December Graduation Draws Mixed Reaction

The MSU Spokesman


If you have completed all academic requirements, have met all financial obligations, and are eligible to graduate; why wait until the spring to make it official?

Beginning this month, Morgan State University will now hold two commencement ceremonies: at the end of the fall semester on the third Friday in December, as well as at the end of the spring semester on the third Saturday in May.

But with this new policy put in place just months ago, some have mixed feelings about it.

“Why wait until the spring if you don’t have to?” Said Valisha Whitfield, a senior broadcast and integrated media major.  “This could mean the sooner we get jobs, or just having more time off to figure out what’s next.”

“The bad news is you don’t get the full graduation experience like you do in the spring. The senior ball and other senior activities don’t take place until the spring, it’s no point of participating in those events after you graduate,” said Chelsea Nwakibu, a junior biology major.

President David Wilson affirmed two advantages of this policy change in an announcement back in July of this year. “This will facilitate graduates getting employment and being admitted to graduate and professional study because they will not have to wait until May for official awarding of the degree; and the number of graduates being awarded the degree in December will decrease significantly the number for May graduation; therefore shortening the ceremonies.”

The December ceremony will be held in the Gilliam Concert Hall of the Murphy Fine Arts Center and will begin at 10:00 a.m.  With an indoor ceremony, in order to accommodate the size of the graduating class and the seating capacity, graduating students will be given only three free admit cards for guests compared to the spring graduation when students can invited unlimited guests.

“I was caught off guard by this announcement because I was already prepared to graduate in the spring,” said Christina Jones, a senior public relations major. “I planned to do all of my graduation announcements and party planning after this semestester. I had to make some adjustments.”

Not only did students have to alter their semester to get ready for this event, but so did the university.

“Here at the bookstore is where students order their cap and gowns and other graduation necessities, so we have to do a lot of extra ordering because we usually don’t do this around this time of year,” said Ron Stevenson, manager of the University Bookstore. “We also had to do multiple caps and gown orders for all of the late comers to assure that everyone is set in time for graduation.”

Despite the efforts that Morgan has made to successfully speed up the graduation process for convenience, some student still prefer to wait until May.

“I’d rather wait until the spring to graduate so that more of my family can attend the ceremony,” said Darryl Burrell, a sports medicine major. “Many of them have been waiting for my graduation for a while now. How could I just pick three people? I want to share that moment with as many people as I can.”

The Keynote speaker for the commencement ceremony will be Journalist Byron Pitts, a native of Baltimore, MD. For more on the December commencement, you may visit Morgan’s website.