December Grads: No Caps and Gowns?
Graduating college can be one of the proudest moments in a person’s life, regardless of the time it takes them to get there. Despite this, Southwestern fall and summer graduates do not get their own graduation in time with the completion of their degree.
“Southwestern doesn’t hold a December graduation due to the academic schedule, since grades are due after the semester has come to a close. If we were to follow the same schedule set for the spring semester, where seniors have a full week off before Commencement Convocation, it would push graduates another week into the winter break,” Associate Director of University Events, Xan Koonce said.
Instead, if graduates wish to walk the stage with a cap and gown they are expected to do so in May. Despite the reasoning, waiting an extra week can seem a much slighter inconvenience when compared to waiting five extra months. Although December grads may not get a timely commencement, they are not just ignored at the end of fall semester.
“We too want graduation to be memorable for our December graduates,” Koonce said. “That’s precisely why a number of years ago the University adopted the idea of inviting all fall candidates for graduation to participate in the December Recognition Ceremony.”
This congratulatory celebration held in the Lois Perkins Chapel, while not equivalent to commencement, does have its perks.
“Unlike our May graduation where tickets are limited, there’s no limit to the number of guests, and the December graduates are invited to nominate a faculty or staff member of their choice to partake in the ceremony,” Koonce said. “And though cap and gowns are not worn, hoods are presented and placed on each graduate.”
After the ceremony there is a reception in the Bishops Lounge. Although this celebration may seem wonderful, it is still not a graduation ceremony. Students are still expected to go to the May Commencement in order to receive their physical degree.
“However, if circumstances prevent participation, you must request permission to graduate in absentia,” Koonce clarifies. “December graduates and their parents will be receiving a Save-the-Date e-mail around the end of September and the invitation will be mailed out towards the first part of November,” Koonce said.
December grads may not get things as timely as May grads, but in the right light it allows them to have twice the fun.
All seniors were sent an e-mail this past Tuesday, Sept. 6 providing access to the Senior Google Calendar including important dates as well as access to the Senior web page that provides everything you need to know to prepare for the December Recognition Ceremony and May graduation. The Senior web page can be accessed at http://southwestern.edu/gateways/seniors/december_recognition.php.