Though May is far away, seniors at Ithaca College are already applying for graduation. With graduation comes the praise of faculty, staff and family members, commemorating the hard work that it took to reach this point.
But parents and seniors at the college have started rallying around the idea of walking at graduation. Currently, students do not walk across the stage at commencement ceremonies to receive their diplomas. Rather, they are acknowledged in a group by school without crossing the stage.
While walking the stage would be nice, it is simply an impractical wish. The college has approximately 1,500 graduating students this year, and having nearly 1,500 students walk would make an already-long ceremony take an unnecessarily long time.
Johns Hopkins University, a school with about 1,400 graduating seniors from their undergraduate students, has each student walk at their commencement ceremony, and it takes nearly four hours from beginning to end. Adding the reading of names would likely more than double the length of the college’s ceremony, making it far too long.
Graduation is a time for recognition and celebration, and it is understandable if students at the college feel that the current commencement ceremonies are lacking in this aspect. But having students walk individually at an all-college ceremony is not a solution. Having a solitary moment in the midst of a five-hour ceremony would be just as undesirable as having no moment at all.
Having separate, smaller ceremonies by school, where students are surrounded by the faculty and staff that have supported them for their years at the college, seems to be a more sensible solution. This, combined with a brief all-college ceremony, could be the solution that makes commencement as personal and rewarding as possible.
Tufts University, a school with an undergraduate population of a comparable size to Ithaca College, has two separate ceremonies — one for the entire university’s graduating class and one for each individual college within the university.
Calling names at a smaller, school-specific event would be a best-of-both-worlds solution, recognizing individuals for their accomplishments while keeping the commencement ceremony a reasonable length.