Ending where it all began: Commencement to be held on campus

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Story by Bhavya Thamman, Reporter
Photo courtesy of @aquinascollegegr Instagram

As the trees begin to bud and the flowers begin to bloom in May, all of Aquinas’s campus will be abuzz with the excitement felt by graduates as they move on to the next chapters of their lives. However, one thing will be different this year. After years of hosting commencement at a variety of different rental venues around Grand Rapids, this year commencement is coming back on campus and will be held in the Alksnis-Sturrus athletic complex on May 5, 2018.

This is exciting for all of us at Aquinas College as it allows us to make commencement entirely our own. Graduates will be able to bring their families on campus, some of them for the very first time, to see where they have lived, developed and flourished for the duration of their college careers.

In an email addressing the student body, Dr. Kevin G. Quinn, newly inaugurated President of Aquinas College, states that “we lose something significant by not inviting our family and friends to our home for this important ritual. It is time for us to bring it back.” For many students this opportunity to share their last moments at Aquinas College with friends, family and loved ones is irreplaceable.

Aquinas alumnus Claire Krohn, who graduated in 2017, shared thoughts about her commencement ceremony and the change. She said, “I’m honestly jealous that commencement is going to be on campus this year. Our graduation ceremony was great and beautiful, but there’s something memorable about ending in the place where it all happened.”

Krohn said that she, and many other graduated alumni, are excited to see graduation back on campus. “I’m really looking forward to coming to graduation — obviously to support friends, but it’ll be nice to catch up with professors, and most of all to just be back at Aquinas.” For many of our alumni, commencement is a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, but this year it will also be a chance to come home.

Planning for commencement is already underway, and because this will be the first time in years that the event is on campus, the administration has issued the disclaimer to seniors that “there could be a few bumps” along the way. Dr. Quinn assures students and faculty alike that relocating our commencement ceremony back to campus will work toward “the enrichment of the spirit of the Aquinas College community” and that is, and always has been, the ultimate goal at Aquinas.

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