Chief Enrollment Officer seeks student opinions on graduation traditions

Holly Dunbar, head of freshman forum, presented her report Jan. 17.

Chief Enrollment Officer Ron Patterson spoke at the SGA Senate meeting Feb. 7 to receive opinions on graduation traditions such as the Keller Key and Turris Fidelus awards and a summer commencement speaker.

Patterson came to the senate meeting to ask for student opinions on when the Keller Key and Turris Fidelus awards should be handed out to the recipients.

“Keller Keys are traditionally recognized at the graduation ceremonies,” Patterson said. “We were wanting to know your feedback on whether we wanted to continue this tradition.”

Patterson went on to suggest moving this award to the university Gala Awards Ceremony instead of during the commencement ceremony.

Patterson explained the Turris Fidelus award is given to two graduating seniors that have shown civic duty, academic achievement and volunteerism and the Keller Key is given to a graduate with the highest grade point average.

Senator Charlie Gordon spoke against the idea since the university gala is an invite-only event. Gordon said that it would not be fair to be given such a high-honor award for only a select audience to see.

Patterson said a major reason they are considering this change is due to the time crunch set on grade submission. Patterson said there were problems this previous semester with figuring out who the winner was for these awards due to late grade submissions.

Patterson explained that if the award were to be moved to the awards gala, the awards would be based on years from the year prior to the award.

Gordon voiced his concern and asked what would happen if a student had “slacked off” the semester after the award was chosen. Patterson said the student would still be awarded because it was after the selection deadline.

There was not a formal vote on the topic.

Patterson also asked for the opinions about a speaker at summer commencement.

Patterson said he had been looking at other colleges and institutions for a lead on who to get to speak at the summer commencement, but he found that some colleges either do not have a speaker at these commencements or have a speaker from the university, such as the SGA president or a faculty member.

Senators fought to have a speaker at the summer commencement to keep it even with the fall and spring commencements.

When the senators questioned Patterson as to why this was brought to the Senate, Patterson said that it was an issue of wanting to be fiscal with their decision.

Patterson said that the university has not taken a stance on either of these topics and they are open to hearing student opinions on them.