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Behind the Scenes at Dickinson State University's Commencement Ceremony

Updated: May 17

Dickinson State University's commencement day is the culmination of months of meticulous planning. With a spring 2024 graduating class of 225 students, the atmosphere is intimate, yet the preparation is just as intensive as it would be for a larger institution.

Commencement day begins early. By 7 a.m., the campus is buzzing with activity. Volunteers and staff are scattered throughout the venue, ensuring every detail is in place for the ceremony.

Spring commencement takes place in Scott Gym, transformed for the day from a basketball venue into a celebratory ground with chairs, curtains, signage, and stages meticulously arranged by the DSU facilities-operations team.

Kathy Meyer, registrar and director of academic records, has been orchestrating the campus's graduation ceremonies for 12 years. For her, it's not just about managing a ceremony but creating a memorable experience for each graduate. The planning starts nearly a year in advance, with the coordination of volunteers, the arrangement of the physical space, and the handling of countless unforeseen details.

The morning of commencement is a whirlwind of activity. Faculty and students line up half an hour prior to the 10:00 a.m. ceremony—robes are adjusted, and tassels are carefully put in place. For the students, tassels are on the right of the mortarboard prior to President Easton’s declaration to move them to the left, signifying that they have become university graduates.

Dickinson State University's graduation is steeped in tradition. The ceremony is both a formal and a celebratory event that highlights academic achievements and personal growth. It's an occasion that brings together proud family members and friends to watch their graduates embark on a new chapter.

As the ceremony unfolds, the Office of Academic Records remains vigilant, ensuring that everything from the processional, to the correct pronunciation of first, middle, and surnames, to the conferring of degrees goes as planned.

The DSU staff pour their hearts into the commencement ceremony, aiming to create lasting memories for graduates and their families.

By: Dr. Debora Dragseth Baker Boy Professor of Leadership | School of Business and Entrepreneurship

Dickinson State University

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