Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 Commencement Announcement
Following extensive discussions with various groups across campus – including focus groups with students, alumni, faculty and volunteers – and after evaluating input from more than 2,000 survey respondents, Georgia Southern University has established a commencement schedule for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.
Providing a quality, robust experience for graduates and guests was paramount to the plan creation. Other priorities that surfaced during the discussions:
- Provide ceremonies both in Statesboro and Savannah.
- Allow students to choose which campus ceremony they want to attend.
- Ensure students are properly recognized.
- Consider staff’s ability to safely plan, staff, police, manage and support different ceremonies.
A campus committee that included the student government association president met several times over the summer, evaluating input, seeking suggestions and reviewing feedback. On Aug. 12, the committee settled on a new format, which was ratified by the president’s extended leadership group. The proposal was presented to Student Government Association representatives at their retreat this weekend. The new commencement plan and schedule for the upcoming academic year is:
Fall 2019 graduation:
Undergraduate and graduate students will graduate together. Students can choose which ceremony to attend based on the location where they would like to graduate:
- Friday, Dec. 13 in the afternoon in Savannah at the Savannah Convention Center.
- Saturday, Dec. 14 in the afternoon in Statesboro at Paulson Stadium.
Spring 2020 graduation:
Undergraduate and graduate students will graduate separately. Undergraduates can choose which ceremony to attend based on the location where they would like to graduate.
Graduates will have one ceremony on the Statesboro campus.
- Friday, May 8 in the evening in Statesboro – undergraduate-only ceremony in Paulson Stadium. Note: If needed, there may be multiple ceremonies scheduled based on the size of the graduating class and/or RSVPs to this ceremony.
- Saturday, May 9 in the morning in Savannah – undergraduate-only ceremony in Savannah. Note: there may be multiple ceremonies scheduled based on venue selected and/or RSVPs to this ceremony.
- Saturday, May 9 in the afternoon in Statesboro – graduate (master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees only) ceremony in the Hanner Fieldhouse.
In this new format, each graduate will be recognized individually at each ceremony as they walk across the stage. All colleges will be represented at both locations and students will be organized by college.
The new format takes into account many of the complications that have occurred during past ceremonies. Some of the issues included the size of the venues available in Statesboro and Savannah, timing, weather, staffing, security, traffic, parking, length of ceremony and overall experience for spectators.
After combining all those factors, staff did extensive analyses that looked at the size of the graduation classes, expected number of audience members and venue capacity at multiple locations in Savannah and Statesboro.
In the end, committee members felt the final recommendations struck the best balance between the numbers and the goal of providing a memorable, rewarding experience for graduates and guests.
Ticketing will be required to ensure the size of the audience does not exceed the size of the venues. The number of tickets given out to each graduate will depend on the size of the graduating class, and university staff are already exploring options on how to create a ticket bank where unused tickets from one graduate can be made available for others who need extra tickets. There will be no charge for tickets. The university will have additional/indoor seating viewing areas where tickets are not required, and live-streaming.
As soon as a per-person ticket count is determined, that and other detail updates will be posted on the Fall 2019 commencement page.
The university will continue assessing the ceremonies from the perspectives of the participants to provide the best possible experience for graduates and their families and friends.