Arctic blast freezes commencement ceremony

Katie Paysinger
News editor

The largest snow storm in the area since January 1950 caused fall commencement, scheduled for Dec. 21, to be canceled Dec. 19.
Students who were scheduled to walk in the ceremony have the option to walk in the spring, where their names will be read despite of their attendance.
A committee comprised of President Thomas Hellie, Senior Adviser and Assistant to the President Fred Ross, Registrar Eileen Bourassa and college vice presidents ultimately made the decision to cancel the commencement after the National Weather Service announced that Sunday Dec. 21 would be the worst day of the storm.
Hellie said the decision to call the ceremony off was difficult to make.
“We felt, given the variability of the weather, that it was impossible to announce (the cancellation) too far in advance,” he said.
Hellie said the college received complaints that the ceremony was not called off early enough in order to spare family members from afar the difficulties of traveling, and that it was canceled too soon and the decision should have waited until Dec. 21 to monitor the weather.
Fall graduate Cassie Ungersma always planned to walk in the spring.
“(The cancellation) didn’t affect me personally, but I think it was a good idea because I had a lot of friends that were worried about family coming into town getting stuck,” she said.
Although the college canceled the commencement, it stayed open for final exams the following week.
“We asked professors to be creative on how they offered their exams,” Hellie said.
The college maileddiplomas to those who would have walked in the fall ceremony.

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