April 11, 2019

To Faculty and Staff:

I want to bring your attention to some changes to the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. Faculty and staff will be honored through your participation on this momentous day for our students, their families, and loved ones. This is also another invitation for you to join us for this special day, May 15, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark.

The ceremony will start with an introduction of the faculty and staff by the Provost. The faculty and staff will process through the center aisle, a new configuration this year. Faculty and staff will line the center aisle and face toward the center to form a gauntlet, through which the graduates will process. This will provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to congratulate, hug, high five, or take a quick selfie with your students. This sets the tone for the event, and shows the deep care that our faculty and staff have for our students. This allows our students to interact with and thank their favorite professors and staff.

There was a request to have meeting places for faculty and students to gather by College after the ceremony. There is just no space at the Prudential Center and the schedule does not permit us to linger. The gauntlet is a means of allowing this interaction to take place. Additionally, faculty can go to where College graduates line up and seek out students before the ceremony.   

We are moving the faculty to the front of the seating area in front of the graduates. We are doing this because I want faculty to be recognized as a group. We will also ask faculty to stand and face the graduates when we confer the degrees. Regarding the conferral of degrees, we have altered the language to better represent our process: “These graduates are recommended by the Faculty, approved by the Dean, and certified by the Board of Trustees as having met all degree requirements.” The faculty were absent from this language previously. Faculty can move toward the stage to congratulate their students again as they cross the stage to receive their degrees, which I understand has been the practice, but we are asking the faculty to sit as a group.  

We are also adding a balloon and confetti drop to the end of the ceremony as a celebratory moment. I think it will be a very nice conclusion to the ceremony.   

Of course we are keeping lunch as usual.

Please click on the following link to RSVP for Commencement if you have not already done so. I hope you will join me to celebrate this very important day in our students' lives.


Richard J. Helldobler, PhD