UA to cancel fall commencement ceremony
The UA will not hold a fall commencement ceremony in December due to financial concerns, leaving some with questions.
An email sent from the office of Graduation Services and circulated to advisers and faculty on Feb. 26 confirmed that the December graduation is cancelled.
“As you may or may not have heard, UA commencement ceremonies will no longer be held in December,” the email read.
It also detailed what advisers should tell students scheduled to graduate this December.
The UA's 149th commencement ceremony was held at the end of the Fall 2013 semester in McKale center. The UA will cancel its fall commencement ceremony for this December.
This included a form letter that could to be sent to students, which would offer them options if they want to take part in a graduation ceremony. They will be given the choice of either walking in the Spring 2014 or Spring 2015 commencement ceremony, or of having their diploma sent to them.
Top UA officials could not be reached for comment. Andrew Comrie, UA provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, is expected to make an announcement regarding the permanent fall commencement in the near future, but could not comment at this time, according to Chris Sigurdson, senior associate vice president for University Relations.
Morgan Abraham, an engineering management senior and president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, confirmed that the December ceremony will be cancelled.
Abraham said that he was informed of the cancellation by UA President Ann Weaver Hart, but that ASUA was not consulted on the decision. He said that he believes more students who are scheduled to graduate in the fall should have been consulted before the decision was made.
Abraham said he had been told that the cancellation was an attempt to save more funds for the UA’s spring commencement ceremony.
“They were really kind of focused on making U of A commencement a brand, a thing that is nationally known and gets the attention of high schoolers and college graduates all around the country,” Abraham said. “This was kind of their way of accomplishing that goal.”
The UA’s delay in making an official announcement has left many of the colleges’ advisers and administrators unsure about their own graduation ceremonies and what to tell students.
Theresa Darras, assistant to the dean of the College of the Humanities, said that she has tried to get a definitive answer as to whether her college is still having its ceremony, but has been unable to.
“People just don’t know what to say when I call them,” Darras said. “I call somebody and they say, ‘Oh, I’m not the person, maybe this person is, I’ll get back to you.’ And then they don’t get back to me.”
Darras said that she has had students coming to her, asking questions that she has not been able to answer.
Erin Deely, program coordinator for the College of Science, said that the College of Science is not cancelling its college-wide graduation ceremony for the fall. She said she had not been consulted about the cancellation, but that it would not affect the College of Science’s ceremony.
“It seems to me like it would be even more important for the colleges and departments to maintain [their fall graduations],” Deely said.
John Jones, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, also confirmed that he knew of the cancellation. He said that SBS will still be conducting a fall commencement ceremony.
It is unclear at this time if the elimination of the UA’s fall commencement ceremonies is permanent.