3/18/99 Roy Summerford (


AUBURN -- Starting next fall quarter, Auburn University will move its commencement ceremonies to Saturdays from the Fridays and Mondays of recent years.

"The main reason for the change was to make it easier for parents to attend," said management Professor Chetan Sankar, former chair of the University Senate's Calendar Committee.

"There was a lot of discussion about parents not being able to attend when graduation ceremonies are during the week under the old practice," said Sankar. "This could enable more parents to attend."

The change, which has been pending for two years, will be reflected in the university calendar for 1999-2000 in the AU Bulletin in June. AU will have graduation on Mondays for the summer graduations in 1999 and 2000 and Saturdays for the quarters in between.

Auburn will reduce its commencement ceremonies to only two per year -- spring and fall -- when the university shifts to the semester system in fall 2000.

Although Saturday graduations are standard for institutions on the semester system, Sankar said the switch to semesters was not a major factor when the panel decided in 1997 to include Saturday graduations in upcoming calendars.

Electrical engineering Professor Sidney James, chair of the University Graduation Committee, said the change to Saturday graduations will present few logistical problems, since the university frequently holds Saturday events. One advantage, James noted, will be more available parking on the weekends.

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