ATHENS, GA (WALB) - The University of Georgia is returning to a traditional graduation schedule. The decision was made after a thorough assessment of the summer semester Commencement ceremony, which included attendance and cost analyses.
The executive committee of the University Council was notified of the administration's decision to discontinue summer Commencement at its meeting Sept. 10.
Separate ceremonies for graduates and undergraduates will continue to be held at the end of each fall and spring semester.
For many years, UGA held Commencement once a year-with separate undergraduate and graduate ceremonies on the same date at the close of spring semester. Additional ceremonies at the close of fall and summer semesters are a relatively recent addition. Separate fall ceremonies were added in 1998 and a combined graduate/undergraduate summer event began in 2000.
Beginning in 2015, undergraduates who are eligible to complete their degrees in spring or summer semesters will be allowed to attend the spring ceremony. Master's and doctoral candidates who complete degrees in the summer will walk at the fall ceremony.
"A review showed participation in summer Commencement ceremonies has declined over the past several years, and we want to be fiscally responsible in our operations," said Pamela Whitten, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.
The action is in line with national trends, she added.
"UGA is the only research university in Georgia still holding a summer ceremony, and only a few of our 24 designated peer and aspirational institutions hold ceremonies in the summer," she said. At UGA, only 16 percent of eligible undergraduates attended this summer's event, with a total attendance of 372 graduates and undergraduates.