By Nicole Curcio
As spring semester begins, the members of the class of 2017 have diplomas on their mind. Upon completing their studies, students will walk across a stage located under a white tent on the lawn in front of Humanities rain or shine according to an email sent on Jan. 5 to potential grads.
Until May 2014, following the campus-wide commencement ceremony, the graduation was broken up into smaller ceremonies for each of the different colleges and schools. Graduates accompanied by their families were separated and walked to smaller tents around campus to receive their diplomas from the deans of their schools.
The rain or shine conditions have potential graduates feeling indifferent about their once in a lifetime ceremony. “Having graduation outside is both a good and bad idea,” senior marketing major, Sharon Sextus said. “Good because we have a beautiful green campus to shoot pictures but bad because we’re shielded by a tent. Plus, the ground isn’t leveled in a way everyone can view the graduation ceremony.” The outdoor graduation may prevent Sextus’ brother from watching her walk the stage as he is in a wheelchair and may not be able to get a close enough seat.
Nicole Ulrich will also be graduating this May, obtaining a degree in accounting. The second semester senior finds a college graduation outdoors to be bizarre; considering graduations she has attended have always been held in indoor arenas. “I think being outside as early as it is in the day and the season can cause a huge problem. Not only may it rain, it may still be cold.”
In the past, graduates were allowed to have as many people as they wished attend the ceremony. There have been no indications of a limit being applied this year. Though graduates are allowed unlimited guests, there is limited guest seating under the tent. Abby Van Vlerah, the dean of students, said, “This year, we have seating for nearly 7,000 people so families and friends of our graduates can take part in their great achievements. We also have additional room in the Tilles Center.” According to past viewers, the livestream is apt to skip and lag. “We are working to create a special, seamless livestreamed viewing.” Sextus feels that the university should consider holding the ceremony in Tilles as “guests will feel uncomfortable [outside] and that is not what LIU represents.”. Unfortunately, with only 2,242 seats in Tilles, the space would not fit both graduates and guests.
A rumor circulated that both LIU campuses, Brooklyn and Post, would possibly combine ceremonies at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Similarly, graduation was planned to be combined for the class of 2013. However, according to a previous Pioneer article by Rebecca Martelotti, former President David Steinberg moved the ceremony back to campus for Post students after “many expressed a sense of loss, fearing that the LIU Post identity would be swallowed up in the larger [university-wide graduation] event.”
“I think combining graduations would make the ceremony too long,” Ulrich said. “I feel whether or not you know someone personally at graduation, you know that you went to Post together and with that, brings a sense of unity at the ceremony.” An email sent by the Commencement Office on Jan. 5 stated that the ceremony will remain on the Post campus.” The effort to unite all Post students in one ceremony has created an important feeling of unity and family as we send our graduates off to exciting new adventures and careers.” Van Vlerah said. “Hosting the event on campus is part of a proud tradition that aims to remind students, that as they make the transition from student to alumni, they will always have a place at LIU.”
The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. followed by the graduate, doctoral and dual candidate ceremony at 3 p.m. Both will take place in front of Humanities. To apply for graduation students need to log into their LIU accounts, go to “My Center”, click the drop down list under the “Academics” header and choose “Apply for Graduation”. Upon doing so, students should check the status of their graduation application by going to “Self Service – Degree Progress/Graduation.” All must be complete by Feb. 10.