On May 1, more than 1,300 FGCU seniors will walk across a stage in Alico Arena and shake President Wilson Bradshaw’s hand. Between now and May 1, there are several important dates students need to be aware of.
Of the 1,652 seniors who applied for graduation, 1,325 signed up to attend the commencement ceremony, according to university registrar Susan Byars. That is 161 more students than applied for graduation in spring 2015.
Byars’ main piece of advice for graduating seniors is to hand in their service-learning hours on time, by Friday, April 15.
“That seems to be something they tend to procrastinate,” Byars said.
Other important dates include ticket pick-ups, at Alico Arena between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. every weekday between April 4 and 29 and cap and gown distribution at the FGCU Bookstore between April 18 and 30. Students can order their caps and gowns online at collegegrad.herffjones.com.
The FGCU Alumni Association is planning several events for graduating seniors.
The first will be Grad Fair, held from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 24 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 25 in the FGCU Bookstore.
Director of Alumni Relations Kim Wallace said Grad Fair is a “one-stop shop” for graduation needs.
Wallace said students who visit Grad Fair will be able to order caps, gowns, class rings, diploma frames and brick pavers. The Registrar’s Office will have a table at the event to walk students through important deadlines.
At 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, the Student Alumni Association is planning to host a cap decoration party in the Cohen Center, room 214.
“We will literally have everything you need to decorate your cap,” Wallace said.
The final event the association has planned for graduating seniors is Grad Bash, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28 at Bar Louie.
While all of the events are free, Wallace said students should RSVP to Grad Bash, because the association will order food based on the number of RSVPs it receives.
Wallace said students should plan to stay connected with the Alumni Association, which has 10 chapters in the U.S. and provides social activities and professional opportunities to graduates.
“No matter where they live now, they can find other Eagles,” Wallace said.
Byars, who has been a member of the 24-person Commencement Committee for several years, has not yet been told who the commencement speaker will be.
Some of Byars’ favorite speakers have been Dean of Students Michele Yovanovich and Mei-Mei Chan Kirk, the fall 2015 speaker and former president of the Fort Myers News-Press.
Although Byars does recommend that students wear comfortable shoes to the graduation ceremony, she is always impressed by students who wear high heels to the event.
“The young ladies, I don’t know how they stand in long lines in those heels, but they do,” Byars said.
Her advice to students is to meet all deadlines and enjoy graduation.
“Get everything in early and have a great time,” Byars said. “It’s their day.”