The compromising of our commencement ceremony

Anthony Jakubiak - University student

To the University of Minnesota and the College of Science and Engineering: Would someone from the University please explain to me why the commencement ceremony for graduating CSE students precedes finals week?

I can imagine the conversations between students and their parents: “Oh, hey mom and dad. What, why am I looking so stressed at my commencement ceremony? Why canâÄôt I enjoy the moment which I have spent four years and nearly $70,000 to reach? Why did you drive five hours to see me graduate but cannot stay the weekend to celebrate my accomplishment because I have to study? Why did you have to take off work to attend this ceremony when other colleges have their ceremonies on the weekend? Well, you see, I have two finals Monday that are worth more than a third of my grade, and if I donâÄôt pass them I wonâÄôt graduate.”

What about graduating College of Biological Science students whose commencement ceremony is Saturday night after finals have finished? How did CBS earn that time slot at Mariucci Arena over any other colleges? Have I not paid the same tuition, studied just as hard and earned the same right to be able to enjoy walking across the stage and receive my diploma as any CBS graduate has?

I am not bitter toward CBS graduates. I am only curious about why the University and its colleges do not treat all graduating students equally.

This editorial goes out to all other graduating seniors who will have their graduation experience compromised due to finals week. College of Education and Human Development students have their ceremony Thursday during finals, and College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences has theirs Friday during finals.

This situation reminds me an awful lot of when convocation used to be held during the first week of classes, causing many freshmen to choose between attending the ceremony or going to class. Thankfully, convocation has since been moved to Welcome Week so all freshmen can enjoy it.

It seems like the only colleges that got commencement right were the Carlson School of Management and the College of Liberal Arts. Their graduating ceremonies are on the Sunday and Monday, respectively, after finals.

I understand the enormous complexity of organizing commencement ceremonies for multiple colleges with thousands of graduates. But last time I checked, there is more than one high-capacity facility on campus besides Mariucci Arena, where all colleges seem to be holding their commencement ceremonies this year. What about Williams Arena? Ridder Arena? Northrop Auditorium? TCF Bank Stadium?

These facilities should be utilized simultaneously in order to allow the maximum number of graduating students to walk across the stage and enjoy the experience. And, for those like me who are looking forward to walking, to not be faced with the choice between studying or attending their graduation.