The upcoming graduation ceremony at the University of Indianapolis will include several changes to what the format has been in past years. The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on May 3.
Instead of having two ceremonies at Nicoson Hall there will be one combined ceremony at Key Stadium. In addition, there will also be peer-picked student speakers rather than just the traditional celebrity speaker.
Vice President for Student and Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli said that Indianapolis Student Government was instrumental but not singularly involved with the changes to graduation. She said that ISG saw a need to allow students more flexibility to invite more family members to the ceremony.
“There was a committee that was put together to look at options and ultimately it was decided, … working with the committee and the president’s cabinet, to move the ceremony—to combine the ceremony for graduates and undergraduates together over at Key Stadium,” Vitangeli said.
She said that the administration is optimistic that the changes to graduation will be executed smoothly and will also have benefits for students.
“This is the first time that we [will] have outdoor graduation. We are hoping for good weather, and I think it will be good for students, in the sense that they can invite their families and they don’t have to decide whom they are allowed to invite,” Vitangeli said. “I think it will be very nice to have graduate and undergraduate students together in one ceremony.”
According to the statistics from the Office of the Registrar, the total number of graduates for the 2013-2014 academic year is 1,380. This number includes 79 doctoral students, 366 master’s degree students and 935 undergraduates. Members of the graduating class come from diverse backgrounds and have their own sets of concerns and optimism for the future.
Senior marketing major Christian Valdez said that he is more optimistic than many graduates and that he looks forward to all of the possibilities the future holds.
“Although many people say that earning a college degree isn’t worthwhile these days, I still believe that having a college degree has many benefits, such as getting a professional job, a higher earning potential and many other opportunities,” he said “After four years of studying and taking all of the classes needed, I am ready to get my degree and hunt for a job.”
Senior English major Youyuan Kong said that studying abroad at UIndy has prepared her for the future.
“I’ve learned a lot of academic skills and necessary skills in these years studying in UIndy,” Kong said. “Now I think I’m ready for the next step in my life.”
Vitangeli also described how graduate physical therapy student Peter Brown and undergraduate communication major Will Schnabel were chosen as the student speakers for commencement.
“Since being a commencement speaker is a job that needs courage and positive attitude, a new tradition will be added to the graduation [ceremony],” she said. “This year, we asked graduating students to nominate peers that they would most like to hear speak. Through a process of collecting nominations and placing top students in each category up for a vote, we were able to determine the inaugural student speakers during the May ceremony.”
Reflecting on her own graduation from UIndy, Vitangeli said that it will be a joyful time regardless of the changes.
“I think graduation is such an exciting time, so it’s kind of a combination of your experience … and graduating,” Vitangeli said. “I think graduation is always happy time no matter where it is held.”
Although Kong will miss her friends and UIndy, she said that taking the next step is important for students.
“I would have to say, it’s hard to say goodbye to my college life and my friends as well,” Kong said. “But everybody has to move on.”