Provost considers graduation on campus

Andrea Pedon

Alyvia Nichols, interdisciplinary studies, claps and looks to her people who are in the audience for her during the end part of commencement where the graduates shout-out and clap to the members in the audience who were there for them through their college experiences. Photo by Rachel Johnson

In an attempt to give future graduates a last farewell to the university, James Johnston, provost and vice president for academic affairs, has explored options to bring graduation back on campus.

While graduation is now being held downtown in Kay Yeager Coliseum is the current location of graduation, it has been held in D.L. Ligon Coliseum before. Johnston foresees that if graduation is moved back on campus, the coliseum is where it would be held.

Johnston said graduation marks a significant achievement in one’s lifetime.

Beyond the piece of paper that says you’re a graduate of Midwestern State University, it forever changes you as a individual. You view the world differently, you interpret the world differently and it’s all giving you the tools to be successful with whatever you do in your life,” said Johnston. 

For a number of faculty and staff, they have worked with the graduating students for four, and sometimes more, years depending on when they started.

Johnston said, “It’s important that we bring closure to that working relationship for the students.”

Luke Draper, marketing senior, said graduation is one of the last impressions that students have of their university. It is where they have been putting in their hard work and dedication for the future to come.

“Goodbyes are pretty important. Just like after we end a chapter in our life, a proper goodbye is something that is really needed. Being on campus that one last time would make the ending of this chapter in life a lot more special because you’re on campus,” said Draper. “It would be nice to get what you’ve been working for on the ground that you’ve been working hard on.”

Johnston continued and depicted his vision for how future graduations could be held.

“My rough draft look at it would be to graduate right now while we have Ligon Coliseum,” said Johnston. “We would graduate half the colleges on a Friday evening with their faculty and then the other half on Saturday morning with their faculty so they could be with the students that they worked with.”

On top of moving graduation back to campus, Johnston along with Suzanne Shipley, university president, have talked about implementing a senior walk this spring.

“Basically, my thought is to gather all the graduating seniors here next to Hardin and walk them through each of the academic buildings and the faculty and staff will be there to congratulate the graduates as they walk through,” said Johnston.