Commencement changes preserve old traditions, create new ones
The Thresher supports the changes to the commencement ceremonies for this upcoming year. As the student body has grown, the ceremony has lasted longer, extending into the hotter hours of the morning. The Houston sun can be brutal in May, so for students required to sit in a polyester gown for three hours and for students' elderly relatives and friends who have a more difficult time withstanding the heat, a shortened Saturday morning ceremony is ideal.
In previous years, commencement planners have taken considerable precautions for those who may get overheated by offering indoor viewing areas where family and friends of graduates can watch a live stream of the ceremony, which the Thresher appreciates. However, these new changes provide the best option because families will be able to be in the Academic Quad to celebrate their graduate in person.
The Thresher recognizes that the changes in ceremonies may cause problems for some families who must travel to Houston from out of town and are unable to take off work in time to make the Friday ceremonies. We sympathize with any families who the changes may negatively affect and hope the new ceremony has been announced far enough in advance that those families will be able to make the necessary arrangements.
The Thresher also supports the addition of a student speaker to the commencement lineup. In a ceremony celebrating the achievement of undergraduates, it only makes sense to have an undergraduate leader address his or her peers. While commencement speakers offer valuable insight, having a person who has just completed college alongside the graduates speak will give voice to a much-needed perspective.
These changes to commencement provide a positive compromise. The revised ceremonies will preserve the traditions of the academic procession and walking out through the Sallyport on Saturday morning, while also ushering in an opportunity for a new tradition of an undergraduate ceremony on Friday evening.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher editorial staff. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinion of the piece's author.
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