The news site of Marywood University

The Wood Word

The news site of Marywood University

The Wood Word

The news site of Marywood University

The Wood Word

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Time to give Mother’s Day back to the moms


For the last nine years, Marywood has held its graduation at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Mother’s Day. Nine years too many.

According to John Coval, director of conference and event services, this date was selected when Marywood administration decided to hold commencement at the arena but learned that its usual graduation date on the third Sunday in May was already reserved by Wilkes University, a neighboring institution.

The University of Scranton’s graduation was scheduled for the fourth Sunday in the month at the arena, so the holiday was the only other viable option considering Marywood’s commencement event schedule, which includes a Saturday hooding ceremony and Sunday commencement ceremony.

The Mother’s Day commencement ceremony has created challenges for members of the university community who are required to attend every year because of employee contracts. Professors and staff have spent the past six years with students rather than their own families. The four-plus hour mid-day ceremony isn’t exactly conducive to celebrating the day with family.

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According to Dr. Alan Levine, vice president for academic affairs, the university administration counts the required number of classroom hours starting from graduation and works backward, which in turn means that graduating so early creates a shorter winter break than in years past.

This shortened break makes it difficult for professors to prepare for the spring semester having just completed the fall semester three weeks earlier. Students also often count on extended breaks to work more hours at part-time or full-time jobs. It’s also arguably not long enough for students to relax and rejuvenate for the new semester considering the fact that other local universities have anywhere from four to seven weeks of winter break.

Yes, the novelty of a mother watching her son or daughter graduate on the day meant to celebrate her as a mother might be considered touching and sentimental. But, As a result, Marywood employees are also giving up a large part of a day they could be celebrating with their own families.

The Beacon, Wilkes University’s student newspaper, recently reported that the institution is moving its commencement ceremonies from the arena back to its campus this year, seemingly leaving its previous date at the arena open for takers.

Wilkes University’s decision to discontinue holding its commencement at the arena provides Marywood administration with the opportunity to act and potentially renegotiate a new contract for the date previously held by Wilkes.

If moving the ceremony one week back is not possible or desirable, the administration should consider moving the commencement ceremony to Saturday (and the hooding ceremonies to Friday afternoon or evening). This would allow the university to maintain its current academic calendar while allowing the members of the Marywood community to reclaim Mother’s Day for celebrating moms.

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