FCLC’s Graduation Ceremony: Why at Rose Hill?


Published: September 27, 2007

With the onset of a new academic year, students might envision graduation as something of a distant convocation—an event far off from the happenings of today. But for the class of 2008, this illusion will certainly not last long, as FCLC’s current assembly of seniors will face such a ceremony in less than 10 months. There are graduating students who will remain preoccupied with such post-undergrad issues such as employment prospects and housing. Still other seniors concern themselves with meeting the requirements needed in order to actually graduate. Yet, in the midst of a chaotic period of life, one might want to stop and actually ponder the process of graduation itself.

Our university usually proceeds with a somewhat convoluted commencement which consists of an initial assembly of all Fordham graduating students who are seated together at the Rose Hill campus. Following a series of speakers, graduates from each specific college then resign to various regions of the Bronx campus for the distribution of diplomas. In the past, students graduating from the Rose Hill, Lincoln Center and Marymount campuses were awarded their diplomas in separate areas. Last year, Lincoln Center students received diplomas while inside a modestly sized tent in front of Martyr’s Court, a Rose Hill dormitory building.

Aside from the location of graduation, a further underlying dilemma awaits students following the ceremony, most notably regarding the overall inconvenience of the graduation’s location. A significant amount of Lincoln Center students have rarely, if ever, been to Rose Hill, resulting in a number of individuals unfamiliar with the area. Combined with the presence of friends and family members, leaving from such an event can prove trying.

I attended the 2007 Fordham graduation ceremony this past May, and quite frankly, I found the current arrangement of events awkwardly handled and rather unimpressive. But I did approach this event with an open mind, expecting a graduation ceremony which would perhaps serve as some form of a fusion for the geographically divided campuses. This proved to not be the case, as each commencement ceremony was ultimately set apart in an action which seemed to further illustrate the distance between campuses. In that case, if we are all ultimately separated in the end, perhaps it would not be such a bad idea to have each graduation ceremony at its respective campus.

But alas, as Fordham administrators have argued in the past, there is an issue of space. Plenty of expansive fields are situated across Rose Hill while Lincoln Center appears lacking in this department. And yet university officials are able to hold the entire Lincoln Center graduating class, their friends, family, faculty members and administrators under a tent smaller than the size of the Lowenstein plaza. With serious consideration and planning, a graduation ceremony at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus could take place just as it had in front of Martyr’s Court. Another, more ideal, option is situated just across the street, at the Lincoln Center complex itself. This venue serves as a majestic location, as evidenced by the local high schools and colleges which annually hold such graduation ceremonies at this space.

Of course, other members of the Fordham community have expressed their concerns in the past. For years, students have voiced opposition and downright contempt towards the traditional graduation ceremony, but to no avail. Yet it is at this time that I propose action amongst those who wish to celebrate a significant ceremony in a familiar location as opposed to feeling like a visitor at some other school.

One could reason that this article is rather premature, as it concerns an event which will not occur until May of next year. Why bring this issue up now? This issue must be addressed soon, as this is the time when something can actually be done to change the customary state of affairs. But there are also those who might feel relatively apathetic towards this issue. I did too before I attended last year’s graduation and quickly came to realize that this is not the manner in which I intend to celebrate such a significant day.

As a current senior who expects to graduate this upcoming May, I would certainly hope for history not to repeat itself. And that is precisely why I must invite the Fordham community to take a stand. Many in the past have lobbied for change without any great success. I propose that, for once, perhaps something finally be done to appease such a situation. While Lincoln Center seniors will spend the following school year on the path towards graduation, perhaps it is time for us to consider taking a path in a new direction.