GV winter commencement dates finalize, ease student concern


GVL / Sydney Lim

Jonathan Carroll, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University recently announced the dates, times and additional information for the winter 2023 commencement.

This announcement comes after various planning measures by the Division of Student Affairs to help determine the logistics for the event. 

Megan Wierenga, the Laker events and communications manager, said the Division of Student Affairs worked to gather information needed to select the dates and assign the college order during commencement. 

We have gone through the necessary steps to confirm data regarding number of eligible graduates for each college (at GVSU), and level of degree, as this impacts number of graduate attendees and guests as well as the length of the ceremonies,” Wierenga said.

Particular portions of the event, like the number of graduates crossing the stage and any hooding ceremonies for Doctoral candidates, were being considered during the selection process.

Wierenga said once the Division of Student Affairs went through this information the planning committee met to finalize the details of the ceremony. They then proposed which colleges would graduate on which day so the College Dean could approve the schedule. 

Some changes have come to the event over the last eight months. The 2022–23 school year is the first year in which COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted for the event. The previous commencement for the winter 2022 semester was in person, however, COVID-19 placed an Alert Level 2 on the event, requiring masks and no student procession.

Similarly, the winter 2022 event limited the guest count to 8 tickets per student, due to COVID-19, however, this year’s approach is much different. Now, students do not have a hard limit on the number of guests, but the university asks that people be mindful of others within the number of people they bring. Additionally, masks are no longer required this year.  

This year is also the first year since the pandemic began that restrictions have been lifted for the event. The fall 2022 ceremony did not require masks. 

Garrett McGuirt, a senior expecting to graduate this April, said he and his family were concerned with the lack of information the school had provided about set dates and times for the ceremonies once the semester began. Before the schedule was finalized, McGuirt was worried about how he was going to plan ahead. 

“My parents keep asking me when commencement will be because they want to be able to tell my family members when to come, but if there’s nothing on the website, then I wouldn’t know either,” McGuirt said. “I just want to know when I’m going to be done. It would also be nice to know that kind of thing if I get a job before commencement happens.”

The information and final dates are up on the commencement page where students and families can confirm the dates and times that their specific ceremony will occur. Commencement will be held on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 at the Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids.