Fall GPC grad­u­ates must wait un­til May 2013 to walk

The Covington News - - Front page - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege students who were look­ing to grad­u­ate dur­ing a fall com­mence­ment cer­e­mony in De­cem­ber will now have to wait un­til May 2013 to walk across the stage.

Ac­cord­ing to an email sent to GPC students on Sept. 14 from Rob Watts, GPC’s in­ter- im pres­i­dent, the Com­mence­ment Com­mit­tee de­cided to can­cel its fall com­mence­ment cer­e­mony at the Clark­ston cam­pus gym­na­sium and resched­uled it for Fri­day, May 3, 2013 at the At­lanta Civic Cen­ter. The fall com­mence­ment cer­e­mony was orig­i­nally sched­uled for Dec. 14.

Watts said the col­lege has seen a steady in­crease in the num­ber of students and guests at­tend­ing both fall and spring com­mence­ment pro­grams over the past three years and they have had is­sues with seat­ing space at the Clark­ston cam­pus.

He said the Com­mence­ment Com­mit­tee rec­om­mended that the col­lege have a sin­gle com­mence­ment cer­e­mony at the At­lanta Civic Cen­ter dur­ing

the spring 2012 se­mes­ter. He said the com­mit­tee re­viewed other lo­ca­tion op­tions that would ac­com­mo­date the school’s grow­ing num­ber of students par­tic­i­pat­ing .

“Uti­liz­ing the At­lanta Civic Cen­ter will al­low the col­lege to have one com­mence­ment pro­gram that will com­fort- ably ac­com­mo­date all our students, guests, fac­ulty and staff,” he said. “In ad­di­tion, shift­ing from two com­mence­ment pro­grams to one pro­gram at the At­lanta Civic Cen­ter will save the col­lege ap­prox­i­mately $14,000.”

Some students at the GPC New­ton County cam­pus ex­pressed their dis­ap­proval of the de­ci­sion to can­cel the fall com­mence­ment cer­e­mony.

An­gela Belcher said her fam­ily has al­ready made ar­range­ments to at­tend her grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony in De­cem­ber and she was heart­bro­ken to find out the cer­e­mony was resched­uled. She sent an email to the school’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and spoke with school of­fi­cials on the phone ad­dress­ing why she was in­con­ve­nienced af­ter the change.

“I re­ally don’t ap­pre­ci­ate this change,” Belcher said. “I have chil­dren who live in San Diego and Vir­ginia that have al­ready pur­chased tick- ets for this very spe­cial day for me. I worked so hard for this day and for this to change less than three months is not a great thing for those of us who [pre­pared] for Dec. 14.”

Marissa Lat­ti­more said she did not think the change was fair for students who planned on grad­u­at­ing in De­cem­ber to re­turn back for a com­mence­ment cer­e­mony in May.

“Most peo­ple trans­fer on to an­other school and they go out of state. Who would come back to a com­mence­ment [cer­e­mony] all the way in May?” she asked. “I’ve been here for two years and [when I fin­ish] with Ge­or­gia Perime­ter, I’ll be trans­fer­ring to an­other school in Florida. For me to take a flight in May is crazy to me.”

Co­letta Carter, as­sis­tant vice pres­i­dent for stu­dent de­vel­op­ment and spe­cial pro­grams, echoed what Watts said in his email. She said the change was made be­cause the in­sti­tu­tion has faced fi­nan­cial chal­lenges but more im­por­tantly, the school was out­grow­ing their cur­rent fa­cil­ity for grad­u­a­tion.

Carter said the col­lege had to make a de­ci­sion to change the cer­e­mony in or­der to ac­com­mo­date fu­ture grad­u­a­tions.

“I don’t think the ad­min­is­tra­tion would make a move that they didn’t feel was in the best in­ter­ests for the col­lege over­all,” Carter said.

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