All SJC campuses to attend one grad ceremony

For the first time, all three San Jacinto College campuses will participate in a single graduation ceremony at NRG (formerly Reliant) Stadium.

In the past, each campus hosted its own commencement activities at different venues holding two separate ceremonies for students receiving either academic degrees or technical certificates.

Joanna Zimmermann, Student Services Interim Vice President, said the purpose of this collaboration was to provide a larger venue for graduates and attendees.

“Over the last several years, San Jacinto College has been outgrowing the facilities where we have held commencement ceremonies,” Zimmermann said. “Outgrowing our commencement ceremony space is a great problem to have. Because of this, the College felt it was the right time to begin looking at combining the ceremonies into one.”

At previous ceremonies, the number of guests allowed to attend was limited, South Campus Dean of Enrollment Services Kerry Mix said.

“Commencement is the most time that we can show students we appreciate the time, energy, and effort they have given in their academic studies,” Mix said. “In the past we’ve had to tell students you can only bring three to five guests and we want to be able to say that whoever you want to come to commencement to see you shouldn’t be limited.”

Last year, for the first time in the College’s history, more than 5,000 students graduated from San Jac, Zimmermann said.

“This shows that we are graduating more students each year, and we wanted to make sure that each student’s family has an opportunity to see them walk across the stage and receive their college diploma,” Zimmermann said. “This is a great accomplishment, and something that we know our students’ families are proud of.”

Central campus Dean of Enrollment Services Kevin McKisson said he expects a greater participant turn-out than in the past.

“With all three campuses participating and the energy that we all bring to the event it should be the biggest event of the year,” McKisson said. “I believe it showcases the entire college and the vast number of programs that we offer. It also supports the fact that we are one college.”

Enrollment services at each campus have a different role in the organization of the ceremony, Mix said.

“People thought that enrollment services wouldn’t want to put such a big task together, but we’re really, really excited about it,” Mix said. “Everyone has been very positive about putting it together.”

Mix said bringing all three campuses together for one commencement will allow graduation to be more ceremonious and will promote a better feel and a greater atmosphere.

“A single commencement ceremony for San Jacinto College brings the College community together for a brief period of time to celebrate the successes of our students,” Zimmermann said. “The commencement ceremony is really all about celebrating our students, and I am looking forward to seeing them all earn their certificate or degree.”

Going forward, combined ceremonies will be held for both May and December commencements, Mix said.

Spring commencement for the San Jacinto College District is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 at 2 pm.