Academic Council approves new graduation policy

Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier News Editor

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At last year’s graduation, President of Westminister College and former provost of Berry College, Kathy Brittain Richardson spoke to students with inspiring words of encouragement. This year’s speaker has not yet been announced, but will be within the coming days leading up to graduation on May 4. The speaker at graduation is usually someone well respected and known by the students. Previous speakers at graduation include Rear Admiral Vince Griffith in 2017 and former Berry College President J. Scott Colley in 2016. Photo courtesy of Berry College Twitter.

The Academic Council passed a new walking at graduation policy that will go into effect during this year’s undergraduate graduation. The policy allows any senior who is only missing a maximum of two classes, which cannot be more than eight credit hours, to walk at graduation with their class. They must also have proof that they will complete the classes during the summer after graduation and will finish the classes before the following August.

The policy first appeared for discussion at an SGA meeting and was brought to the academic council for approval. The policy was approved unanimously by the council. Provost Mary Boyd, who works on the council, explained the process of how this policy will work.

“They will walk with their class, and their diploma will be issued after they have completed all the requirements,” Boyd said. “Those may be the only requirements remaining for graduation. So, students must still be meeting the GPA requirements, and have completed all the cultural events credits and any other graduation requirements.”

This year, about 460 students are graduating. In 2018, only about 360 students graduated. But in years past, this number has varied. In 2017, about 420 students graduated, while in 2016 about 400 students graduated.

Because Boyd has served as provost since 2016, she finds it difficult to gage graduation rates because she hasn’t worked with graduating students for long. But for this year’s graduating class, she has seen improvement.

“Relative to the number of students who came in this class four years ago, the graduation rate is strong,” Boyd said.

The speaker for graduation has not been announced, but the college will make an official statement within the next two weeks leading up to graduation.

The undergraduate ceremony will be held on May 4 at 9 a.m. on the south Evans lawn.

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