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News Clips 01/25/2013
Local USF Students to Plan Separate Graduation Event in Lakeland
Source: Lakeland Ledger, 01/23/13
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By Mary Toothman
A group of local University of South Florida students has agreed to create a proposal to present to USF President Judy Genshaft outlining their hopes for local graduation celebrations.
The group met Wednesday afternoon with Kathleen Moore, the USF vice president for academic affairs and education outreach. Moore is overseeing the local teach-out. The 2013 USF Lakeland Celebration Club gathered names on a petition asking that the class of 2013 be allowed to graduate in Lakeland. They arranged to meet with Moore about their wishes.
Moore said a compromise solution is on the table now. "I think it went well," she said after the meeting. "We basically agreed that the best way for the students to proceed is with a proposal for a celebration event to be held in Lakeland."
The graduation process changed when USF Polytechnic was dissolved by Legislation last year. A new school, Florida Polytechnic University, is under construction and the Lakeland USF operation is being phased out.
The changes meant the most recent graduating class of USF Lakeland students went to Tampa for their ceremony. The group of students slated to graduate next had hoped to move the event.
"USF Lakeland students attend school in Lakeland so they want to graduate in Lakeland," their petition says. "USF Lakeland students want to graduate with their cohorts and Lakeland student families."
Moore said she understands the desire and agrees with them that a local event is in order. While the way the USF system is set up now makes it necessary for their formal ceremony to be held in Tampa, it is possible for them to organize a celebration in Lakeland, she said.
Students talked of asking a faculty member and student to speak at their event. Having a local event would make it possible for more family members and friends to attend.
They hope to set up a system that will allow Lakeland students who graduate after them to also hold local celebra-tions.
The teach-out could continue through the summer of 2015, Moore said.
On the club's Facebook page, some students expressed disappointment that they cannot hold a formal graduation ceremony in Lakeland. But they also seemed enthusiastic about planning their own celebration.
The students intend to pay for their event with student government funds.