The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Kobler wants diplomas put back in graduation ceremony

For many students, the prospect of not receiving their diplomas is like going into a birthday party with no cake, according to Student Body Vice President Patrick Kobler.

A new piece of legislation introduced at Tuesday’s Senate meeting aims to bring diplomas back to the May graduation ceremonies in Dedman College.

The Provost’s office made the decision to stop handing out a student’s actual diploma after a change in the academic calendar limited the time for the Registrar’s office to clear students for graduation. Under the new decision, students will receive a blank diploma placeholder at the ceremony and their actual diploma in the mail.

Kobler, the resolution author, has been opposed to the decision and has been trying to speak with the different offices. Kobler said he thought the issue was something that could be solved by talking, but he finally decided a resolution was necessary to get diplomas back in graduation ceremonies.

Senators will vote on the resolution next Tuesday.

Kobler wrote the current resolution specifically for Dedman College, but hopes diplomas can be brought back to every school’s ceremony. Kobler chose Dedman because it was the only college to have diploma ceremonies, where professors honor students by handing them their diplomas.

These ceremonies have been taking place for more than three decades and exemplify the student-professor relationship, according to Kobler, who described it as a “tradition.”

In addition to tradition, Kobler cited five more reasons why he thinks diplomas should be reinstated:

• Under the Provost’s office decision, Latin honors will be loosely based on a student’s four-year record because, as Kobler’s bill says, “without diplomas done by graduation, a student’s Latin honors will have to be estimated.”

• Faculty of Dedman College passed a motion at their Dec. 5 meeting for diplomas to be continue to be offered at May graduation and that Latin honors continue to be based on a student’s complete undergraduate record. There was only one nay and one abstention.

• Although the change in the academic calendar shortens the time for the Registrar’s office to prepare final grades, Kobler notes that there are still four days between the last final exam and graduation. He said this gives professors two days to submit grades and the Registrar’s office two days to compile grades. Furthermore, the faculty of Dedman College has said they would be willing to turn in senior grades first, ensuring that the diplomas can be readied by the graduation ceremony.

• Continued practice of the tradition of handing out diplomas would aid in SMU’s quest to become a school of high academic accreditation.

• Students pay approximately $200,000 over the course of four years to attend SMU; because of this, Kobler feels students are “more than deserving” of having diplomas at graduation.

But while Kobler cites these six reasons, officials at SMU have argued that graduation ceremonies – those in December and August – have never included diplomas. In a Dec. 5 story by The Daily Campus, Associate Provost Tom Tunks stated there have also been May graduations where students had their diplomas mailed to them after individual students could not be cleared in time.

Kobler said this was the only issue he’s ever heard of where every student he’s talked with has agreed with him.

“Getting that diploma as you walk across the stage… that means something,” he said.

More to Discover