West Virginia University President David C. Hardesty Jr. has often said a great university knows its students one by one, thus he wants to send students into the world with the same individual attention.

As a result, beginning May 11-13, 2007, students and parents will experience a more personalized graduation experience as West Virginia University modifies its commencement ceremony, WVU officials announced today (Oct. 9).

The changes in commencement will include a Friday evening Honors Convocation and 13 separate school and college ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday. The smaller ceremonies will allow every student to walk across the stage to individual recognition and receive a diploma as the degree is conferred.

We owe our students and their parents a more meaningful ceremony that marks their success with the same personal attention they received throughout their time at WVU ,said Provost Gerald Lang, who unveiled the changes at Faculty Senates monthly meeting.

Indeed, this generation of parents is the most engaged in generations, and parents devote more time and energy to their studentseducation than ever before,Lang added.We want family members to see their student as they walk proudly across that stage, and we want each student to savor the moment that he (or she) accomplishes that dream.

WVU has also grown beyond the capacity of its traditional commencement ceremony, Lang noted.

During our 137th commencement in May, graduates and their guests filled the Coliseum to capacity,he said.It was extremely difficult to find enough space on the Coliseum floor for the graduates, let alone seating for all the friends and family members who came to share the day.

Lang said the Honors Convocation on Friday would remain at the WVU Coliseum and be a University-wide event.

A prominent speaker will give the keynote address, and individuals recognized will include honorary degree recipients, Order of Vandalia inductees, Presidents Distinguished Service Award recipients, Goldwater and Truman Scholars, WVU Foundation Outstanding Seniors, Outstanding Seniors from each school and college and outgoing Student Government Association president.

The WVU Symphony and Choir will also perform.

The school/college ceremonies will be degree-conferring events, with students from all degree levels walking across a stage to accept their diplomas. The WVU president, provost or a vice president will preside over the ceremonies, and each will have a keynote speaker.

There will be institutional uniformity among the ceremonies, and they will be held at one of three venuesthe Student Recreation Center, Creative Arts Center or Coliseum.

WVU prides itself on its attention to individual students and their needs,Lang said.Thus, commencementeasily the most meaningful event on the University calendarshould reflect that commitment to student-centered education.

Undergraduates and their families should welcome this change as well, Lang said. Previously, only those receiving advanced professional and doctoral degrees walked across the stage at the main ceremony, he noted. Undergraduates stood as a group with their college or school.

Many undergraduates have told us they look forward to hearing their name called.waving to their family members as they walk across the stagesavoring the moment WVU launches them into the world. So, this new format will be a culmination of that dream for many of our students,he said.

The changes were developed with input from deans, the WVU Foundation and WVU Alumni Association, Lang said, and reviewed by the WVU Board of Governors.

December convocation for those graduating mid-year will remain unchanged, except for the location. It will be held at the WVU Coliseum rather than the Creative Arts Center.

Colleges, schools announce diploma granting ceremonies

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