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Wide shot of commencement at the Stan Sheriff Center

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa will break with tradition in spring 2017 and hold two combined undergraduate and advanced degree commencement ceremonies on May 13. The pilot program will replace the customary single undergraduate ceremony in the morning and advanced degree ceremony in the afternoon. The aim is to provide the best possible experience for graduates and their families on this very exciting and important day.

“This new division of ceremonies is centered around the value of having all undergraduate and advanced degree graduates—from the same schools and colleges—walk together,” said UH Mānoa Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Michael Bruno. “This may serve to inspire undergraduates to pursue advanced degrees as they see their teaching assistants and other peers in their disciplines receive their master’s and doctorates.”

The spring undergraduate ceremony draws very large crowds, and unfortunately later arriving attendees are often redirected to overflow seating where the ceremony can be viewed on a monitor when the Stan Sheriff Center reaches capacity. Under the proposed pilot model, more seating is expected to be available for family and friends at their graduate’s respective ceremony. The two smaller ceremonies are also intended to lessen traffic congestion and increase parking availability.

At the 2016 spring commencement exercises, nearly 1,800 undergraduates participated in the morning ceremony, and approximately 600 advanced degree graduates walked in the afternoon. If the new pilot format had been implemented, each ceremony would have included around 1,200 graduates, which is the expected number for each of the spring 2017 ceremonies.

The morning ceremony will consist of undergraduate and advanced degree students from:

The afternoon ceremony will consist of undergraduate and advanced degree students from:

Graduates at commencement

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Luckily I’m graduating this Fall, but I would be PISSED if I were graduating in Spring. Aside from the fact that this news is super last minute, but the whole thought behind it is stupid. If I were earning a PhD I would want my own seperate ceremony; not have to share it with a bunch of undergraduates. And what about the fact that a lot of undergraduates tend to have friends in all different majors. Now they can’t graduate together, take pictures together, have heir graduation lunch together, etc… This doesn’t save time at all and the two ceremonies aren’t even split up based on subject. They could at least have math, science (including health science), and technology in one ceremony and business and liberal arts kind of majors in another ceremony. The idea of inspiring students to want to pursue graduate school is nice, but there’s too many cons to this plan than there are pros. Besides…a lot of people purse an advanced degree in something that’s barely to their undergraduate degree anyways.

    1. You sound like the kind of person that doesn’t conform to well to change. I think it’s a great idea and should be given a chance.

  2. I agree that graduation ceremonies for undergrads should be split in two. And, much more time in between graduations are a must to alleviate the major traffic jam that it creates coming in from every direction.

    Graduate and PhD candidates deserve to have their own ceremony, separate from undergrads AND on their own day/night. This shouldn’t be about recruiting undergrads into graduate programs but rather celebrating the accomplishments of higher degree graduates.

  3. Hmm …. was the change really to inspire students to pursue advanced degrees or was so Professors have to attend one ceremony instead of two on one day? Parking and seating was no different from previous years. Parking and seating will always be limited.

    Shame on the student(s) who disrupted the procession as the students enerered the arena with beach balls. It’s too bad that not one student was brave and confident enough to stop the beach balls. It took a Marshall and a Professor to do so. Omg, another beach ball– from the College of Ed! I hope that future teacher never complains about his/her students’ classroom behavior. Leaders of tomorrow?? Yes, I prefer a classy and dignified ceremony. Students worked hard for their degree and their families made sacrifices. Why does an honorable event have to be watered down with poor choice of behavior.

    Appreciated the Surgeon General’s message. Be brave, lead with love, be a moral leader. Too bad the students didn’t hear this message before the procession.

    Shiraz Dole challenges his classmates to make a positive difference for the world! Thank you Shiraz!

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