Combined commencement ceremonies to total around 500 students


After careful deliberation, the University of Dallas administration has decided to combine the graduation ceremony of the 2018 undergraduate seniors, the students from the Braniff Graduate School of Arts, Ann and the Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry, with the graduates of the Satish and Gupta Graduate College of Business.

This decision means that the Sunday May 13 graduation will consist of an additional 100 students, for a total of about 500 students — which may unavoidably make this year’s ceremony the longest and most crowded ceremony in UD history.

“Including Gupta graduate students together with graduate students from Braniff and Neuhoff, as well as with the graduating seniors, is a sign of unity,” Provost Jonathan Sanford wrote in an email. “We are a university:  a many turned toward one.  Whatever one’s discipline, and whatever level of graduation–BA/BS, MA/MBA/MS/MTS, PhD/DBA–each graduate has been grounded in our common Mission.

Though this ceremony includes 100 more students than the previous year that usually have their own ceremony a week earlier, Kathy McGraw from the Office of Registrar says the additional names may only add an extra hour to the commemoration. McGraw and her team are making some changes to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

First among the changes is that students have to purchase their caps and gowns instead of renting them. This will eliminate the process of having to return the caps and gowns after the ceremony. The gowns chosen this year are more lightweight to make sure students are comfortable in the heat.

Students will not be handed their diploma during the ceremony but rather will receive an empty diploma cover. Students will then pick up their diploma afterwards at the 10 tables by Cardinal Farrell Hall, organized by degree and alphabetical order.

 “We used to have to label the diploma covers, make sure [students] stay in alphabetical order, didn’t get out of line,” McGraw said, “and if someone got the wrong diploma — sometimes they didn’t even look at it or realize until they got home. [This process] is going to make it so much faster and so much less stressful.”

Since the pamphlets at the graduation ceremony have to be a certain size and will have an additional 100 student names, they will not feature senior plans; however, senior plans will be featured in the convocation pamphlet.

The graduation order begins with the highest degree-earning students. Those earning a Ph.D or DBA will be first, followed by those earning their Masters based on the degree, and then finally the undergraduates.

When asked whether President Thomas Keefe would be attending the graduation ceremony, McGraw answered, “I’m thinking maybe not.”

Neither Keefe nor Executive Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs Dr. John Plotts confirmed plans regarding which of them would fill the president’s role at graduation.

“We have a very special graduation ceremony planned this year that should be exciting,” Plotts wrote in an email. “All the senior administration is committed to finishing the year with excellence.”

If each of the 500 students brings four guests, as McGraw estimates, there will be approximately 2,000 attendees combating the Texan heat on our brick, rectangular mall — not including the faculty.

Here are some tips on how to survive attending a tiny Texan college graduation:

  1. Parking spaces are limited on campus — if the campus lots fill up, you can park at the neighboring NCH Corporation across from Tower Village. There will also be a shuttle service that drops you off by the Tower, as well as a nearby DART station. Taking an Uber may also be a good way to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot
  2. Put on lightweight clothes and sunscreen, wear sunglasses or a hat, drink water and bring a snack. The average temperature for a Dallas day in May can reach up to 81 degrees fahrenheit
  3. Be prepared for a change of plans — Texas weather can be unpredictable. If it rains, the ceremony will be held in the gymnasium where the undergraduate ceremony will take place in the morning and the graduate ceremony in the afternoon
  4. Make sure to get there early if you want a good seat. Facilities will be doing everything they can to maximize the seating space, but the estimated additional 500 guests will inevitably make getting a good view more competitive. If you are running late, it might be a good idea to bring some binoculars



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