DAVID: Welcome. I’m David AND I’m Daniel AND This is a podcast for: Students, Professors, Parents, and all of higher education. Our mission is to champion “Student Caring” as a way of addressing the challenges in higher education today.
This is our 17th Podcast!
This Episode it titled: THE COMMENCEMENT FROM HELL!
THE COMMENCEMENT FROM HEAVEN!
In our last episode we explored the expectations and challenges of a commencement ceremony from the perspectives of each group of participants: students, attendees, organizers participants, and faculty.
In this episode, we’ll take you through a sequence of activities which often occur for a commencement ceremony and what can make them HEAVEN or HELL.
LONG RANGE COMMENCEMENT PLANNING
- This is usually the responsibility of an individual who chairs a committee.
- The importance of selecting a date.
- Way in advance (Minimum of 18 months)
- Do not change the date.
- DAVID: I recently heard of a college who give a “T” shirt to all incoming freshman on their first day which has their commencement date and time on it.
- The involvement of the Registrar’s office is essential.
PLANNING DURING THE 9 MONTHS BEFORE THE CEREMONY
- Secure the venue or venues.
- Your decision about the interior or exterior is a crucial one. Be sure to take into consideration:
- If outdoors, what you will do in the event of inclement weather.
- The time of day when the event will begin and the position of the sun in relationship to the stage or attendees. (I’ve seen this decision result in misery for all attendees, in the form of about 4,000 sun-burnt people.)
- Identifying the number of graduates and attendees is essential.
- Chair monthly, then weekly meetings to review and prepare all areas.
SELECTION OF KEYNOTE AND STUDENT SPEAKERS
- Decisions about who will speak at your ceremony can easily make it HEAVEN OR HELL. How many of these have you attended, or heard about where the speaker was terrible?
- DAVID: I have attended too many where the keynote speaker ruined the day and made it HELL. Let me tell you a story about the politician…
- Make sure they have an opportunity to speak with each other about what they plan to talk about. During the ceremony is not the time when you want them to make an awkward discovery that they are speaking about the same or opposing topics.
PRE COMMENCEMENT PLANNING In general, I recommend that you, with the entire planning committee, “Go to your event, in real time – in your minds” and visualize all aspects well in advance. I doing this,m you will discover many details that you need to take care of. The key to any successful live event lies in what you do before the day of the event.
- Contract all vendors – from staging to restrooms.
- A printed program for in person attendees.
- A digital program for those viewing via the Internet.
THE COMMENCEMENT REHEARSAL
The venue must be set-up and have all essential areas tested and ready to go at least 2 days before. The essential areas may include:
- Staging, which is safe and handicapped accessible.
- Lighting, in necessary for viewing or for the television cameras.
- A professional audio system.
- First Aid
- Traffic and parking control.
ELEMENTS OF THE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY – THE BIG DAY
- Security / Extra Security / Traffic Control
- Directions / Parking / Location of the Ceremony on Campus
- Locations for: Graduates / Platform Guests / Attendees
- Admission to the ceremony / Ticketing / Program Distribution
- Start on time. (Live and Internet audiences.)
- A word about the music – it must be good.
- Platform dignitaries enter
- Faculty enter
- Students enter (Pomp and Circumstance)
- Water and restrooms
- Handicap access
- Taking of photographs (Must be instructed)
- Emergency Exits / First Aid / Lost and Found
- Student speaker introduction / Student speaker
- Keynote speaker introduction / Keynote speaker
- Focus on the students
- Short and meaningful
- We hope for moments of humanness and appropriate humor.
- Speaker – Rick Warren story.
- The politician who would not stop talking
- The speaker who spoke all about themselves.
- Reading of the names.
Things students may do:
- Tortilla throw
- Students give gifts to the president
- As they are walking across the stage – cartwheels.
- Length of the ceremony
- This is NOT the time to welcome them into the alumni association.
POST EVENT MEETING
- This is crucial, weather or not there were problems, the committee needs to meet to review what went well and what cold have gone better.
- If available, watch the video of the ceremony to refresh everyone’s memory.
- Detailed notes should be taken, then reviewed at the first meeting for the following year.
The importance of the faculty after the ceremony to be available for meet and greet and photo’s.
Well, thank you very much for listening to this episode and sincerely hope that we have provided you with some helpful information.
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THIS EPISODE WAS RECORDED ON Thursday, May 17, 2012
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Until next time: Keep Caring!