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UW-Eau Claire to Eliminate August Commencement Ceremony

RELEASED: April 1, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will no longer hold an August commencement ceremony, Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich announced this week.

With fewer than half the candidates for graduation participating in the August ceremony, eliminating the ceremony has been discussed for several years, Levin-Stankevich said. Given the fiscal challenges currently facing the university, it made sense to make the change now, he said.

"Planning and hosting a commencement ceremony takes a significant amount of time and resources," Levin-Stankevich said. "About 80 percent of our graduates participate in the December and May ceremonies, but fewer than 50 percent of the graduates come to the August ceremony. Given the low participation, we will use our staff time and dollars for other things."

UW-Eau Claire was the last campus in the UW System to offer a summer commencement, Levin-Stankevich said, noting that only about 215 students typically graduate in August, significantly fewer students than the number who graduate in December and May.

This year, students who graduate in August will be invited to participate in the December ceremonies. In the future, the university may add a third ceremony in May to better accommodate summer graduates.

It costs more than $3,000 to hold the summer commencement ceremony, said Jennifer Brockpahler, special events coordinator. Most costs are associated with technical set-up and student employees, she said, noting the cost estimate does not include the administrative staff time spent to plan and staff the event.

Eliminating the summer ceremony also will save the Alumni Association nearly $5,000, said John Bachmeier, alumni director. The costs are associated with events the Alumni Association hosts for different groups of alumni every commencement day, he said.

It also takes staff time to plan and host the alumni events, time that now can be committed to other projects, Bachmeier said.

The chancellor announced his decision to eliminate August commencement during a Tuesday afternoon presentation to the campus about how the university is dealing with budget reductions.

-30-

JB

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