North Central graduates walked the commencement stage with pride Friday, Dec. 9 in the Trask Word and Worship Center, followed by a banquet ceremony in the chapel. Though 29 students participated in the actual ceremony, a total of 37 degrees were conferred.
Jeremy Williamson, associate registrar, attributes the lower-than-average number of fall graduates to policy changes in the registrar’s office.
“We are finding that there are some students who are getting close to graduation but don’t quite finish,” Williamson said. “We want to make sure our policies in this office help people truly finish and not simply feel like they did.”
One effect of the policy change moves potential fall graduates to the spring commencement ceremony if the students have outstanding credits in December. Williamson also believes there is a recent shift in many students’ timeline of completing their degree.
“We believe more of our students are finishing in the traditional four-year model,” Williamson said. “This means less students are needing to take an extra semester to complete class work and are done in May.”
The registrar’s office’s data reports that eight students graduated from the College of Fine Arts, 14 from the College of Church Leadership and 15 from the College of Arts and Sciences. A total of 16 students graduated with honors, indicating a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.
Though 68 students are currently cleared to graduate in May, this number is expected to increase significantly within the next two months.
“Last year at this point we had 68 people cleared to graduate,” Williamson said, “and we had about 170 people participate in the ceremony.”
Williamson expects this year’s graduating class to be smaller than last year’s, simply because the incoming class four years ago was smaller. However, Williamson hopes to see an increase in graduates in the upcoming years.
“Obviously, we want more people to graduate,” Williamson said. “We are interested in creating practices and policies that help people accomplish that goal. We have quite a few ideas of what those would be, but they are not quite ready to be unveiled just yet.”
At the end of the day, Williamson enjoys being a part of the graduating process.
“For many of our students this will be their last time in formal education, and I get to help shape one of the culminating experiences,” Williamson said. “I am grateful to get to be a part of honoring each person this day.”
The spring baccalaureate is scheduled for Friday, April 28 at 11 a.m. in the Trask Word and Worship Center. The spring commencement ceremony will be at Cedar Valley Church in Bloomington Friday, May 5 at 2:30 p.m.