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CSU announces transition to universitywide commencement format

Courtesy+of+Brooke+Schimmels+with+Colorado+State+University+Photography
Courtesy of Brooke Schimmels with Colorado State University Photography

Colorado State University has announced plans to transition to a brand-new commencement format beginning in 2025. The university announced that it will begin hosting one universitywide commencement ceremony in Canvas Stadium each year.

Commencement acts as a way for graduating students to gather and celebrate their graduation together as a class. Whether students are graduating soon or recently graduated, the event can be a way for a class to come together one more time before they start a new chapter.

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“CSU’s move away from college-based commencements and toward an annual universitywide commencement aligns CSU with other major four-year colleges, and having one commencement ceremony allows students to have a shared experience with their fellow Rams and establishes an exciting new tradition at CSU,” said Kelly Liggett, CSU’s managing director of strategic planning and lead project manager for commencement 2025.

“I think CSU’s new plan for the commencement ceremony is exciting because it allows students to come together and celebrate each other’s different accomplishments within different fields. It allows people to build better connections and celebrate each other.”Jude Chikh Ali, CSU student

The decision was made to enhance the graduation experience for students, staff and their families. The university aims to foster a more inclusive and memorable experience with this change.

“Hosting commencement that welcomes the entire campus to celebrate our graduates is such an exciting opportunity to go all out for our grads,” Liggett said. “A full-campus commencement will give graduates a grand entrance, welcome an inspirational speaker, bring together staff to volunteer and celebrate our students and create excitement and energy across the campus for graduation.”

CSU students who will be graduating with the new format are looking forward to the changes, as they will get a chance to better connect with their peers.

“I think CSU’s new plan for the commencement ceremony is exciting because it allows students to come together and celebrate each other’s different accomplishments within different fields,” student Jude Chikh Ali said. “It allows people to build better connections and celebrate each other.” 

Although the new commencement format will not be implemented until spring 2025, it has been in the making for many years.

“The conversation of moving to a universitywide commencement has been happening for years, especially since CSU opened Canvas Stadium and had a location on campus which would allow CSU graduates and their guests to celebrate this life milestone all together,” Liggett said. 

As part of the new plans, different colleges will no longer host their own individual ceremonies. However, departments will have the ability to host their own events to recognize students and their accomplishments in a more personalized manner.

“The university is committed to working with departments to honor their students in meaningful events that complement the universitywide commencement,” Liggett said. “All students will have their names read and the opportunity to be individually recognized. Departments and colleges may also offer personalized components to fit the needs of and personality of their own students.”

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Students have also expressed their excitement to celebrate with their friends and families at another ceremony outside of their individual colleges and departments.

“I think the new plans for commencement ceremonies are great, especially since most of my friends aren’t in my same college,” student Mia Turnbull said. “I think it will impact me and most of the people I know positively.”

There will be no changes to the 2024 commencement ceremonies in the spring or fall — though those graduating in the fall will have the opportunity to switch to the spring 2025 commencement — so the university is using this year’s ceremonies to gather feedback and evaluate what details need to be added to the new commencement plans.

CSU encourages students and staff to provide their personal feedback on the new commencement plans through ASCSU.

“CSU is committed to elevating commencement at CSU and welcomes thoughts and ideas from the entire campus throughout this process,” Liggett said. “ASCSU has expressed their support for this shift. We are actively working with ASCSU to represent the student viewpoint. We encourage students to provide input directly to their ASCSU representatives.”

Students and staff can submit questions and comments on the spring 2025 commencement webpage. Updates and further details will be available there as well.

Reach Laila Shekarchian at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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