(Buffalo, N.Y.) – SUNY Buffalo State will hold its 145th commencement ceremony May 13 in the Sports Arena and the commencement committee, which is responsible for the preparations and procedures on graduation day, has made some significant changes to this year’s ceremony.
For example, the number of tickets allowed per student has been cut from five to four and the times for each ceremony has been moved up by an hour.
Additionally, in perhaps the biggest move, the committee has assigned graduation times by school, which means students will no longer be able to choose the ceremony they attend.
The commencement committee, which is appointed by President Katherine Conway-Turner, meets regularly during the academic year and includes administrators, faculty, staff and students.
Kassidy Sandy Bourne, a United Students Government (USG) senator and student representative on the committee, said the changes were made for student safety.
“We were the only school that didn’t do it by (school), but technically speaking, every other college graduates by school,” said Bourne. “So we’re trying to bring more structure to graduation so it’s more organized and we don’t have over capacity.”
Bourne said allowing students to choose their commencement time led to overcapacity at the afternoon ceremony in 2016.
Now, students in the School of Education, School of the Professions and Individualized Studies program will have their ceremony at 9 a.m.
Students in the School of Arts and Humanities and the School of Natural and Social Sciences will have their ceremony at 1 p.m. and the commencement for graduate students will be held at 5 p.m.
Bourne said students have expressed disappointment, but she encouraged them to view these changes in a positive light.
“Think about the bigger picture; you’re graduating, your family and loved ones are there, you can celebrate with your friends after,” she said.
According to Bourne, the committee does not intend to change back to the original format, despite student complaints. She said the committee likes the new structure and is confident it will benefit the college for years to come.