Spring Commencement Survey Responses Come Back Negative

Madison Watkins, Editor-in-Chief

This past January, Georgia Southern announced changes would be made for the spring commencement ceremonies. Students would walk at a ceremony where their college was based the Friday and Saturday of graduation weekend, and a campus-wide commencement ceremony would take place on Saturday at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro.

This decision was met with a lot of negative feedback from students on all campuses. 

The weekend of May 11 arrived and many complaints began to surface on social media. Most of which came from those attending ceremonies in Statesboro because Hanner Fieldhouse lacked the capacity to hold all the attendees for the college-based ceremonies. Those who were turned away from Hanner had to watch the ceremony via livestream in a different area.

As attendees arrived for the ceremonies, they were given cards with codes for an online survey so they could give their thoughts on the ceremony. 

On June 4, the results were released online. According to news station, WTOC, over 2,000 people responded. 

According to the preliminary report released by the university, the overall response sentiment was 96% negative. 

40% of the feedback came from graduating students, 25% came from family members, and 12% came from current students. 

69% of the responses concerned the college ceremonies and 31% were based on the university-wide event. 

In response to the question “How would you rate the quality of your experience?”, 62% of interviewees listed poor and 21% listed below average. 

At the end of the survey when the respondents could provide feedback by topic or state their own opinions, of the 1,318 responses, 59% chose “other” [to state their own opinions] and 16% chose “return to Paulson,” which referred to Paulson Stadium where the commencement ceremony was historically held at Georgia Southern.

The complaints grouped under the “other” category included the capacity of the venue, timing issues, lack of clear direction, campus specific ceremonies, and parking/traffic control among many others. 

Dr. Scot Lingrell, V.P. Enrollment Manager told WTOC, “Everybody has their version of what we should be doing, but we’re going to attempt to make everybody happy coming out of these ceremonies, because this is a culminating moment in a person’s life.”

Lingrell also told WTOC that the committee has identified some details they will change for December but did not want to elaborate until there is a further plan in place. 

You can read the full preliminary report here:

Updated Prelim_Report