FHSU changes Commencement

Fort Hays State University, one of the fastest growing universities in the nation, will make major changes in the way it conducts graduation ceremonies beginning in spring 2015.

On Friday, May 15, students earning both master's degrees and undergraduate degrees from the College of Business and Entrepreneurship and the College of Health and Life Science will walk across the stage in Gross Memorial Coliseum during a Commencement ceremony that begins at 6 p.m.

The second Commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, also in Gross Memorial Coliseum. The participants on Saturday morning will be students earning both master's degrees and undergraduate degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Technology.

"Our soaring enrollment growth has produced a corresponding growth in the number of students earning degrees. This new arrangement will allow plenty of space at both ceremonies so that we do not have to limit the number of people who can attend," said Dr. Joey Linn, registrar and associate vice president for Student Affairs.

President Mirta M. Martin said the option of limiting attendees was rejected out of hand. "Fort Hays State is a family, and the last thing we would do is tell some of the members of our graduates' families that they cannot attend Commencement," she said. "This is a day of celebration. Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in the success of our students. We hope that by making this announcement more than seven months ahead of the event, we will be giving the friends and families of our students plenty of time to mark their calendars and make their travel plans."

FHSU has more than doubled its enrollment since the turn of the century, rising to 13,500 in the fall 2013 semester. On the 20th day of this semester, FHSU reported an enrollment of 13,850. In the year 2000, enrollment was about 5,800.

There has been a corresponding explosion in the number of graduates.

There were 2,083 graduates in May this year, which included associate, bachelor and graduate-level degrees. As recently as 2005, FHSU had only 1,374 graduates. The continuing growth meant the number of Commencement attendees would soon exceed the capacity of Gross Memorial Coliseum, which is the largest venue on the FHSU campus.

The decision was made to divide FHSU's four colleges in half, with students from two of the colleges graduating on Friday night and students from the other two colleges graduating on Saturday morning.

Back to top