When it comes to commencement ceremonies, Spokane Community College has decided that bigger is not better.
SCC usually holds one large commencement at the old Coliseum. That building is no longer available, and besides, the ceremonies had turned into three-hour marathons.
This year, several smaller ceremonies are planned on campus.
Breaking up the commencement means shorter, more intimate ceremonies, each taking about an hour.
The multiple graduations for educational divisions will be held Tuesday through Thursday at the Walter S. Johnson Sports Center.
Spokane Falls Community College will still have one big commencement June 16 in its gym.
Ironically, moving commencement on campus is a break with tradition at SCC.
Because no place was big enough, there hasn’t been a graduation on campus for at least her 18-year tenure, said Gayle Bender, program assistant.
Commencement was held at the Spokane Opera House until the event grew too large. Subsequently, ample space was found in the old Coliseum. Things were running smoothly until someone decided Spokane needed a new arena.
“It was perfect,” Bender said about housing graduations at the old Coliseum. “But it’s no longer there.”
The changes in this year’s graduation format should benefit students, Bender said.
“The only negative is that, ‘Eeww, we’re graduating in the gym,”’ Bender said.
Smaller graduations will bring more faculty and students together from the same area of academic study.
“The people the students see on a daily basis are playing a major role in their commencement,” said Shirley Hauck, dean of liberal arts.
In the past, one large commencement was tough to sit through because of the length, Hauck said. Audience members and sometimes even graduates would get impatient and leave early.
“It didn’t hold the interest of all the people who attended. Liberal arts was last to go, and by that time there weren’t as many people in the audience,” Hauck said.
Smaller ceremonies also allow for special entertainment. At the liberal arts graduation, drama instructor Ron Heiss and some of his students will perform a dramatic takeoff of the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh the Places You Will Go.”
SCC is also saving money by having commencement ceremonies on campus, which means there will be receptions following the graduations, according to Bob Frank, news bureau manager for Community Colleges of Spokane.
If the multiple graduation format works well, it could be continued at SCC and possibly be added at SFCC, Frank said.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Separate ceremonies Spokane Falls Community College will hold one big commencement for 1,200 graduates in its gymnasium June 16 at 3:30 p.m. Separate commencements are planned at Spokane Community College, all of them in the Walter S. Johnson Sports Center, followed by receptions in the Lair Student Center. The SCC schedule: Business and Hospitality Careers Division, Tuesday, 7 p.m., 222 graduates. Liberal Arts Division, Wednesday, 3 p.m., 360 graduates. Technical Education Division, Wednesday, 7 p.m., 197 graduates. Health and Environmental Sciences Division, Thursday, 3 p.m., 302 graduates. Manufacturing and Engineering Technology Division, Thursday, 7 p.m., 144 graduates.