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Winter Commencement to be discontinued

by Richard Veilleux - February 9, 2009

Citing high costs and unpredictable weather, President Michael Hogan has announced that the University will no longer offer winter commencement exercises.

“Our primary reason for this change is to reduce the University’s commencement expenses,” Hogan said in an e-mail to the community.

“We can achieve savings in several areas by not holding a December ceremony. These include the considerable staff support – much of it overtime – necessary for a December commencement ceremony, the facilities expenses, program printing, and other associated costs.”

Hogan also cited unstable winter weather as a reason for dropping the ceremony, which was first held in 2003 in a light snow. Four years later, when a snow and ice storm created hazardous conditions along the East Coast, the ceremony was canceled in deference to travel conditions faced by graduates’ families.

Winter commencement was intended to ease pressure on the traditional May ceremony, as the number of graduates outgrew Gampel Pavilion.

It also was hoped that more students who finished their studies in August and December would attend the ceremony, since few mid-term graduates were returning in May for commencement.

But when UConn’s schools and colleges began holding individual ceremonies last year, the May commencement became less crowded. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences continues to host a large cohort, but is able to use Gampel Pavilion by holding dual ceremonies.

The May 2009 commencement schedule is available at http://www.commencement.uconn.edu/may/

Hogan also has asked the University Senate to consider changing the academic calendar, moving the ceremony later in the year. One of the advantages would be to allow for a reading day for students prior to final exams.

During the past few years, about 800 students have completed their studies in August or December. All mid-term graduates will continue to be invited to the May commencement.

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