May 24 at the Colorado Springs World Arena, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak announced at a Feb. 7 all-campus forum.

The 11:30 a.m. ceremony will feature bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree graduates from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The 3:30 p.m. ceremony will feature bachelor, master’s and doctoral degree recipients from the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the College of Business and Administration, the School of Public Affairs, the College of Education and the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Commencement organizers encouraged faculty and staff to share news of the change with students who plan to graduate in May to ensure they attend the correct ceremony.

“Our success is causing changes in commencement,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “I simply refuse to give tickets that limit the numbers of our families who come to commencement.”

Many first-generation students bring as many as 12 people to commencement to celebrate their success. This pattern, when combined with a large class, exceeds the capacity of the World Arena.

Faced with limiting the number of guests or having two ceremonies, Shockley-Zalabak, in consultation with faculty and staff governance leaders, opted for two ceremonies.

“That’s not who we are,” Shockley-Zalabak said of limiting guests anxious to see the first person in the family earn a degree.

Shockley-Zalabak compared participating in the two ceremonies to attending a Denver sporting event, a long – but hopefully joyful– day.

“The reality is that when I look at all of this, we are simply running out of seating,” Shockley-Zalabak said.

“While I think it’s going to a long day, and a tiring day, it is a joyful day. The fact that we can’t even fit in the World Arena because we’ve got over 10,000 people coming is testament to the work we do. It’s something that I find invigorating , exciting and tiring.”

To volunteer to assist, or to ask questions about ceremony planning, contact Andrea Cordova, professional assistant, Office of the Chancellor, 255-3436 or andrea.cordova@uccs.edu.

– Video courtesy of Media Services

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