Definitive news Commencement will remain on the Ellipse for the foreseeable future is being met with enthusiasm, and a trace of skepticism, across campus.
Many students said they are elated student input was taken seriously, but added that GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s decision only fulfills a University promise from recruitment brochures that read, “You will graduate on the Ellipse.”
“All the promotional material we got when they recruited us to come here says, `You will, you will, you will.’ But now it seems like the school is saying, `You might,’ ” said junior Heath Schmidt. “It doesn’t seem like the administration has been entirely cooperative in their listening to students.”
Some students, especially freshmen, are concerned the word from Rice Hall may change before they graduate.
“I hope my class doesn’t get lost in the shuffle,” said freshman Anslie Stokes. “This year and next year, yeah, but by the time I graduate, I don’t know where Commencement will be.
“They’re eventually going to get their way – and their way is the MCI Center,” Stokes said. “Logistically it makes sense and it’s not going to get ruined by rain.”
Justin Bennett-MacCubbin, a senior and member of the Commencement Committee, said he is pleased with Trachtenberg’s decision.
“They thought they could get away with (moving Commencement to the MCI Center) without student input,” Bennett-MacCubbin said. “They were fools to try.”
Student Association President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar lauded Trachtenberg’s decision to continue funding Monumental Celebration.
“I’m ecstatic that Monumental Celebration will go on, and I strongly hope students will take part in the festivities,” said Golparvar, who served on the Commencement Committee that recommended halting University subsidization of the Union Station party last month.
He said the SA and Program Board will work closely with the Office of University Special Events to promote the gala like never before.
“The student body, through the town hall meeting and other measures, has made it known that it wants Commencement to remain on the Ellipse,” Golparvar said. “I hope Commencement on the Ellipse will continue this year and beyond.”
Freshman Tommy Davis is not as optimistic. “Judging from the administration’s record, we are going to have to challenge them on this every year,” he said.
“They say one thing and mean another,” Davis said. “But now, if they’ve said it’s going to be on the Ellipse, we’re expecting to graduate there when we’re seniors.”