UCCS commencement splits to accommodate large class size

Tom Hutton, (719) 255-3439, (719) 351-6519, thutton@uccs.edu Phil Denman, (719) 255-3732, pdenman@uccs.edu

Editor’s note:    Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend UCCS commencement activities. Please contact Hutton or Denman for assistance with parking or other questions.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For the first time in the history of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, colleges will be split between two commencement ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. May 24 at the Colorado Springs World Arena.

UCCS SignatureAn 11:30 a.m. ceremony will feature bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree graduates from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Maria Tobin, a history and German major, and winner of the Student Achievement Award, will speak in addition to CU President Bruce Benson.

A 3:30 p.m. ceremony will feature bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree recipients from the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the College of Business and Administration, the School of Public Affairs, the College of Education and the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Jesse Perez, a master’s degree in education candidate and winner of the Student Achievement Award, will speak in addition to CU President Bruce Benson.

The new format will ensure that the number of guests each graduate can bring is not limited. An estimated 7,000 friends, family members and supporters of the graduates are expected to attend the two ceremonies. Additional security measures will be in place including bag checks by World Arena staff. Commencement guests should arrive early.

“Many of our students bring 10 or 12 people to commencement,” Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said. “I simply refuse to limit the number of family members and friends who come to commencement to celebrate our students’ success.”

According to the Office of Admissions and Records, almost 1,200 students completed degree requirements during the spring semester and are eligible to participate in the formal ceremonies. About 900 are expected to attend.

CU and UCCS dignitaries attending will include members of the CU Board of Regents, President Benson, Chancellor Shockley-Zalabak and Tucker Hart Adams, a local economist and this year’s recipient of a Distinguished Service Award presented by the CU Board of Regents.

Shockley-Zalabak sees the format change as a sign of the university’s growth and success.

“The fact that we can’t even fit in the World Arena because we’ve got so many people coming is testament to the work we do,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “It’s something that I find invigorating and exciting.”

Both ceremonies will be live-streamed online and rebroadcast on Comcast Channel 20 and Falcon Broadband Channel 77. To watch the live stream or to see a schedule of the broadcasts, please visit www.uccs.edu/commencement.

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The University offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 9,800 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.