For the Haverford class of 2018, there will be a slight change in the location of the graduation ceremony. Traditionally, seniors have lined up outside Roberts to receive their diplomas, wave to the crowd assembled on the green, and then walk off. This year, however, the graduation ceremony will be held in the fieldhouse due to concerns about adequate shade for attendees. In addition, Founders Green presents challenges such as insufficient power, bad acoustics, and lack of nearby bathrooms.
“[It is] a little disappointing. Haverford’s got a beautiful campus so it’s too bad it won’t be a part of my graduation,” said Nicholas Munves ‘18. Commencement outside Roberts has been a longstanding tradition given the particular attributes of the location such as shade and seating space.
The location change was announced by President Kim Benston and Franklyn Cantor, who chairs the commencement committee. It reads in part: “the beloved oak between Founders and Roberts is in poor health… [meaning that] half of the outdoor area used for Commencement will be inaccessible, including the primary source of shade.”
Cantor also noted some other challenges with having the ceremony on Founders Green. “The heat we’ve seen in past years can be quite uncomfortable, and the inconsistency of any grass field (particularly in the days following rain) can create hazards or obstacles for those with mobility issues,” he wrote via email.
The fieldhouse, where graduation will be held this year, usually serves as the alternate space if the weather on Commencement day is nasty. The class of 2017 used the fieldhouse for their graduation ceremony for that very reason.
President Benston’s email did point out that part of the commencement celebration will be held outside. The “ensuing reception” immediately following the graduation ceremony will be held on Founders Green.
“We are confident that our campus colleagues and external partners will prepare the space well, ensuring that this year’s Commencement will continue our tradition of joyous, festive occasions that celebrate our graduates and their families with warmth and enthusiasm.”
Commencement will be on Saturday, May 19.