Fall Commencement: An old tradition revitalized

UAA’s Fall Commencement 2016 will be held Sunday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. Fall commencement is a smaller ceremony than spring, according to special events manager and chair of the commencement committee, Bridgett Dyson.

“The winter ceremony allows more students to participate in commencement,” Dyson said. “Prior to December 2014, very few summer and fall graduates were participating in commencement at all. Fortunately, the completion of the Alaska Airlines Center allowed us to host this second ceremony on our own campus.”

In Dec. 2014, UAA reintroduced fall graduation for the first time since the last fall ceremony was held in 1986.

“The ceremonies are virtually the same,” Dyson said. “The difference is the number of participants. The winter ceremony is about half the size of the spring ceremony. This allows us to open the ceremony to the public and makes it possible for students to invite family members and friends without a restriction on the number. In the spring, we must ticket the ceremony to assure that every graduate can invite someone to celebrate with and that no one is turned away at the door.”

Another big difference between the fall and spring semester graduation ceremonies has to do with size and the number of students who graduate.

“The winter ceremony has been growing, and we expect about 400 students to participate on Dec. 18,” Dyson said. “About 750 students walk in the spring ceremony.”

While the fall commencement may seem like a non-traditional aspect of UAA, but in reality, it is just in outlet for student graduation.

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“Winter commencements are very common [in other schools] and a way to touch more of our students by providing the graduation experience,” Dyson said. “There are both winter and spring commencement ceremonies. The spring ceremony is held the Sunday following finals week of the spring semester.”

The fall commencement graduation hooding ceremony will be held Saturday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium.