A Message from Ken Carson, Provost
Commencement is my favorite Geneva College activity. As provost, I have a leadership role in academic affairs, student development and athletics, so I have a lot of activities from which to choose. Commencement wins easily.
Why is it my favorite? Because Commencement is the culmination of everything that we try to accomplish at Geneva. It is a celebration of many things. First and foremost, we celebrate academic achievement. Only about one third of the American population has a bachelor′s degree (or higher). Graduating from college is a significant milestone that is not easily accomplished. We have a challenging curriculum-including a rigorous set of core requirements-that tests students′ abilities and motivation.
In addition, for many students, Commencement celebrates four years of engagement in campus life-everything from being in Bible studies to playing intramurals, from going on mystery bus trips to spring break mission trips. For nearly a fifth of the student body, Commencement marks the completion of their college athletic career, and time when their athletic skills and abilities were tested far more than they had imagined. The traditional student starts college at age 18 and leaves at age 22. A significant amount of "growing up" occurs during those years, and Commencement is an important marker.
Geneva actually has two commencement ceremonies each year, which only serves to double the fun. We have a separate event to celebrate the graduates of our adult (non-traditional) undergraduates and our graduate students. This ceremony is equally joyous and fun. In some ways, it is even more fun, because these are students who are accomplishing something that is increasingly more unusual in our day and time.
I like to have fun at Commencement. Unlike at larger institutions, the name of each graduate is publicly announced. Hoopla from family and friends is not frowned on; it is actually encouraged. And, we have recently made changes that allow graduating students to sit with their friends rather than in impersonal alphabetic order. What a joyous (and noisy) time!
In addition, I usually do one or two special celebrations as well. Consider these two examples.
I hope you can tell how much fun it is to do these kinds of things in addition to calling the names of each undergraduate student and hearing the boisterous support that they get from friends and family. It is such a privilege to be involved in this academic duty, and I look forward to the day when you and your child are among the celebrants.