Meet Rosa Nuñez, A&S Commencement Coordinator
As we approach the May 2012 A&S Spring Commence- ment, we thought it would be of interest to see what went into making that special moment for graduating students and their families happen. So we talked with Rosa Nuñez who has been the A&S Commencement Coordinator since Fall 2007 in addition to serving as a staff member in the A&S Advising Office.
With a recent commencement photo as her background, she indicated that it takes around 35 people to make the single session A&S Fall Commencement happen and close to 50 for the two Spring sessions. These include the Marshals for the procession and persons to help with such things as robing, lining up the degree recipients, checking their announcement cards and others to do last minute trouble shooting. She recruits all of this help each semester—much of it from the A&S Advising Office staff and a cadre of loyal faculty who enjoy serving as marshals.
Among her specific other duties are: ordering regalia for faculty and keeping track of those who have done so; arranging for sufficient seating to handle the number of students and faculty who attend (and allowing for more students than those who RSVP since many do not but still arrive to take part); turn the RSVPs into color-coded (by degree) typed announcement cards to help keep participants in the right lines and to help the announcer get the name right; to work with the Dean’s Office to be sure the script is kept current and covers any special situations such as a posthumous degree; make sure that the Commencement program includes all of those who indicated they intended to graduate as well as their listing under the correct degree program with any honors they may have earned; make sure all doctoral students who are to be hooded have a faculty member available there to hood and that the exact title of the dissertation is typed on the announcement card that the announcer will use for them.
Rosa indicated that she mostly feels rewarded and is rarely frustrated in her role as coordinator. The rewards come from seeing students she has advised over the years graduate, especially when they ask her to pose for photos with family. Her few frustrations came early in her time on the job when she was surprised by requests for extra scripts ten minutes before commencement was to begin. Now she always has extras of these and other things that might be needed. Her most interesting story was seeing the same set of parents sitting in Sweeney waiting for the second session after having seen them there for the first. She asked them about it and they said it was because their son was a double major in A&S so he wanted to walk with both programs. When she indicated that she thought that was great, the father commented that they had to come back the next day since their son had a third major in Biology and, while they were getting tired of commencing, since their son was having such a great time, they were honoring his wishes and going to all three.
During commencement week her days are long and her nights are short. But after it is over, the rewards of seeing so many students and their families so happy and proud prove to be rejuvenating and her fatigue gives way to a sense of great achievement. She is ready for the next one that will be on her in six months. And, according to Becky Bergman, Director of A&S Academic Advising (and a former Commencement Coordinator) we can expect it to go just as seamlessly and perfectly as have all that Rosa has done in the past.