Each year in February the questions from a variety of parents pick up. The senior parents are looking toward graduation and commissioning. I’ve added a few notes about the end of the year below.
Keep an eye out for the updated graduation schedule. I checked this morning and the 2016 schedule of events is still posted. You can use that schedule as a guideline for this year but watch for updates. A few general notes:
- Tickets are limited. For the past several years each cadet gets 8 tickets. They can put their name in a lottery for extras but that is not guaranteed. Sometimes they can get a few from classmates who won’t use their allotment.
- Since tickets are limited to graduation some families rent a house and have the graduation live stream connected to a large screen TV for the guests who can’t be at the event.
- It is traditional to send out announcements for college graduation. Again traditionally announcements are sent to anyone who would want to know about this big life event. They are sent out the week of or after graduation. The recipient is not obligated to send a gift when they receive an announcement. It is a good time to announce the commissioning of a graduate who is entering the armed forces. You can also put a card with the new contact information for the graduate since they will no longer use the school’s address to receive mail. These small cards are referred to as “at home” cards to indicate the graduate will be at their new home after a certain date. The tradition of an at home card is an old one and has changed over time as to the meaning. You can read the history here.
- Many families use the online announcement company Signature. They are nice quality, but a better price than what Balfour offers.
- Commissioning services happen the Friday before graduation. Be in touch with your senior for the updated details on the ceremony. It is traditional for the newly commissioned second lieutenant to give the person who renders their first salute a silver dollar. You can usually find them online.
- For those commissioning they will have to order and pay for their dress uniform. That process is usually started by now. The expense surprises many parents.
- The seniors have to be out of the barracks by Thursday night of graduation week, unless they’ve requested and received an exception. Be sure you plan for this when making your accommodation reservations.
- Many families give their graduate a Lifetime Membership to the Citadel Alumni Association as a graduation gift. There is a special luncheon for the new Lifetime members during graduation week.
- Like most big weekends, graduation weekend is a time of great activity. Dress for the weather and for comfort in walking. If the weather is warm many ladies wear light dresses for the commissioning service and long gray line parade. The gentleman wear jacket and tie for the commissioning and more casual attire for the afternoon parade. For graduation, business attire is appropriate, a dress or nice slacks for the ladies and jacket and tie for the gentleman.
- Saturday morning arrive at the field house for graduation early to find a seat. In 2011 we were given assigned seats. The past several years it is open seating. Saving seats is discouraged. If you have young children attending, bring quiet distractions for them like coloring books and light snacks. The ceremony lasts about 3 – 3 1/2 hours. I played The Citadel version of “Where’s Waldo” with my daughter who was in 6th grade at the time her brother graduated. We had a list of my son’s friends and she tried to find them as they sat waiting for their name to be called.
- Have a plan of where you are to meet after the ceremony. Some families meet on the floor of the field house some meet outside the building. It is helpful to have a plan ahead of time.
Previous posts about graduation: