HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) – Centenary University made changes to their commencement ceremony just in time for the 144th ceremony.
The most significant change to the ceremony is the location. Previously, the ceremony has taken place on the front lawns of the university’s main Seay building. The need to change the site was due to many factors, primarily weather, according to the university.
The past two years’ inclement weather hampered the ceremony. Concerns about the rain were raised this year by Intermin President Rosalind Reichard. Reichard submitted a request to find a better way to hold the commencement, with a space to accommodate a tent that will hold 2,800 people. Three options were presented to the board: keep the commencement in the same location, move the commencement off campus, or to move it across campus to Anderson Field. The three locations were evaluated, and officials ultimately selected Anderson Field to be the new home of the commencement ceremony.
“The front lawn of the Seay building could not be used because the tent would not fit, and concerns about damaging the turf on the turf field ruled that location out,” said Reichard in an interview. The figure of 2,800 people needing to be accommodated for the ceremony was based on previous year figures.
Previously, the commencement ceremony used only one tent that only covered the graduates, and family and friends were seated behind the tent with no cover. This proved to be problematic because of the inclement weather. Reichard said “often times those seats would wind up empty because people didn’t want to get wet.”
A ticketing system will be implemented for the first time this year to better understand the number of people attending. Four tickets will be issued per graduate, and additional people that would like to attend can put their name on a waiting list. Reichard expects to be able to accommodate everybody who wants to intend, including those on the waiting list.
The entire ceremony is also going to be slightly different. Last year the school noticed many graduates leaving before the student valedictorians spoke. To combat this, speakers this year will be earlier in the ceremony, and graduates will not be allowed to leave the ceremony early. These changes are intended to make the ceremony “more student-centered,” Reichard said. The procession through the arbors in front of the Seay building has been a tradition at the school for years, and that will remain unchanged. The administration is still working with the student body to decorate the tent.
A change.org petition that was shared among students, “Keep Centenary University’s Commencement Ceremony on the Front Lawn of Seay”, has garnered nearly 1,200 signatures. The petition was created by a group of graduating students to try and reverse the university’s decision. RNJ spoke with Nicole Arnold who will be graduating this year about the change. She believes that “the graduating class should have a say in where the graduation ceremony takes place.” Arnold goes on to say “at this point we need to just look forward to having a really good commencement ceremony.”
The 144th Commencement Ceremony will take place on May 11, at 11:00 a.m.
By: Anthony Preziosi Like on Facebook