Opinion: Graduation 2019 – a step in the right direction


The Macon graduation ceremony has been moved to Five Star Stadium for 2019. Students will get eight to 10 tickets for their guests, but the ceremony is now scheduled for a Monday morning. Photo by Mercer University Marketing Communications.

Graduation is the most important event in our time here at Mercer. It’s a pivotal point of transition, where we receive our degrees and march across the stage into the next phase of our lives.

However, I’ve been hearing stories about graduation since I was a freshman. I’ve heard about how your family needs to arrive so early to claim seats in Hawkins Arena they might as well camp out the night before. I’ve heard that even though it’s indoors, the place is so packed with people, you might as well be outside in the heat. But most of all, I’ve heard how each graduate only gets four tickets for their family and friends.

During this past summer, I was already worrying about how I would utilize my tickets.  Mine were gone by default to my parents and two siblings. But for me personally, my grandparents have also contributed financially to my Mercer education. How was I supposed to leave them out, when I literally would not be graduating without them? I was seriously contemplating telling my siblings they’d have to stay home until Mercer made the big announcement.

For the 2019 graduating class, undergraduate commencement ceremonies will be held at Five Star Stadium to accommodate the growing number of graduates. Students will now receive eight to 10 tickets for their guests. However, instead of it being held on a Saturday afternoon, graduation is now scheduled for Monday, May 13 at 8:15 a.m.  

I am very thankful that graduation is now going to be held at Five Star Stadium, as that means more of my family can be there to celebrate with me. However, I also realize that since it’s scheduled for a Monday, others might not be as happy, as their guests may not be able to take off work.

Since Mercer gave us roughly a nine-month advance notice, the odds are higher that employers will be more understanding about taking off. If guests are worried about missing work due to financial reasons, there is time to work overtime to compensate, save up vacation/sick days or plan for it financially. But unfortunately when it comes to change, some will gain, and some will lose – there’s going to be a tradeoff either way.

Ideally, the Macon undergraduate ceremonies could be held on a Saturday at the stadium to offer the best of both worlds, and other graduation ceremonies could be shifted around. However, I’m sure there are lots of logistics considered in planning these graduations that might render that option impossible.

The administration said in a previous Cluster article that they decided this after talking to students and considering various scenarios, and we have to trust them on that. I hate for my class to be the trial run for this new arrangement, and I hate that some of my classmates won’t be able to celebrate with their entire families. Hopefully, Mercer studies the attendance of our graduation to see if it’s the most feasible option. But for now, it’s at least a step in the right direction.