UCSD will begin hosting a campuswide commencement ceremony, starting with the class of 2016. Graduating seniors from all six undergraduate colleges, as well as graduate students from the Graduate Division, the Rady School of Management and the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies will receive their degrees at this ceremony.
Each of the six undergraduate colleges, the Graduate Division, the school of management and IR/PS will continue to host its own graduation ceremonies during commencement weekend in which students can walk across the stage. The Campuswide Commencement Planning Committee is collaborating with the college provosts to ensure that the campuswide ceremony and college celebrations will complement each other well.
UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla told UCSD News Center on Feb. 19 that he believes a campuswide ceremony will strengthen the sense of community among graduating students.
“We are one university, one UC San Diego community,” Khosla said. “Creating a tradition that recognizes all of our graduates and their achievements, together, is the most fitting way to honor our newest alumni.”
The Chancellor’s Office organized the Campuswide Commencement Planning Committee to review the proposal for the campuswide ceremony. After studying the logistics and goals, the committee recommended that the university start the tradition in June 2016 so that campus leadership will have ample time to plan and recruit a high-profile speaker.
Revelle College Council President Soren Nelson expressed dissatisfaction with UCSD’s ability in the past to get well-known commencement speakers since it has multiple smaller ceremonies.
“When it comes to attracting a high-caliber speaker, UCSD is at a disadvantage,” Nelson said. “It’s really frustrating to see President Obama speak at a school like UC Irvine while we get decidedly lesser-known speakers.”
Nelson also wondered if this may be the university’s way of diverging from the six-college system.
“From what I understand, Chancellor Khosla is not a proponent of the college system, and some people see this as a move to subvert college commencements,” Nelson said. “Either way, I hope the Chancellor’s Office breaks with tradition and asks students what they want because that’s who this really should be about.”
Warren College Council President Jesse Qin told the UCSD Guardian that he is concerned that the addition of another ceremony will diminish the significance of both the campuswide ceremony and the individual college ceremonies.
“People will have differing opinions on which ceremony they find to be the most official or important,” Qin said. “My initial worry is that it would unnecessarily divide the weight of importance of one event into two.”
In 2008, the university established the All-Campus Graduation Ceremony — a free, informal event that allows all graduating students, as well as their friends and families, the opportunity to celebrate graduation together — to kick off commencement weekend. As a result of the addition of a campuswide commencement, the university will discontinue the ACGC after 2015.