Commencement ceremonies will be held at Mariners Church in Irvine this year to allow more seating and save the university $30,000.
The program will be divided into two separate events: one for undergraduate students, and one for graduate and SPS students.
The ceremony’s new location allows for benefits such as large LCD screens, air conditioning and improved sound quality. Graduate hooding will be added back into the ceremony for grad students completing their master’s degrees. By splitting the ceremonies the programs will be shorter and more seating will be available. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, so graduates may invite an unlimited number of guests; the Worship Center holds 3,400 occupants.
The move was considered by department chairs and the provost council in conjunction with ASB, in a three-and-a-half month decision process.
Shree Carter, Executive Administrative Assistant to President Carol Taylor, said the decision to move the ceremony had to be finalized by Jan. 1 for the other commencement preparations to be on schedule.
“This was not a decision made in haste,” Carter said.
ASB sought the opinions of the student body and student council and discussed various pros and cons of the move. Advantages and disadvantages were weighed, student concerns voiced, and the decision was reached. One advantage was the considerable financial benefit of the donated facility, bringing a savings of $30,000.
The familiarity of the amphitheater was not disregarded, however, and neither was the effect the move might have on students.
Ann Hamilton, Vice President for Student Affairs, said the ceremony will continue to take place at Mariners in the future.
“There will be a change in feel,” Hamilton said. “It will make [the ceremony] shorter and there will be more seating and no weather worries.”
Graduating senior Jennifer Reynolds considers the move in a positive light.
“I feel good about the change because the school will save money, and more family might come because it’s indoors,” she said.
Since 2004, the commencement ceremony has been held in the Orange County Fairground’s amphitheater. In earlier years, it was held on Vanguard’s campus in areas ranging from the baseball field to the Heath lawn.
The Baccalaureate ceremony will remain at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, as it has been in previous years.
The undergraduate ceremony will be held Saturday, May 8. For more details, visit www.vanguard.edu/commencement. Direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.