The 2018 Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony will take place at the Prudential Center, according to an announcement from the Office of the Provost on Oct. 16.
The email, which was sent to the University community, said that commencement will take place on Monday, May 21 at 9:00 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark, despite having taken place at the PNC Bank Arts Center last year due to booking complications.
Bernadette McVey, director of academic events, initiatives and planning and co-chair of the Commencement Planning Committee, said that SHU asked the Prudential Center for the May 21, 2018 date immediately following Commencement 2017, which they had done for 2017 following Commencement 2016, as well. In addition, Patrick Lyons, vice president and director of athletics & recreational services, spoke with the Prudential Center to secure SHU’s preferred date and time for the 2018 ceremony.
McVey said that bussing will be provided from SHU to the venue and back as it has been in years past.
Sayer Collins, a senior communications and public relations double major, said that the Prudential is a “fun venue.”
“It’s closer to campus,” Collins said. “It makes it easier for people to travel there and just get everyone organized, and I think it’s much more convenient for us who can’t really travel way down to PNC like it was last year.”
McVey said that while most of the legwork for commencement is done by the Office of the Provost and Office of the Registrar, it takes a team to make it happen, namely the Commencement Planning committee. This year, in addition to that committee, there will be a student commencement committee.
McVey tasked Student Government Association (SGA) President and junior English major Christina Simon with creating a student commencement committee made up of one graduating senior from each of SHU’s colleges. The committee will meet with McVey monthly to discuss and plan the details of commencement 2018, and Simon said that they’ll play a big role in the planning process going forward.
“Students are very involved, probably the most involved that they’ve ever been up to date,” Simon said.
Because Simon is not a senior herself, she cannot have a seat on the commencement committee, but she said that she and her executive board will be meeting with McVey and Dr. Karen Boroff, interim provost, “on a very frequent basis,” to discuss the planning process.
“Even though I’m not a senior, I’m still a student, so I can definitely relate to the graduating seniors on that level,” Simon said. “I could only imagine that after four years of, you know, endless nights in the library and working very hard, you want a commencement ceremony that accurately reflects, that accurately celebrates all of the work you’ve done over the past four years. I want that for the seniors as well, and I know that I would want that for myself and anyone who graduates after me.”
McVey has sought student input about what the ceremony should look like through a survey earlier this semester. The survey asked graduating seniors to consider what portions of graduation they would like to keep and which they could do without. The survey has closed, and Simon said that McVey will review the results with the committee.
Now that the venue has been confirmed, Simon said that her next goal is to determine what students want in a commencement speaker, which she said the students she’s spoken to definitely want.
Chad Navarro, a senior nursing major, said that he hopes this year’s commencement speaker has a message that graduating seniors can relate to.
“There needs to be a commencement speaker that speaks to the students about things that are relevant to them,” Navarro said. “A commencement speaker is someone to motivate and to encapsulate the college experience or what we should aim for in post-graduate life.”
Navarro, who attended commencement 2017, also said that he hopes the procession of the graduating class will be sped up somewhat, adding that he would like to avoid a three-hour-long ceremony like last year’s.
Additionally, Simon wants to make sure all students are heard, including those that aren’t serving on the committee. She said that seniors can make their voices heard by reaching out to SGA members of Simon herself.
Brianna Bernath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.