USAO Commencement -- 2 Ceremonies on April 18

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

To make room for more guests, graduating seniors at the April 18 commencement will be divided into two groups that will walk the stage in two separate ceremonies -- 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. -- at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Spring graduates will receive nine tickets each for friends and family to attend the ceremony in a single venue. It's a plan designed by the college to enhance the quality of the event, after experimenting with a split-venue, simulcast ceremony last spring.

The graduating class is divided by majors. Graduates in business and education will participate in the 8 p.m. ceremony. Grads in all other majors will walk the stage at 6 p.m. Graduation candidates may pick up their tickets in the Student Services office beginning March 12. Student Services is located on the third floor of the Student Center.

To be more specific, the 8 p.m. ceremony honors graduates in education, which includes deaf education, early childhood education, elementary education and speech and language pathology. It also includes business, whether the concentration is in accounting, management or business administration. The 6 p.m. ceremony is for all other majors: American Indian studies, art, biology, chemistry, communication, computer science, drama, economics, English, history, math, music, natural science, physical education, physics, political science, psychology and sociology.

Graduates must pick up their tickets by April 11, after which all remaining tickets will be placed in a pool to share with graduates who have greater needs. Students who want extra tickets are encouraged to place their names immediately on the waiting list in Student Services.

" We want very much to give the students who graduate and their families the best possible experience," said Joe Evans, registrar and chair of the commencement committee. " Last year's experiment with technology worked, but half the audience was in the un-air-conditioned Drover Field House. After considering a half dozen proposals, and discussing all options with students and faculty, we hope this plan will raise the quality and safety of the event for students and guests."

About 125 seniors are expected to graduate this spring. Using past ceremonies as a guide, more than 1,850 people will attend. That's more than double the number of seats in the main auditorium (830). That's why USAO has provided overflow seating and televised the event for more than a decade. Still, in recent years, hundreds of guests stood in the back of the auditorium at these ceremonies, which created noise and safety issues.

All seating is general admission. On the evening of commencement, all unclaimed tickets will be shared with the public on a first come, first served basis, in Troutt Hall 302.

For anyone who can't get tickets, overflow seating will be provided as usual in the Davis Hall Amphitheatre, and the ceremony will be televised live on the USAO Channel (18) over local cable. DVD copies of the ceremony will be available after April 30 from USAO Media and Community Relations.