This fall’s undergraduate ceremony, which includes 533 students, will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, IUP Registrar Bob Simon said.
The graduate ceremony, comprised of 219 students, will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Fisher Auditorium.
These ceremonies are very similar to the ones ordinarily held in May, according to Michelle Fryling, IUP’s executive director of communications and media relations.
“Really, the biggest difference in the spring is we have two ceremonies in the KCAC broken up by three colleges,” Fryling said.
The May and December graduations both have student and keynote speakers, she said.
Graduating seniors Maria J. Donofrio (hospitality management) and Allyson R. Null (journalism and communications media) are part of a group who will walk in the graduation ceremony Saturday.
Both are graduating after nine semesters at IUP, they said. Although spending that extra bit of time at IUP isn’t the norm, these students are proud to be Crimson Hawks.
“I am a double major and a double minor, so it was almost impossible to graduate on time,” Null said.
“I’m actually one semester behind, but I was happy to stay,” Donofrio said. “I felt like having a little extra time was really good for me.”
Null said that she will continue working at her current job as a shift manager at Dairy Queen after graduation. She plans to remain there until she finds a job in her field.
Donofrio said she will work at UPMC as a marketplace customer service representative. She hopes to eventually work in the marketing or fundraising department.
Null and Donofrio said they aren’t too worried about job opportunities given that they’re graduating in December rather than May.
“I’m not sure which opportunities will arise,” Null said. “So, I’m excited to find out.”
“I am getting right into things as soon as I graduate,” Donofrio said, “so I’ll have a little bit of an upper hand because I will be in a routine by the summer, unlike the May graduates.”
Employers are looking for students in December and May, according to Tammy Manko, who works with the Career and Professional Development Center. More employers are usually looking in May, though, because of the higher volume of graduates.
Some students will walk through and some will officially be handed a diploma, Manko said.
The students walking through are participating in the ceremony, but may have a few classes left to take still before they officially earn degrees.
One major difference between December and May graduations is that departments which usually hold smaller graduation ceremonies do not do so in December.
Null said she is disappointed about the lack of a departmental ceremony. However, the journalism department has asked her to return for its May ceremony.
Donofrio said she shares Null’s dissapointment.
“The hospitality department is very tight-knit; it would have been nice to graduate with everyone,” Donofrio said.