CLA dean confirms: No fall commencement

James Parente met with students last week to answer questions.

Sally Hunter

After several students contacted him with concerns regarding the College of Liberal Arts fall commencement cancellation, Dean James Parente invited them to two meetings last week where he offered substitutions but confirmed there definitely wonâÄôt be a fall ceremony for the students to walk.

Topics discussed at the Thursday meeting included the budget, venues considered and what students want in their âÄúcelebratory eventâÄù that will replace the traditional ceremony, said Chris Kearns, assistant dean for CLA undergraduate programs.

Students were invited to help with the planning process of the event, which is planned for Dec. 15, Kearns said. The committee wants to create an experience that the students want, he said, adding that students have already voiced the importance to connect with family at the event.

Parente announced late last month the school had cancelled the winter ceremony because of the closure and renovation of Northrop Auditorium, which left no viable alternative.

Forty-five students are a part of the Facebook group, âÄúWe Deserve a Commencement Ceremony, Class of 2011,âÄù which organized efforts to revive the commencement.

At the meeting, senior Brian Murrell suggested hosting the commencement outside of the UniversityâÄôs campus. However, there is a strong tradition at the University to have the commencement on campus, Kearns said, which rules out that option.

Senior Kim Wooster, who attended the second meeting, drafted a proposal to have the commencement at Ted Mann Concert Hall on the West Bank campus. The committee told Wooster that it had considered Ted Mann, but that there isnâÄôt enough space for guests there, Wooster said.

âÄúOnce people settle down, theyâÄôll buck up and make the best of what theyâÄôve got,âÄù Wooster said.