SUU In View (Alumni Magazine - Fall 2002)
Commencement Evolves With Largest Graduation Class Ever
SUU awarded 1,200 degrees and certificates at the spring 2002 Commencement ceremonies, a new record high in the 103-year history of graduation programs at the Cedar City campus. Consequently, the increasingly larger crowds dictate change in where and when the meetings are held.
The Centrum arena is the largest venue on campus and was therefore selected as the site for three meetings on this momentous occasion. Both the Humanities and Social Sciences College and the Business and Technology College held their individual convocations in the building after the morning's Commencement program had finished. The College of Education completely filled the gymnasium area in the new Sorenson P.E. Building and may have to move to a bigger room this coming year. The Science convocation was overflowing in the Sharwan Smith Center Ballroom and the Performing and Visual Arts students were comfortable in the Randall Jones Theatre.
Another first for this year's Commencement included the shifting of the master's degree hooding ceremonies into the individual convocation programs. This helped to both spread the crowds out into several different facilities and helped shorten the length of the main meeting in the morning.
"One of the most important contributing factors to the flow of the day," Robert Fass, director of the Master of Fine Arts program, comments, "was the fact that graduate degrees were conferred by the individual colleges. In fact, (I think this) let graduate students set a model for undergraduates who may be looking forward to the next step in life. I also feel that we can better serve the students within their area of specialty by letting them shine in their individual disciplines."
"These are all changes we made to better accommodate our guests," says Commencement Chair Dean O'Driscoll ('83 Communication & Physical Education). "As we continue to grow, our size will influence where and how we organize this event. Regardless, though, we want to make sure of two things on that day: one, that we focus on the students who have done all of the hard work, and two, that we make all of our guests on campus as comfortable and welcome as possible."
Fass adds, "As graduate programming (in particular) grows on this campus, we must take proactive measures to streamline our traditions and rituals without eliminating the core values we represent."
Alumnus Jackie Clegg ('87 Communication & Political Science) spoke to the crowd at the Commencement meeting in the Centrum the morning of May 4th. Clegg, a recipient of the Outstanding Alumni award last year, was bestowed an honorary doctorate of International Relations, an appropriate degree since she spent the last several years negotiating for the United States as the vice chair of the board of directors at the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
The other Honorary Degree recipients were D. Eldon Lunt (1940) of Dallas, Texas, and Nick Rose of Salt Lake City. Lunt, a property and realestate developer and University benefactor, received a degree in Business Administration. Rose, president of Questar Corporation, and former chair and current member of the Utah Shakespearean Festival Board of Governors, was bestowed a degree in Performing and Visual Arts.
With the objective of ever-improving, the Commencement committee is very interested in any questions or comment about the 2002 Commencement and Convocations programs. Please submit feedback via our graduation page, or write Commencement Director, 351 W Center, Administration Bldg. 312C, Cedar City, Utah, 84720.