Budget cuts graduation ceremony

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Ashley Thompson

Effective immediately, PJC will be hosting only one collegiate graduation ceremony per year.

In the past two separate ceremonies were held, one in May and another in December. This change was made in an effort to cut costs, a trend that has been increasing campus wide.
“We are going through some pretty severe fiscal times, not just at the college but throughout the country,” said Martha Caughey, registrar at PJC. “One of the things we have been charged to do is try and cut back expenses where we can.”
The amount being saved by cutting one ceremony is approximately $30,000. By saving this much, it could possibly be saving someone’s job. The biggest cost of the ceremony is in the location, the Civic Center.
Finding ways to reduce the school’s budget was the primary reason for the decision, but many of the community colleges in the state have already gone to one ceremony per year. The group that graduates in May has traditionally been the larger of the two.

“We will be offering students who will be graduating at the end of the summer or in December, to march even before they meet their graduation requirement,” said Caughey. “We thought allowing them to march earlier, rather than later, would be better because many times they are graduating, moving away, and going to a university somewhere. Although, we will certainly let them do it later if they want.”

Students now have more flexibility as to when they can participate. PJC will give students who miss their graduations a chance to walk the next time around.

So far, the reduction in the amount of times graduation is to be held has been the only change to the ceremony. The 2009 PJC graduation ceremony will still be held at the Civic Center on May 12.
“The goal is to celebrate the graduation of a student with a commencement ceremony, for the student and for the student’s family. It’s an achievement and it’s a proud achievement, and we are glad to be part of it; but we also have to be responsible for the dollars that the college spends,” said Caughey.