Budget Cuts Will Not Cancel Fall Commencement

BLACKSBURG, Va., May 1, 2003 – Virginia Tech will not cancel commencement ceremonies for Fall 2003. "The ceremonies are too important to our students and their families. These events have become part of the university culture and tradition in just a short time," said Ed Henneke, associate dean in the college of engineering and chair of the commencement committee.

The graduate school ceremony currently is scheduled for Friday, December 19, and the undergraduate university ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, December 20, but the university administration is considering a recommendation by the faculty to hold both ceremonies on Friday, December 19. No decision has been made.

Because of major losses in state funding, the university administration had considered eliminating the commencement ceremonies for Fall 2002. Private funding including support from the local hotel community offset losses in state funding and enabled the ceremonies to be held as planned.

Henneke is not certain where the university will find funds to hold the ceremonies, but said that the university will not ask the local hoteliers. "We'll find a way to make it happen," he said.

The university began holding a fall commencement in 1990 to complement spring commencement. The event quickly became popular. About 1,200 graduate and undergraduate students received their diplomas at the December event.