One More Thing Before the Year is Done, Graduation!

As we begin to wrap up another school year here at the University of Jamestown, we prepare to send off another class of amazing students, the class of 2023! Graduating is a great accomplishment and it’s highlighted with fantastic ceremonies for all to enjoy. With friends and family from all over the country making their way to Jamestown, it’s sure to be a special weekend full of celebration. Graduation takes place at Harold Newman Arena on Saturday May 6. The first of three ceremonies begins on May 6 at 9:00 AM, and that is the Baccalaureate Service. Then at 11:00 AM, Commencement: College of Graduate and Professional Studies ceremonies will begin, followed by the Undergraduate College at 2:30 PM. 

To learn more about the three ceremonies I sat down with the Assistant to President and graduation event organizer, Erin Klein. The Baccalaureate ceremony is similar to a church service, graduates will be in attendance in their cap and gown. During this time Dr. Tara Hodge, from the physical therapy program, will speak as well as choose a couple of bible verses for graduates to read. The choir will also be performing at this ceremony and there will be hymns for everyone to participate in as well. 

Next will be the College of Graduate and Professional Studies ceremony. This will include students within the multiple master’s programs here at UJ. This includes grads from physical therapy, arts and leadership, education, science and clinical counseling, and more. Then nearly 200 undergraduates! We will be hearing from UJ’s beloved President, Dr. Polly Peterson, throughout the day. UJ’s Chairman of the Board, Dr. Jim Unruh will give his remarks at both of these ceremonies and each ceremony has two speakers from their graduating class. Another exciting aspect of the undergraduate commencement ceremony includes Alumni Hall of Fame inductees and the recognition of Faculty Emeriti. Faculty Emeriti involves honorary professors who wish to continue to contribute to the university following their retirement. 

For those athletes that won’t be able to attend graduation on May 6 due to school events such as games, do not fear. There will be a ceremony on the following Monday to ensure that they get the full experience. That ceremony will be in the Voorhees chapel and it will be similar to the main graduation ceremony but on a smaller scale. The purpose of this ceremony is to ensure that all of UJ’s graduates get to walk, even if they are unavailable on the day of graduation. 

When I think back to the beginning of the class of 2023’s journey at UJ, it started during the pandemic. During a time that all on campus activities were temporarily shut down and we didn’t know when we’d be able to return. Here we are now, the pandemic being a scare of the past, ending on some really positive notes. The students here at UJ were very fortunate that they were welcomed back so quickly and warmly following the pandemic and they’ve done some great things since returning. Just this past year football won the Paint Bucket trophy for the first time since 2018. Our Women’s Volleyball team won the schools first ever national championship, Kalli Hegerle was the NAIA Player of the Year. Men’s basketball had another tremendous season under coach Neville. Mason Walters cemented himself as UJ’s all time leading scorer and NAIA Player of the Year. Of course, we survived another long and cold winter. All of these aspects and accomplishments culminated in the class of 2023 and made it unique. 

It’s been an honor to be a part of the University of Jamestown and a pleasure making all of the new friends that I have here. I wish everyone the best of luck following graduation!

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