Ole Miss’ graduation commencement changes designed to make ceremonies more enjoyable

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017

By Mitchell Diggs

University of Mississippi

Students, families and other visitors will notice a few changes in the University of Mississippi’s 164th Commencement ceremony, set for 9 a.m. Saturday in the Grove.

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The most visible change will be the elimination of the processional for students at the morning convocation, a move made to save time and make the entire day’s activities more enjoyable and meaningful for all participants, said Noel Wilkin, interim UM provost.

“Given the number of students graduating, last year’s processional took over 40 minutes,” Wilkin said. “The most important element of the ceremony is the awarding of their degrees, followed in importance by the addresses to the graduates. This change ensures that these remain the focus.”

Individual school ceremonies later in the day include student processionals.

“We are hoping that this change will prevent the morning ceremony from encroaching on the start of other ceremonies that day and give people ample time to get between events,” Wilkin added.

Students should be in their seats in the Grove by 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Faculty and the platform party will march in at 9 to begin the ceremony.

Jon Meacham, former editor of Newsweek, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and contributor to Time and The New York Times Book Review, is the speaker for the university’s overall convocation ceremony.

Carlton Reeves, U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of Mississippi, will speak at the School of Law ceremony later in the morning. Retired advertising executive Steve Davis addresses the Meek School of Journalism and New Media in the afternoon.

Commencement activities begin Friday afternoon, with the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College ceremony at 4 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Recipients of doctoral degrees are to be hooded by their major professors in a 7:30 p.m. ceremony in the same location.

For Saturday activities, a shuttle service for handicapped and elderly visitors is available, and guests who need this service are asked to park in the garage attached to The Pavilion at Ole Miss on Hill Drive. Wheelchairs, if needed, must be provided by families. To request assistance, call 662-915-7235.

Streets around the Grove and the Circle will be closed Saturday to allow pedestrians easy, safe access to the venues. The streets will reopen after all the afternoon ceremonies are concluded.

In case of rain, the main ceremony will be moved to 9:30 a.m. at The Pavilion at Ole Miss. If the weather is threatening, a decision on moving the ceremony indoors will be made by 8 a.m. and announced through media outlets, text messaging, blast emails and the Ole Miss website.

Also in case of rain, the School of Engineering ceremony will be held in two parts, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Ford Center. The School of Education ceremony will be moved to 5 p.m. in The Pavilion at Ole Miss; and Law, 5 p.m. in the Manning Center.

Besides Meacham’s address, the main ceremony also includes remarks by the senior class president, recognition for the university’s outstanding teacher and announcements of the Frist Student Service awards and the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.

Families and friends who are unable to attend convocation can watch a live stream live from the Grove at http://commencement.olemiss.edu/ beginning at 9 a.m.

For more information on Commencement activities, go to http://commencement.olemiss.edu/. A map containing information on parking, shuttles and restroom facilities can be seen HERE.

For assistance related to a disability, call 662-915-7235.