Seniors to get one less ticket to accommodate larger graduating class
By Kathleen Holland and Abby Krembs
Due to the increase in graduation class size, Flagler College has decreased the number of commencement tickets for the Gymnasium from six to five, while graduates will still receive two tickets for the simulcast in the Auditorium.
“This is the first year that we had to limit the number of tickets and make changes to accommodate the large number of graduating students,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Paula Miller.
There are 320 expected graduating seniors this year, which includes those who qualify for early graduation. This is a 15 percent increase from the 279 students who graduated in spring 2005.
“I am upset about the lower amount of tickets given out because I had to choose whether to invite my brother-in-law or sister-in-law. I couldn’t invite both,” said Allie Hunt, a graduating psychology major.
“I come from a very large family, and everyone wants to be involved in my graduation. I would need at least three extras tickets to accommodate for my immediate family and will do whatever I can to get those seats,” graduating senior Maria DiPietro said.
In the years past, both faculty and staff have been a part of the commencement ceremony. To accommodate the large amount of graduates and their family members, the staff members, who regularly participate in commencement, have been excused from participating in the ceremony. This is the first time in Flagler College history that this has occurred.
“I know it’s difficult in a world today with extended family and students who work so hard, and it should be a day of celebration,” Miller said.
“I don’t really like the reduced number of tickets, but then, you look at how many students there are in my graduating class compared to all the others before, and it’s larger,” said Annie Hebb, a graduating Communication major.
Students who need them can find additional tickets for family and friends in a variety of places, including searching bulletin boards located throughout the campus or asking acquaintances if they know of anyone selling extra tickets. Some students have gone so far as to post their available tickets on MySpace.com or on other Web sites.
To avoid this from happening in the future, Dean Miller and the president of Flagler College have looked into the renting of additional venues for the commencement ceremony such as the World Golf Village and the Shrine Auditorium in Jacksonville.
“This also causes a problem though, because you have to make sure that the students and parents know where to go. There is something special about the tradition of the graduating seniors walking from the rotunda to the gymnasium,” Miller said.
The commencement ceremony will be held April 22 in the college’s gymnasium and televised on a screen simultaneously in the auditorium. The gymnasium seats 1,500 guests in the bleachers with 56 additional guest seats on the floor.