Demise of December commencements surprises students

Students are surprised that St. Thomas is cutting December commencement exercises. From now on, students planning to graduate in December will not be able to participate in a commencement ceremony until May.

St. Thomas’ administration is eliminating December commencement ceremonies because of its proximity to Christmas, its typically lower number of graduates than in May and to tighten the budget. The university is also scaling back on commencement receptions this spring.

“There will be no receptions following the spring ceremonies at the Metrodome,” said Liz Pojar, commencement coordinator. “When the spring commencement ceremonies are back on campus, there will be receptions following the ceremonies but on a smaller scale than in the past. At this time I’m not sure what the receptions will look like, but there will be an opportunity for graduates and their families and friends to gather on campus following the ceremonies.”

Students are frustrated by the elimination of the December 2010 commencement ceremony.

“You spend your entire college career working for your degree, and it’s kind of a huge honor to receive it,” senior Lauren Buesgens said. “And then that they don’t acknowledge that is pretty unfortunate for all the students that it’s going to affect.”

Senior Taylor Acker agreed.

“I think commencement is pretty essential and should be available to people who want to graduate in winter or spring,” he said.

Other students believe university administration should be spending its money more wisely instead of eliminating important events like commencement.

“I think the way that they spend the money here is a little messed up because they don’t put the right priorities on what they spend money on,” sophomore Kelly Hall said.

Sophomore Meagan Tinajero said she thinks similarly.

“Students’ education is priority here, so when they’re spending money on different things like Coffee Bené, it’s kind of taking away from students and graduation is something you’re going to have once in a lifetime,” she said.

Some students think the December 2010 commencement should not be cut because students wishing to participate in the commencement ceremony will have to wait until May.

“I like the idea of having the graduation in December for people who want to graduate earlier or had stayed later to get the requirements they needed for their graduation,” sophomore Ryan Daniele-Van Slyke said. “I feel like they wouldn’t like to stay another semester for no reason.”

Regardless of cost issues, St. Thomas students think the December 2010 graduating class should still be recognized.

“I don’t know how big the class is, but there’s usually not as many kids graduating in the fall,” junior Kim Laughlin said. “I don’t know if they could fit everybody in the OEC auditorium or something, but they should do something for them at least. I definitely think they should be getting some sort of recognition for graduating.”

Rebecca Omastiak can be reached at

2 Replies to “Demise of December commencements surprises students”

  1. I plan on graduating in December 2010 and am quite upset about the demise of the December commencement. I have worked so hard to graduate a semester early and now I will have no collaborative celebration for it unless I can somehow plan it into my schedule to make it for the spring commencement next year. I agree with many of the people quoted in this article – I feel that UST could spend its money in a better way instead of cutting something people have spent years looking forward to. It’s hard enough not graduating with most of my friends, but now I don’t even get recognition until well after I’ve already graduated. It’s very upsetting, but I suppose there is nothing anyone can do about it now.

  2. Dear University of St. Thomas, My son, Matthew, is slated to graduate in the Spring 2010 and we were very disheartened to hear that the ceremony would be at the Metrodome instead of on the St. Thomas Campus. Now I am infurated!
    Come on, who do you think you are kidding?! We have spent, as I am sure many other families have spent, over $80,000 on our children getting degrees from your ‘prestigious’ college and now you are telling these kids that you are not going to even have a reception for them in May nor a commencement in December? In the time when cuts to our nation’s education are being felt all over, shouldn’t we be congratulating and encouraging our young people for the choice that they made to further their education? Most of these students have huge amounts of debt and even lower odds of getting a good paying jobs after graduation. I am sad to hear that The University of St. Thomas has made these choices to cut back on these ceremonies. I am very proud of each student that walks across that floor to receive their diplomas, I guess this is not valued by whoever made these decisions for the University of St.Thomas, very disappointing indeed!

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