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Jennifer Rowland
Office of University Ceremonies

Last modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Changes made to IU Bloomington undergraduate commencement starting in 2013

Oct. 31, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Candidates for undergraduate degrees in informatics and computing, journalism, and optometry from Indiana University in Bloomington will move from the afternoon undergraduate commencement session to the morning session starting in May 2013 to address concerns about crowding, safety and improving accessibility for those with limited mobility.

"We are announcing this now so that students and families can make appropriate travel arrangements for commencement weekend," said Jennifer D. Rowland, managing director of university ceremonies. She said President Michael A. McRobbie, Provost Lauren Robel and respective school deans Robert Schnabel, Michael Evans and Joseph Bonanno have approved the change.

According to Robel, the need for change stems from enrollment growth at IU Bloomington. More than 10,000 seniors will be eligible to graduate in May 2013.

"The sizes of incoming classes are increasing," she said, "which means the sizes of graduating classes are increasing as well. At the same time, there is a renewed interest in commencement participation."

The increase in attendance has given rise to concern that Assembly Hall could run out of room in the afternoon session. In recent years, students in the College of Arts and Sciences and their guests have made up the majority of the undergraduate afternoon session. In 2012, there was scarcely a seat left unfilled, which led to difficulties with sightlines, sound, crowd control and access for those with limited mobility.

Rowland said commencement organizers believe they can ameliorate many of the problems by moving the three schools to the morning session.

"Commencement is one of the most significant days in a student's academic career, and we want it to be a safe and joyous experience," Robel said. "This change will help us plan a ceremony that they and their families will long remember."

This change does not affect the May 4, 2013, date; only the time is changing for undergraduate degree candidates in informatics and computing, journalism, and optometry. The switch is permanent; College of Arts and Sciences graduates will be the only students participating in the afternoon session from now on.

All commencement recognition and celebration events can be held as planned. For complete information on commencement ceremonies at IU, visit or email