I want to express my overwhelming sense of gratitude to everyone on campus for making summer convocation such an incredible success. We faced a huge challenge this year - 21 ceremonies in five days. Thanks to the dedication of staff, faculty and volunteers, we not only pulled off our “super convocation” but also made the event memorable for our 3,500 new graduates and their families.
Convocation is always a special time on campus. It’s touching to see the students whom we’ve watched grow and develop finally crossing that stage. But it’s also a hectic time for staff and faculty — especially summer convocation involving thousands of students from our seven colleges.
For nearly a decade, we’ve accommodated the crowds for our June ceremonies in the Gryphon Dome. This year, with the 2,000-capacity dome closed, we had only one other option on campus: Memorial Hall, capacity 700.
That meant we had to squeeze 21 ceremonies into a single week. With up to five ceremonies a day, we had to limit the number of available tickets for each event. Most students and their families were patient and understanding, and I thank them for their support.
The extra ceremonies also called for more volunteer help this year — a lot more. And we had to ask faculty members to attend multiple ceremonies in a single day. Again, they responded graciously.
I know how much it means to faculty and staff to attend convocation. It’s our job — our passion — to enrich our students’ minds and lives. For students, it’s also important to know that their professors and mentors are watching their moment on the stage.
With up to about 150 graduates at a time rather than the customary 400 or so, this year’s ceremonies felt more intimate — and shorter! I heard many people express appreciation for the events’ ambience and warmth.
I have many people to thank, from the convocation and special projects team, to staff from Registrarial Services, Hospitality Services and Physical Resources, to the plant agriculture technician providing the flowers, to the OVC videographer making the ceremonies available online, to the hundreds of volunteers and faculty who attended the ceremonies.
As I have said many times before, it is our people who lend this University its strength and spirit. That spirit welled up again this week in Memorial Hall and, I am sure, was felt once more by our students as they left us to begin their new journey.