Grads would get more from small ceremonies

Benjamin Wallin

Baruch College can often feel like the kind of place where it’s easy to be forgotten. Classrooms have little to distinguish them from one another and students leave little to no trace behind. 

Most club areas could easily be converted to spaces for different organizations. 

Aside from a bottle of champagne on the second floor of the Newman Vertical Campus, a time capsule on the eighth and paver stones in the plaza — seeming like they will only be ready by the time those inconvenienced by construction have already graduated — students don’t have many opportunities to leave something of themselves behind at Baruch.

Departmental graduation ceremonies are more intimate and offer the opportunity to share a special moment with students.

To counteract student’s feelings of lacking long-term impact and being invisible, Baruch should encourage departments to hold graduation events for those majoring in their subjects. In order to complete a major, students must take around 10 courses under the same discipline, after which it is somewhat likely  that  they  will  start  to recognize familiar faces among classmates and faculty. 

This may be the case more so for those who study under the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs than under the Zicklin School of Business, but it is still more likely that accounting students will recognize each other than any random selection of 3,800 students — the approximate number of undergraduates who matriculated from Baruch in 2018.

Departmental graduation ceremonies are more intimate and offer the opportunity to share a special moment with students. Smaller gatherings would also allow for students to walk and receive a diploma — or at least a representation of their diploma in lieu of having received final grades.

More students could be honored, especially on a more particular level than just being valedictorian. Speeches would feel more pertinent to those attending, focused as they are on particular areas of study. 

Students would be given a chance to reconnect with professors they’d taken years earlier and with classmates they never friended on Facebook or added to their contacts.

With departmental graduation ceremonies, students wouldn’t be stuck with the decision of whether to attend an event where they will yet again be a faceless figure in a crowd, surrounded by thousands they don’t know, as up to four members of their family — assuming the student hadn’t picked up somebody’s spare commencement tickets — watch a crowd of students, hoping to spot the familiar face or graduation cap decoration.