Graduating Students Shouldn’t Wait to Walk: If graduating occurs year-round, why is ceremony limited to the spring?


An ARC student’s graduation cap at the Spring 2014 ceremony. The school’s beaver logo is beaded onto the top.

Breana Herndon and Breana Herndon

Every spring, American River College holds a commencement ceremony for that year’s graduates. Many of these students, however, completed their coursework in the fall semester and had to wait months for the graduation ceremony, which suggests that to truly accommodate these students, ARC should hold a commencement ceremony in the fall.

According to the 2013 commencement program, there were 318 students who graduated in August and 500 who graduated in December.

These students were eligible to participate in the spring graduation, which is 5 to 9 months later.

818 students is more than enough to hold a commencement ceremony in the fall. Furthermore, some graduates may have certain circumstances that keep them from being able to attend the commencement ceremony if it is only held in the spring, months after they completed their education at ARC.

Having a fall ceremony would be ideal for summer and fall graduates. Those students would have a better opportunity to share that special moment of achieving such a huge milestone with their families and friends.

Scott Crow, ARC’s public information officer and a member of the graduation committee, said “It’s a tradition. Not that we always have to stick to tradition, but spring graduation is a tradition.

“When a graduate gets in to the atmosphere of the ceremony with the crowd cheering, that brings a lot of excitement,” said Crow.

American River College alumnus Aundrey Mosley, who graduated in summer 2014, supports the idea of two ceremonies.

“I prefer there to be a fall gradation. Number one, I think there is a substantial amount of students who finish in the fall.

“Having two graduations will encourage students to graduate. I am so excited that I completed such a huge milestone, but having to wait an entire year to have a ceremony, the excitement, it kind of lingers away,” Mosely said.

Many students at ARC stress over finishing courses quickly, perhaps taking on more than they can handle, in order to finish in time for the spring ceremony.

“The idea of a fall commencement ceremony is great, and if ARC as a community thinks that is something that should happen, it would be a great conversation to have,” said Crow.

It is worth noting that putting together a ceremony that is a great experience for not only the graduates, but the staff, faculty and families, can be an extraordinary amount of work.

Manual labor isn’t the only work that needs to be done. Expenses would also need to be considered.

“We always need to weigh budget factors when considering decisions. Since graduation ceremonies do have expenses, we would need to factor that into the conversation,” said Crow.

While a fall ceremony would entail a considerable amount of extra work, it is achievable, and worth the effort to ensure that all ARC graduates can participate in such an important milestone.