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University of Iowa News Release

May 28, 2004

UI To Discontinue Summer Commencement Exercises

The University of Iowa will discontinue its summer commencement ceremonies effective in 2005 due to budget cuts and decreasing student participation.

"It costs more and more money every year to stage the summer commencement, but fewer and fewer graduates are participating, so it didn't make sense to continue," said Pat Cain, interim provost.

She said that students who complete their degree coursework during a summer session will be allowed to participate in spring commencement exercises the previous May or in the fall exercises the following December.

"We think it's important for graduates to walk across the stage and be acknowledged by the university community on their achievement, so we'll make sure they'll have the option to do that in May or December," she said. "But it's no longer cost-effective to offer the ceremony in July."

Larry Lockwood, UI registrar, said the number of participants in the two ceremonies has dropped for at least three consecutive years. He said 360 students took part in the graduate and undergraduate summer ceremonies in 2001. That dropped to 335 in 2002 and dropped again to 315 in 2003.

Lockwood added that many universities -- including several in the Big 10 -- have dropped or are dropping their summer commencement ceremonies.

"This is a national trend, and we're going along with it," he said.

Cain said canceling the ceremonies will also give faculty and staff more preparation time for the fall semester, which usually begins just a few weeks after the summer session ends.

"Now that they won't have to plan or participate in a summer commencement, faculty and staff will be able to turn things around more quickly and be ready for the fall," she said.

This year's final summer commencement exercises are scheduled for Friday, July 30 in Hancher Auditorium. Graduate ceremonies begin at 2 p.m., undergraduate at 7:30 p.m.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu