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The Blue & Gray Press | November 18, 2017

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Hurley Will Shake Seniors' Hands at Commencement

BY EMMA CARONE

With the recent announcement that President Judy Hample will be resigning as of April 1, many seniors are left wondering how this will affect the rapidly approaching Graduation Ceremony.

Hample, who originally announced that she would be resigning as of July 1, will be leaving office just 38 days before the commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 8.

“Isn’t the president supposed to shake our hands and sign our diplomas?” senior Cassie Kollman asked, echoing the voices of her classmates who are worried about graduation proceedings.

Last week, the Board of Visitors announced that Rick Hurley will replace Judy Hample as acting president after her resignation, until June 30.  Hurley, who previously held office as acting president from May 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008, is no stranger to graduation ceremonies, and has announced that he will be shaking hands with the students.

Some students, however, are more upset than confused.

“I’ll shake everyone’s hand. I love Mary Washington. I care about our class. And, I’ve been here for four years. That’s more than any of our recent presidents can say,” senior Natalie Mclarty said.

Along with the presidential changes, the ceremony this year is set to expect several other changes. Jay Harper, provost, will be handling the event this year for the first time.

According to Harper, graduation was given to him to oversee this year in order to stress the importance of academia, which falls under the responsibility of the provost.

This year, instead of joining the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies, the two will be held at different times. While the undergraduate students will graduate on May 8, the graduate students will have their commencement ceremony on Friday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m.

According to Harper, the change is for two reasons.

“By separating out the graduate students it will make the undergraduate ceremony proceed quicker,” he said, acknowledging how hot students get while sitting in the black robes all afternoon.

The two ceremonies will also better highlight the individual importance of both the undergraduate and graduate students, rather than combining them.

As for the diplomas, many students have been worried that rather than receiving them during the ceremony they would be given blank sheets of paper instead.

However, Harper explained that is not the case. Initially, instead of diplomas, seniors were going to receive invitations to the alumni center. This would prevent diplomas from getting wet in case of rain, or being damaged during the ceremonial proceedings. However, the idea was quickly put down by the student body, who would rather receive the diploma right away.

“Other than that,” Harper ensured, “things won’t be much different this year.”