President Pelton sent the following letter to the Emerson community on July 23, 2012, announcing significant changes in the College's commencement ceremonies, beginning with the 2013 ceremony.
Dear Emerson faculty, students, staff, and parents,
Commencement Day is one of the most joyous events during the Emerson College academic year. The entire community gathers to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the College’s graduating seniors and graduate students and to wish them well in their future endeavors as they join the ranks of our accomplished alumni. As one door closes, another opens.
For many years, Emerson has held its Commencement exercises on the second Monday in May at the Citi Center for the Performing Arts (formerly known as the Wang Center) with receptions that follow on the Boston Common.
The Citi Center’s seating capacity limited each graduating senior to just three tickets, forcing many friends and loved ones to watch the ceremony via closed circuit television in our nearby Cutler Majestic Theatre.
The receptions on the Boston Common were at the mercy of New England’s weather, which in early May frequently meant rain or cold temperatures, or both.
Finally, because the event has been held on a Monday, parents and friends wishing to attend Commencement had to take one or more days off from work, which in some cases represented a hardship.
For all of these reasons, we have decided to change the date, venue, and timing of future Emerson College Commencement exercises.
Beginning this year, Commencement will take place on the second Sunday in May at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in the seaport district. This new venue will enable graduates to receive at least six tickets each and allows the receptions to take place indoors. The weekend date will be more convenient for most working parents and family members.
Since Mother’s Day frequently falls on the second Sunday in May, we are starting each ceremony one hour earlier so that families will have ample time in the afternoon and evening to mark that holiday as well. The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 10 am and the graduate ceremony will take place at 2 pm.
Therefore, Commencement will be on Sunday, May 12, 2013.
These changes will undoubtedly result in adjustments to other traditions that happen in the days leading up to Commencement, details for which are still being worked out.
Literally dozens of Emerson staff are involved in helping to process the grades, finalize the graduation requirements, and organize the events we know as Commencement. I wish to recognize and thank them, on behalf of all of us at Emerson, for the tremendous work they do that makes Commencement such a success each year.