Commencement to be held outside

As the second half of the semester approaches and there are less than two weeks until spring break, it is time for the graduating class of 2018 to prepare for the Commencement ceremony. This year’s senior class will represent the 49th annual Commencement class, but the first formal graduating class of Virginia Wesleyan University. The class will attend to a message delivered by the keynote speaker Pamela Northam, educator, conservationist, and wife of Governor Ralph Northam.

Continuing with the theme of firsts, this year’s Commencement is scheduled to take place on the University Commons in front of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center. This will be the first Commencement held outdoors since 2003 and the very first to be held in front of the new environmentally-friendly building. In 2003, Commencement was held on Rose Hall Lawn, and prior to the completion of the Jane P. Batten Center, Commencement was historically held outdoors on the Hofheimer Library Plaza and later on the Chapel Lawn. From 2004 to 2017, the ceremony took place in the Batten Student Center.

A few seniors took the time to comment on their opinions, or viewpoints of graduation being held outdoors this year.

“It is absolutely terrifying and exhilarating at the same time,” education major Morgan Lucas remarked.

“I think graduation outside is a good idea as far as being able to have as many guests come as we’d like, and being in the heart of campus. But, I think there is a higher possibility of things going wrong when you factor in the possibility of bad weather and having to change things at the last minute, communication major Antonio Boone stated.  

“I’m excited, hopefully it’ll be nice weather,” history major Heather Jenkins said.

“I don’t really mind graduation being outside, I think it will be cool to have something different,” recreation and leisure major Morgan Lee commented.

Although it does not detail an accurate representation of the approximated 300 students graduating, a poll was taken on Twitter. The poll received fourteen votes, and stated that this year, graduation will be held outside by the Greer Environmental Science Center. Voters were given the options of “sounds like a great idea,” or “I would prefer elsewhere”. Sixty-four percent said it sounded like a great idea, and the remaining thirty-six percent said they would prefer elsewhere.

In the event of severe weather, the 2018 Commencement Ceremony will be relocated indoors. For more information regarding Commencement activities please visit and search commencement ceremonies.

Amanda Archer