Behind the Scenes of Statewide Graduation
-with Dr. Neal Isaac
Can you tell us a little about KU’s statewide graduation?
Keiser University’s Winter Statewide Graduation is a mid-year winter ceremony where graduates who have finished their academic programs from June through December of the previous year are invited to attend. While each Keiser University campus has a graduation ceremony in May/June of each year, many who finished their classes in the months following that annual ceremony often did not want to wait until the next May or June of the following year to attend a ceremony. In order to offer an option for the students and graduates, the idea of having a statewide ceremony was established. This past Saturday, January 24, 2015, Keiser University held the third annual Statewide Ceremony.
What makes it different from individual campus graduations?
At the traditional campus graduations held in May/June of each year, all the graduates tend to be from the same campus and area. During the KU winter statewide graduation, graduates from the eighteen Keiser University campuses attend. The ceremony is special, because all campus locations are represented. For example, a Fort Lauderdale campus nursing graduate can participate with nursing graduates from West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Lakeland, etc.
What was your role in preparing for the ceremony?
My role was to act as Project Manager for the event. For example, I gathered and worked with 44 volunteer graduation committee members to make sure all areas including planning, organization, implementation, follow up, and assessment were completed. There are many aspects to planning a ceremony such as the following: selecting the theatre, ordering caps, gowns, and regalia, assembling and working with committees (i.e. stage committee, auditorium committee, ticket committee, registration committee, processional/recessional, guest speakers, etc.). I must say that all of the Keiser University campuses worked together beautifully. Most of the campuses sent volunteers, and the Lakeland campus acted as host campus and did an amazing job providing volunteers.
How far in advance do you start planning for a statewide graduation?
We are already planning for next year. It involves almost a year of planning, but it picks up steam the last three months leading up to the date. We start communicating to all the participants around August and then have multiple communications with the graduates as we build up to the January event.
From your perspective, what was your favorite part of graduation?
This one is easy. It’s all about the graduates. The ceremony is for them. My favorite part of graduation was seeing the graduates and their families so happy. I was also very pleased to see 44 Veterans cross the stage to graduate. The Co-Valedictorians did an amazing job with their speeches. Jeff Wells, BS Management Information System from e-Campus, dedicated his award to his fellow Veteran graduates. Iliana Ardila, BS in Dietetics and Nutrition, gave a powerful speech about moving to the U.S. after facing challenges in her home country, finding her passion, and knowing that the USA offers hope for a brighter future.
Receiving thank you notes from the graduates and their families was the best. This sums it up as one graduate wrote: “It was such a wonderful day, and the staff had it down to a science. I felt like everything went perfectly! My parents flew in from Louisiana, and they aren’t easily impressed, but they said it was the most fun graduation ceremony they had ever been to while still being professional! Everybody I came in contact with was kind, helpful, and cheerful. It was a big deal for me, and everybody made me feel like it was as big of a deal as I felt it was. Thank you everybody!”
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