Monday, April 30, 2007

Wishes To Your Graduating Friends

Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the associated ceremony. The date of event is often called degree day. The event itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. In the United States and Canada, it is also used to refer to the advancement from a primary or secondary school level. Many colleges have different traditions associated with the graduation ceremony, the best-known probably being throwing mortarboards in the air.

hat toss

At many large U. S. institutions, where many hundreds of degrees are being granted at once, the main ceremony (in the sports stadium or other large venue) is followed by smaller ceremonies at sites around campus where faculty of each department distribute diplomas to their graduates. Another means of handling very large numbers of graduates is to have several ceremonies, divided by field of study, at a central site over the course of a weekend instead of one single ceremony. The final problem that arises is the large number of family members / guests that each graduating student wants to attend. Universities try to circumvent this by allocating a specified number of graduation tickets to each student that will be graduating. Students can then buy/sell/trade these tickets amongst each other via sites like or through their school's online forums, message boards, etc. Due to their nature, these tickets are often departed with at a premium depending on the level of competition.

In any case, typically each candidate is given a diploma by an academic administrator or official such as the dean or department head. It is also common for graduates not to receive their actual diploma at the ceremony but instead a certificate indicating that they participated in the ceremony or a booklet to hold the diploma in. At the high school level, this allows teachers to withhold diplomas from students who are unruly during the ceremony; at the college level, this allows students who need an extra quarter or semester to participate in the official ceremony with their classmates.

At most colleges and universities in the U. S., the faculty technically will recommend that each candidate be given a degree, which is then formally conferred by the president or other institutional official. Typically, this is accomplished by a pair of short set speeches by a senior academic official and a senior institutional official: "Mr. President, on behalf of the faculty of Letters and Science, I hereby declare that these candidates have met all the requirements for the degree of ... and request that such degree be conferred upon them." "Under the authority vested in me by the State of Iowa and the Trustees of Podunk College, I hereby confer upon these candidates the degree of ..."
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