Over the past few years, there has been an increase of nearly 6,000 students at Rowan University. This information, said Joe Cardona, vice president for University Relations, has forced Rowan to re-address it’s commencement strategy, to accommodate it’s ever-growing student body.
Seeing as how Rowan does not have a large stadium, compared to other universities, the commencement exercises have typically held on the University Green, adjacent to Bunce Hall, as in years previous. As the event is held outdoors, Rowan has been tasked with coordinating a secondary indoor location for the event, in case of inclement weather, as well as an alternate plan for how many guests will fit inside the designated area, typically the Rowan Rec Center. The ceremony was one way for all of the colleges.
Two years ago, rather than having a single day with over 2,000 students graduating at the same time, Rowan decided to split the ceremony into several smaller events across the week. Instead of the whole University graduating together, students received their diplomas from the different colleges that make up Rowan, on that college’s specific commencement day. This was to account for the weather and make certain that everyone could to fit in an indoor area such as Pfleeger Concert Hall, or the Rec Center.
“We said, ‘Hey, let’s have all the commencement exercises over an entire week,'” Cardona said.
This year, however, Rowan is seeing yet another change to their commencement. Rather than six ceremonies spread over the five days, it will now be eight.
“We added two programs,” Cardona said. “The engineering school and Cooper Medical.”
Last year, the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering graduated with the College of Science & Mathematics, making that ceremony much larger, compared to other colleges. Rowan decided to give the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering their own ceremony from now on. The eighth program to be added is the Cooper Medical school, which will be seeing its first graduating class this May.
Although there are more ceremonies, it doesn’t look like the graduating class this year has grown much since last year. It also appears that Rowan will not be adding any more colleges any time soon.
“About 2,300 students are graduating, [it’s] the same as last year,” Cardona mentioned.
This year, commencement week will begin on Monday, May 9 and will end Friday, May 13.