Sometimes weather can really screw things up. With a Southern tropical storm threatening to hit the Myrtle Beach/Conway area this Saturday, a decision had to be made early this evening. Would our 2015 Coastal Carolina graduates distinguish themselves as the first class to graduate on our beautiful new teal turf or would the implementation of our severe weather plan be necessary?
Score this one for Mother Nature.
With the storm report worsening for our area, our President had to put the kibosh on commencement exercises taking place in Brooks Stadium. While we were set to continue as planned in rain, when you throw in the possibility of severe weather you must err on the side of caution.
Of course making the most logical move still stings a little bit, especially for the students. Many looked forward to the unique graduation setting for a long time so I do understand the frustration of going from the Surf Turf to indoors.
Instead of one general ceremony in the football stadium on Saturday morning, four ceremonies spread out on Friday and Saturday will take place in the HTC Center, our on-campus arena. The individual ceremonies will be grouped according to specific colleges (business and science on Friday, humanities and education on Saturday). Although the implementation of the alternative plan will heavily impact the travel itineraries of many visiting families, you must keep people safe.
My role in all of this? Well, it took a unified effort by our University Communication team to get out news of this major change today. As the final meeting to decide where and when commencement would take place, we had both scenarios ready to roll. The social media front went fine, much quieter than what I had anticipated. My bigger part in all of this will come on Friday and Saturday. Instead of working one ceremony, I will be working four. No matter to me though, I will have much more content to share as opposed to if it was just one ceremony.
Like I mentioned, I know this wasn’t the outcome our students wanted. But I ask them to look at the situation in a positive light. Each graduate will now have the opportunity to walk across the stage in a more intimate, shorter ceremony. Students who graduate on Friday will have the whole weekend to spend with their families without the hassle of attending a ceremony on Saturday. The first group of students on Saturday (humanities) will have the pleasure of listening to the commencement speaker. The second group will most likely enjoy the most organized and flawless ceremony ever…after the fourth time it is pretty much down to a science, right?
Graduation will still go on, diplomas will still be awarded, and memories will still be made. Don’t Blink.