Changes in Commencement

Students from the St. John’s Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan Campuses united on Jan. 19, for the first time ever, to celebrate their academic achievements, and to mark the last Winter Commencement to be held by the University.

Although students can receive their diploma whenever they complete the required course work, the Commencement Committee decided that there should only be a Spring Commencement ceremony held for all students.

The 30 member committee, made up of University representatives from different departments, including members of Student Government, Inc., decided over the last few months to do away with the Winter Commencement on both the Queens and Staten Island Campuses.

“Certainly people can get their diplomas at certain times of the year, but as far as having a ceremony we have decided that we wanted to have the ceremony in May,” Jody Fisher, the director of Media Relations, said. “Operationally it’s better for everyone.”

Currently the Committee is discussing ways to change the Spring Commencement from four different ceremonies on the Queens Campus, (two for undergraduates, one for graduates and one for the Law School), to one University wide commencement on the Great Lawn, followed by individual college ceremonies.

“We are trying to bring everyone together as much as we can so that they can share that similar experience,” Fisher said.

The Law School and Staten Island Campus will continue to host their own spring commencement ceremonies.

Although students will not be called out individually to receive their diploma at the proposed ceremony, the role call would occur at the individual college commencements.

“We’re thinking that that’s the way we are going to go,” Fisher said.

The proposed commencement is similar to the systems that New York University, Fordham University and Notre Dame follow, schools that the committee has been looking at.

“We don’t want to mimic anybody,” Fisher said, “but we want to bring everyone together and give them that one special moment as one university,

while preserving the individual name calling.

“We want to show that we are one university even though we are five different

campuses.”

Changes in the commencement ceremony will be finalized before the spring 2003

commencement, and students agree on the idea of having a graduation ceremony

as a united university.

“I think it?s a good idea. It makes it more St. John?s orientated,” Angelita

Santane, a senior, communication arts major said. “We are all graduating

together with an equal degree so it should be a united ceremony.”