December graduation officially moved to Paulson Stadium

 Courtesy of Dylan John, SGA president

Erin McGuiness and Chyna James

Georgia Southern University’s December graduation ceremony will be moved from Hanner Fieldhouse to Paulson Stadium, according to an announcement at the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting Wednesday.

Jacquaya McKenzie, senior art history major, received over 1,000 signatures on a petition she started to move December’s graduation location.

Due to the limited space accommodations of Hanner Fieldhouse, each graduate was only allotted four tickets for friends and family, while the May graduation ceremony held in Paulson Stadium has no limit on the number of guests per graduate.

SGA worked closely with GS Administration to consider student concerns, evaluate the options and ultimately pass the decision to move graduation.

McKenzie said that many students, herself included, were not aware of the four ticket restriction and that GS never made a formal announcement to let students know. It is typical for families of graduates to start booking flights and hotels well in advance, McKenzie said.

Students expressed their concerns, and SGA listened.

“We were holding the position that students wanted graduation at the stadium, so that was our primary objective. Therefore, during discussion with administration, we addressed the need of having more family and loved ones at graduation and the space needed for that,” Dylan John, SGA President, said.

While McKenzie will not need any more than four tickets, she was concerned about her peers having enough tickets to accommodate their various family sizes.

“This is literally the best news I’ve heard all day,” Janna Galbreath, senior criminal justice major, said. “I’m so happy that I don’t have to choose four people out of my family to attend graduation because that’s not fair to anyone, especially not to me.”

When asked about the possibility of chilly December weather, McKenzie said that even if it’s a little chilly, she and her friends will bundle up because they’d rather have their families there.

John said, “this decision is significant because the logistics, the prices, have been a challenge and barrier to facilitate graduation at this level in the past, but thankfully we were able to work with administration and get it passed.”