St. Thomas community members who participate in commencement exercises in May 2017 will experience a new schedule of events thanks to changes announced by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Both undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, May 20. The undergraduate ceremony, which previously was held in the afternoon, will take place at 9:30 a.m. All graduate programs (including the Opus College of Business) will hold a single ceremony, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. Both ceremonies will be held in O’Shaughnessy Stadium, with the field house as a severe weather site.

While the undergraduate ceremony traditionally has been held in the stadium, this will be a change of venue for graduate ceremonies. According to commencement coordinator Nora Fitzpatrick, the change was made to accommodate the higher number of graduates with the combined ceremony. She also noted the desire to not limit the number of guests each graduate can invite, which was an issue when ceremonies were held in the field house.

The times also were chosen to avoid the direct sun and heat of midday, while allowing graduates and their guests to enjoy being on campus before and after the ceremonies.

According to Provost Richard Plumb, the changes were designed to unite the community in the spirit of One University, a theme from the university’s strategic plan. “Commencement is a time to celebrate the culmination of our students’ hard work and dedication during their time at St. Thomas,” Plumb said. “We have made these changes to ensure the commencement experience is the best it can be for our graduates, their guests, and our faculty and staff.”

The School of Law, which is on a different academic calendar, will hold its commencement ceremony Saturday, May 13, at 1 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton.

Information about the 2017 commencement ceremonies is available online.

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