By Cheryl Toomey, University Relations Graduate Assistant
As UTC’s student body grows, so do the number of graduates. That’s why beginning this semester, the University will hold two commencement ceremonies, dividing graduates based upon their colleges. Both ceremonies will be held Saturday, December 14, in the UTC McKenzie Arena. To watch the 9 a.m. ceremony live, click here. To watch the 2 p.m. ceremony live, click here.
“Because of the sheer number of graduates we have, and to ensure a good environment for the families who attend, and to make sure we have ample space for the graduates and their families, this year we’ll be dividing the commencements,” says Provost Jerald Ainsworth.
Approximately 822 students will graduate on December 14—660 undergraduates and 160 graduate and doctoral students.
At 9 a.m., graduates from the College of Business and the College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies will walk across the stage. At 2 p.m., students from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering and Computer Science will graduate. Candidates for master’s, specialists, and doctoral degrees from the UTC Graduate School will participate in the ceremony of their college of discipline.
Each ceremony will accommodate approximately half the total number of graduates, so the time for each ceremony will be shorter than when all of the graduates participated in one ceremony.
“The length of time got to be very long so that it was not the best ceremony for all of the graduates. We want it to be a celebration, but also to maintain the dignity we want it to have. We felt like the better option was to have two ceremonies so that we can still maintain the same kind of commencement we’ve had in the past where the students walk across the stage and we announce their names,” says Ainsworth.
UTC is dedicated to making commencement a ceremony that best honors those who are graduating and best accommodates their friends and families who are there to recognize their accomplishments.
“We want to make sure we anticipate growth. We also appreciate feedback. We want to know what worked, what didn’t work, what we need to do differently to make it flow better, and how to make it more timely. What was the experience like? What we’re trying to do is make it the best and richest ceremony for everybody who’s there. We try to improve it every time,” says Ainsworth.