Cynthia Jessup, Staff Writer
As seniors wrap up the last of their classes, smooth out their resumes and reminisce about when they began college; a key factor that tends to evade them are the actual logistics of graduation day.
There is a lot of preparation needed to get ready for the big day. As a major cornerstone accomplishment in many lives, it is very important that graduation runs as scheduled so students, family and friends can have an positive, memorable experience.
According to Julie Gladbach, graduation coordinator at Mason, it takes a year’s worth of preparation. “[We plan] mid-June prior for Winter and Spring graduation and develop a preliminary schedule,” she said.
Mason hosted a Grad Fair this week to help students prepare for the ceremonies. The fair took place Tuesday through Thursday in the atrium of the Johnson Center. Seniors purchased discounted caps and gowns, graduation announcements, class rings and tickets for the commencement ceremony, as well as join the Alumni Association.
“You need to start thinking about [these details],” Gladbach said.
This event made it easier for soon-to-be grads, who are focused on passing their last batch of courses, to buy everything needed for walking across the stage in May in one fell swoop, without having to run around campus to gather everything last minute. If students missed the Grad Fair, graduation materials will still be available for purchase at regular prices online and at the bookstore.
To prepare for graduation, all colleges and university life affiliates work together to create a unanimous schedule. Two ceremonies actually take place: convocation and commencement. Many students get these confused, as both celebrate student’s accomplishment of completing college and have graduates arriving in their caps and gowns.
The commencement ceremony is a university-wide, televised event. The only students who walk across the stage are those receiving doctorates, though undergraduates are called by college and specialization to stand and be acknowledged. Sorority and fraternity membership is also recognized. Commencement is special because it lets students see friends from other colleges and hear President Angel Cabrera’s formal address. Depending on the number of graduates in a college, both ceremonies can take place at EagleBank Arena.
Tickets are required for attending the commencement ceremony. When seniors initially pick up their tickets, they will get six. To get more tickets, seniors will have to wait until May 11, when any tickets turned in by students or not picked up during the grad fair will be redistributed on a first come, first serve basis from 6-7 p.m. at EagleBank Arena, Box Office, West Entrance and Will Call Window. A Mason ID is needed to pick up additional tickets.
Any tickets still available the day of the ceremony can be purchased without an ID.
Convocation ceremonies are smaller and for the separate schools at Mason. Tickets aren’t required for this event. Students will walk across the stage, be individually recognized and have their photos taken as they receive their diplomas.
As for how students can get more information, “Everything is on the website; we don’t even mail out the information packages anymore. We want to make it as easy as possible,” Gladbach said.