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Graduating LC seniors told commencement canceled

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The Pineville campus of Louisiana’s only private Baptist college has seen millions of dollars in renovations and lots of landscaping. Curb appeal is among the top three factors that attract students and families to colleges.
Leigh Guidry/USA Today Network Louisiana

Students in their last semester of study at Louisiana College in Pineville will have to wait until May if they want to walk across the stage in cap and gown to receive their diploma.

Senior administration has decided to end the tradition of holding fall commencement, which in the past has included all the pomp and circumstance as the same occasion in the spring.

Discontinuing fall commencement is a better business decision, according to a recent letter emailed to students, and is an opportunity for officials to be “good stewards of the College’s financial resources.”

The letter is dated Sept. 7, about two weeks after the start of the fall semester, and invites students to return the following spring “to allow us to celebrate your accomplishments with you.”

Rachel Bordelon, a criminal justice major from Marksville scheduled to graduate this December, said she was surprised to hear about the decision. 

Read More: Officials say LC’s enrollment numbers may be a record

“At the beginning of the semester, I was going to get my books and stuff, and I thought while I was there (at the campus book store), why don’t I get the ball rolling on getting my cap, my gown, my frame to hold my diploma and stuff like that,” Bordelon said.

That’s when a worker “informed me that there’s no December graduation,” Bordelon said. “My first reaction was what? I was in disbelief.”

Not all students are happy with the change.

Kaylee Rushing, a double criminal justice and psychology major from South Louisiana, said she wouldn’t necessarily return to participate in graduation if she’s moved on with her life. 

“It’s not feasible if I have a job, say I’m working with state police in New Orleans or the FBI in New Orleans like I plan on,” said Rushing, a sophomore whose class schedule puts her graduating at the end of a fall semester also. 

Read More: Louisiana College to charge flat rate tuition

Students can be put in the position of graduating a semester early or late for different reasons including what class load their personal lives or finances allow or because of scheduling conflicts.

The letter informing students of the change is signed by Cheryl Clark, interim vice president for academic affairs, and says the college’s research shows similar-sized institutions generally hold commencement in the spring only.

It also points out that holidays can make it difficult for family members to travel and participate in fall commencement, which is held in mid-December.

Rushing said students and faculty should at least have been given an opportunity to voice concerns about the change or recommend phasing it in over several years.

“It’s disheartening,” she said.

Read More: Students graduate college before high school

The letter does not mention the size of fall commencement as being a factor in the decision, but the number of degrees awarded in May versus December does not usually vary greatly.  

This May, the school had 114 students participate in commencement exercises, which was less than in December 2016 when 140 students graduated.

Bordelon said her experience at Louisiana College, particularly with faculty, has been positive, so it’s disappointing to cap off her time at the school in this way.

“It’s mixed emotions,” she said.

Article source: http://www.thetowntalk.com/story/news/education/2017/10/12/graduating-lc-seniors-told-commencement-canceled/753840001/

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