Looking at feedback from 2019 spring commencement surveys

Nathan Woodruff

Editor’s Note: Because of the anonymity of the survey results, there are no names from respondents, only role in graduation such as graduate, faculty, parent, etc.

Following the 2019 Georgia Southern University commencement ceremonies, the Department of Enrollment Management produced a survey and received feedback from over 1,700 respondents which included graduates, current students, faculty and family members.  

Here’s a breakdown of some of those responses:

Negative responses revolved around the sound system.

“After the ceremony, several different families complained to me that the acoustics were so bad that they could not understand anything – speeches, names of graduates, announcements,” one faculty member said.

The split graduation was another point of contention.

“Not very fond of the split graduation. Had multiple people graduating and couldn’t attend both because of split locations,” one responder said.

Students felt as though the moment they had been waiting for was ruined by the splitting of the ceremonies.

“(My parents) have waited my whole life to be with me for this moment, and they missed it because of terrible planning and execution by the university,” a student who graduated this year said.

Responders described the different ceremonies as chaotic and conflicted.

“It makes no sense to have multiple different ceremonies; especially with many of them being held in Savannah,” a non-graduating student said. “Times were conflicted, and it was very chaotic.”

While there were many negative responses there were also people who enjoyed the ceremonies. 

One attendee said that the ceremony was well-organized and that the length was great.

“The pace of the ceremony was excellent, and the program was clearly rehearsed,” a student said. “The duration was no more than an hour which was great.”

Even positive responses came with mild criticism. 

“Considering the number of people attending the event, I think the school did a VERY good job,” a parent of a graduate said. “We were all a little packed together in the stands, but that is to be expected.”

The University-Wide Ceremony and its commencement speaker got praise.

“The University Wide Ceremony was excellent. The morning was nice and cool,” a family member of a graduate said. “The view was great. Daymond John gave a wonderful speech and it was exciting since we were familiar with him from Shark Tank.”

One positive responder said that individual college ceremonies felt intimate.

“I truly enjoyed the individual college wide ceremony and its location because of how intimate it felt,” a graduating student from the College of Arts and Humanities said. “It was nice to actually see my family members in the stands and converse with professors I had known for four years.”

For a complete view of the raw commencement survey results, click the file below. 

Nathan Woodruff, The George-Anne Managing News Editor, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu