Family, friends and professors fill the crowd and watch the screen that displays graduating seniors as they walk past and touch the Kugel, signifying their time at California Baptist University has ended.
The commencement ceremony and all of its customs are honored traditions at CBU. Each year, graduates expect to dress in their cap and gown and gather on CBU’s front lawn to receive their diploma holders. However, this year’s spring commencement ceremony brings about new traditions.
This year, graduation has been moved to Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.
On May 3, traditional undergraduate, graduate and Online and Professional Studies students will walk across a new stage to obtain their diploma holders.
There were aspects that played a role in the administration’s reason for changing the location, but one of the biggest issues was the weather.
“Weather always plays a big issue in regards to when we’re on the front lawn,” said Kris Smith, administrative assistant to the vice president of Enrollment and Student Services. “It gets hot so quickly here, and when you’re in black gowns and with grandparents and everything, it’s just very hot sitting in direct sun for two hours.”
Some students graduating this year who have attended previous ceremonies said they are happy with the move to Citizens Business Bank Arena, specifically because of the weather.
“I was dreading sitting in the hot sun for three hours, and I am so excited that it is indoors and air conditioned and I won’t sweat,” said Taylor Parker, senior marketing major.
Other graduating seniors are not so optimistic about the move. Eddie Muro, senior communication studies and leadership studies double major, said he is upset that he will not be able to experience the commencement ceremony as it has been done in the past.
“We’re used to watching graduation out front and having the beautiful CBU campus in the background,” Muro said. “I’d rather endure the heat and be at CBU and graduate at CBU, just like how I started.”
While the ceremony is changing, administration is making efforts to try and appease graduates and their families.
“It was really important to us, because we’re not going to be on campus, that it has a feel of being very much like CBU, so we spent a lot of money this year, for instance, to purchase carpet, to purchase huge banners,” Smith said. “We went to a lot of extent to make sure it looks really beautiful and it doesn’t look like we’re just going in and renting somebody’s facility.”
The spring graduation ceremony will mirror the winter ceremony, Smith said.
Muro, senior communication studies and leadership studies double major, said he is upset that he will not be able to experience the commencement ceremony as it has been done in the past.
“I’d rather endure the heat and be at CBU and graduate at CBU, just like how I started,” Muro said.
In addition to weather concerns, other factors in the decision to move the ceremony were space and finances. Last spring, the front lawn was at maximum capacity, so the arena was necessary for the increasing number of graduates and attendees.
As an added bonus, cost to rent the venue is substantially less than the cost to construct the stage and seating on campus.
While the ceremony is changing, the administration is trying to appease graduates and their families.
“It was really important to us, because we’re not going to be on campus, that it has a feel of being very much like CBU,” Smith said.
The spring graduation ceremony is expected to mirror the winter ceremony, which was highly successful.