It’s back: Badgers graduating in spring 2014 will be walking across the stage in a single ceremony at Camp Randall.
The senior class officers announced Wednesday morning the University of Wisconsin’s 2014 spring commencement will be consolidated into one ceremony at 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 for all undergraduates and non-terminal degree graduate students.
Senior Class Treasurer Sarah Neibart said the officers hope the change will draw a “prominent” speaker to campus for the ceremony to ensure UW is getting the recognition a world-class deserves.
Scheduling speakers for undergraduate commencement had been difficult in previous years because they were held over a period of two days, Neibart said.
Although Neibart said this year’s speaker has not yet been selected, Senior Class Vice President Andrew Bulovsky said the move to a single ceremony will simplify the process and allow for more focused planning efforts rather than spreading out resources across all four ceremonies.
The change was the result of a joint effort between UW students, Chancellor Rebecca Blank and the Division of Student Life, Neibart said.
The single commencement ceremony will likely be around one and a half hours, Neibart said. Because of the number of graduates, student names will not be read at the ceremony, Bulovksy said.
To ensure there is still individual recognition for graduates, UW will place more emphasis on departmental ceremonies and receptions, which will be more intimate, Neibart said.
Many schools and colleges already have recognition events so this is not a new idea, Neibart said, adding it will allow each school and college to celebrate their own traditions and have department speakers.
“The benefits [of a single ceremony] come from the strength of community that I think we’re going to feel when we’re all inside Camp Randall…on the field where we’ve had so many awesome Badger memories,” Joe Meeker, senior class president, said. “[It will] hopefully be a really powerful experience and a way for all of us to reflect on not only what our achievements are but what we as a class have achieved collectively.”
The budget for commencement has not yet been determined, Dean of Students Lori Berquam said. UW will keep within the framework of what commencement has cost in the past and it will not be financed as an additional cost “handed down” to students, she said.
Bulovsky said he thinks Blank is willing to spend “whatever is necessary” to make the event successful.
As of now, the budget for Varsity Day, an event for all graduates that could include a high-profile speaker on campus, is not going toward commencement, Neibart said. Currently, $60,000 is allotted for Varsity Day in the Associated Students of Madison’s internal budget.
The single commencement ceremony is an idea students have been talking about for quite a while, and they discussed it with two chancellors prior to Blank, Berquam said.
“This change will help us celebrate together on a grander scale while still involving the more personal elements that students look forward to throughout their time at UW-Madison,” Blank said in the statement. “I’m excited to partner with students to provide an experience that is meaningful for everyone who attends.”
Tara Golshan contributed to this report.