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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

May 1, 2009

Summer commencement this August will be the last

by Diana Pounds

Iowa State's last summer commencement ceremony will be held Aug. 8. Like many universities around the country, Iowa State will phase out the summer ceremony, which draws fewer graduates than the spring and fall ceremonies.

Most ISU students who would graduate during the summer will be given the opportunity to participate in a ceremony a couple of months early at spring commencement. All summer graduates will have the option of attending fall commencement in December.

Associate provost Dave Holger cited several reasons for eliminating the summer ceremony -- tight budgets, the need to use resources more efficiently and declining interest, particularly among undergraduate students, in the summer ceremony.

Approximately 31 percent of undergraduates, 45 percent of master's students and 67 percent of Ph.D. students who finish school in the summer participate in summer commencement. The most popular commencement, spring, draws approximately 42 percent of undergrads, 50 percent of master's and 77 percent of Ph.D. students.

ISU officials already have allowed some undergraduates who expect to graduate in summer to attend spring ceremonies. More than 100 such students, who are on track to graduate summer 2009, will participate in next week's spring commencement.

In February, a task force recommended eliminating summer commencement, beginning in 2010. That recommendation was accepted by president Gregory Geoffroy.

The task force's next focus is to develop the degree requirements that summer graduates must meet if they wish to participate in the spring commencement, Holger said. The task force wants to ensure that students are close enough to meeting requirements that they can reasonably be expected to finish during the summer.

The task force will consult the student governing bodies, the academic colleges, Faculty Senate and registrar, and should have requirements for undergraduates and master's and Ph.D. students in place by the end of fall semester, Holger said.

Iowa's other two public universities -- the universities of Iowa and Northern Iowa -- no longer hold summer commencement.


Like many universities around the country, Iowa State will phase out the summer commencement ceremony. This August's event will be the last.