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After backlash over potential change, U of M says grads can walk at graduation

The university announced Tuesday that it will hold two conferral ceremonies, while also offering graduates smaller stage crossing celebrations.
Credit: KARE 11
University of Minnesota campus

MINNEAPOLIS — After receiving criticism from students and parents over a potential walk-less ceremony, the University of Minnesota will provide students the opportunity to make the traditional march across a stage as part of their graduation ceremony this spring.

The university announced Tuesday that it will hold two conferral ceremonies, while also offering graduates smaller stage-crossing celebrations where they can have their name announced, make their ceremonial walk across a stage, be congratulated by a university official and have their picture taken by a professional photographer.

Graduates will also have the option to coordinate with their friends and fellow graduates to walk across the stage together.

The commencement plans come after the university discussed the possibility of scrapping the walk to save time.

University officials announced back in October that there would be a change in venue due to planned renovations at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Instead, graduation ceremonies were moved to Huntington Bank Stadium, and when U of M senior Akiyra Terry reached out for more clarification about the May commencement ceremony, a planning member responded with the plan to eliminate the walk.

"Due to the expected size of the graduating class, students will not walk across the stage to receive their diploma as they have in previous years," wrote CLA Commencement Planning member Sara Danzinger. "If every student walked across the stage, the event would last seven hours and that is not feasible."

The email went on to say that students would have the opportunity to upload a photo and recording of their name to be added to a graduation presentation that students could download.

After receiving backlash from students and parents, university officials reconsidered the walk-less ceremony, eventually landing on the smaller stage-crossing ceremonies.

"We have been working hard to develop plans for Commencement 2023 on the Twin Cities campus to allow graduates a variety of options to choose from, giving them flexibility to celebrate their important accomplishment in the way that is most exciting and meaningful to them and their guests," the university posted on its website.

The two larger ceremonies — graduate and undergraduate — will still be held at Huntington Bank Stadium, while the smaller stage crossings will be held at RecWell Field House and at the Coffman Memorial Union at various times from Thursday, May, 11 through Saturday, May 13. According to the university's website, time slots will be posted in advance of registration.

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