Commencement faces changes in '01

Campus Times
February 16, 2001


by Christian A. Lopez
Staff Writer

To provide better accommodations for students, guests, staff and the community, the University of La Verne's commencement ceremony committee has implemented some changes for this year's graduation in spring.

Instead of the usual one-day event, the school will divide the ceremony into two separate days. The first day is scheduled on Saturday, May 26 at 5:30 p.m. for undergraduates and Sunday, May 27 at 9:30 a.m. for graduates.

The changes are due largely to the weather. Every year, blazing hot temperatures and scorching rays never fail to be a nuisance for all those in attendance at Ortmayer Stadium.

"I worked the commencement last year, and it was hot! It was in the day time, it was sweaty and nasty, and people were complaining," said senior Dan Le of last year's event.

Last year's heat became such an inconvenience that guests began to leave their seats to find relief in the Student Center, while others just decided to leave the ceremony altogether.

Staff working the ceremony tried to provide some comfort for the graduates by providing ice water to cool them down after the heat became too extreme.

After witnessing last year's ceremony, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Ruby Montaño-Cordova and the Commencement Ceremony Committee made the decision to make changes that would produce a better and more memorable service to graduates and their guests.

"This year we want our graduates to truly take center stage instead of the heat and the sun," said Montaño-Cordova. "We want our students to be able to talk about their graduation as one of their most beautiful and cultivating experiences."

According to their goals, Montaño-Cordova and the commencement committee made the choice to change the ceremony into two separate graduations and schedule the events around the time the sun radiates the most heat.

Making it possible for the new schedule changes to be made were the practice lights acquired during last year's football season. In the past the ceremony was scheduled during the daylight hours because of the fear that night would interfere. With the lights the loss of sunlight will not be an issue in this years ceremony.

Aside from a new schedule, overcrowding was also on the agenda for Montaño-Cordova and the committee. Last year between 13,000 and 15,000 people crowded the football stadium during the undergraduate ceremony alone. Maximizing the attendance created seating problems, long restroom lines, and parking dilemmas that had an effect on surrounding neighborhoods.

To correct the problem, the decision was made to limit all students to 10 guests. Guest admittance tickets are going to be given to all students for friends and family that are expected to be present to provide at arrival. Anyone without an invitation will not be allowed into the commencement, where as in the last few years the school has not been as strict to the number of people graduates invited. Those students who plan to have more then 10 guests will be provided with extra tickets from students with fewer guest will be asked to donate.

Senior Chakwan Turner thinks that the changes will provide a more comfortable atmosphere for everyone: "I think it will be more laid back, people will enjoy themselves, the sun will be going down and then we can really enjoy the service, because wasn't a happening thing."

The biggest disadvantage the split will cause students according to Montaño-Cordova is that the celebrations will also be divided into two days. So instead of having one big party for everyone, graduates and undergraduates will most likely celebrate on their corresponding ceremony dates.

Graduate Anita D'Aguilar disagrees, "I don't think that it would be a disadvantage. I think that a smaller group will provide a more intimate setting for each person celebrating."

More information on commencement weekend will be mailed to students and will be accessible on the ULV website. Any suggestions, comments, or questions can also be e-mailed to Montaño-Cordova at or phoned in at ext. 4858.