By: Stacey Axler
The senior class will graduate in the new arena of the recently opened Hodson Gym and Fitness Center Building, according to President Ronald Volpe.
“The provost recently invited all the senior officers to talk about and discuss what should be part of the commencement program for this year, and the decision was made to hold commencement in the new arena,” Volpe said.
The president said that the details and logistics of holding the ceremony in the arena are still being worked out.
The administration will be meeting with the student officers of the senior class in the first weeks of the semester to discuss the new location.
The shift in graduation location interests many seniors graduating this year, as it is a change from the traditional method of walking through the pergola and graduating outdoors.
Some seniors would prefer to graduate in the traditional method, because passing through the pergola is a longstanding symbol of completing the journey through Hood College.
“I would prefer to graduate outdoors rather than the new gym,” senior Erin Buchanan said. “One of the first things that I loved about Hood was the traditions.”
“I love the tradition of walking the path that we take for convocation for graduation as well,” Buchanan continued. “I feel that it really commemorates when we entered as first year students, and are now leaving as college graduates. I would never want to lose that.”
Fellow senior Kasey Smith agreed.
“If I graduated in the new gym, I feel that I would be missing out,” she said. “The tradition of graduating on the quad and walking through the pergola is a tradition that holds so much meaning. We walked through it before our first convocation welcoming us to Hood – we should be able to say our farewell to Hood the same way.”
But some seniors are excited about the change in graduation location.
“I would rather graduate in the new gym in case the weather is bad and the ground is muddy and such.,” senior Elizabeth Orrence said. “Plus, it would just be fun to be the first class to graduate in the brand new building.”
Volpe said that he had spoken to a number of students who had expressed opinions about graduating in the athletic center. He said that the new location does not exclude the possibility of walking through the pergola.
Noting that Hood’s graduation has been held in different locations over the years, Volpe called this year’s plan was “an experiment.”
Still, some students feel like the senior class should have had a say in where graduation is held.
“I would want it the traditional way outside,” Doug Raftery, senior and president of Student Government Association, said. “The new gym is great, but I see it more as a place to go for graduation in case it rains. It should be the seniors’ choice in the end.”