Resources for Graduation Event Professionals

An Overview of the North American Association of Commencement Officers

Mandated with putting on the highest profile events of the year for our institutions, commencement coordinators or directors of academic ceremonies must face considerable challenges: meeting the needs of many stakeholders, and the even greater challenge of ensuring that each ceremony is one that will appropriately celebrate our graduates and the work they have done to achieve this level of academic success.  It is our goal that graduates, parents, family and friends and the university community leave the ceremony with a positive and lasting impression of this occasion and of the university. I have found that the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO) has proven to be my greatest resource towards meeting this goal.

Topics: Best Practices

Avoid background distractions in commencement handshake photographs

As a commencement coordinator, you know that stage layout at your ceremony is normally planned well in advance. In fact, at most institutions, how elements are arranged on the ceremony stage rarely changes from year to year. As such, there is more than enough time to consider one important element of stage layout that is often ignored: the background behind your graduates’ handshake photographs.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices Commencement Photography

How the Univ. of South Florida handled selfie pictures at commencement

The University of South Florida in Tampa recently made headlines by prohibiting graduates from taking “selfie” pictures while being individually recognized on stage during commencement. Making a similar announcement was Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Both institutions are valued clients of GradImages, so this story certainly caught our attention.

Selfie picture taken at graduationCommencement policies are generally not newsworthy. However, this made national headlines because it highlights a shifting sense of appropriateness among a generation who grew up with mobile technology. For a dignified event like commencement, administrators are frustrated because common etiquette and well-established behavioral norms now seem to evade a growing number of individuals to the point where a directive like this has become necessary.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices Etiquette GradImages Commencement Photography

How FERPA permits schools to release directory information

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is U.S. federal law that provides guidelines to the rights and privacy of students’ and their education records. It defines what information a school may or may not release of its current or former students. Additionally, it outlines parental rights for students under the age of 18 attending non-postsecondary institutions. The law applies to all schools receiving funds under applicable U.S. Department of Education programs, which includes the majority of schools in the United States.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices Legal

Why your graduates' addresses are important

Postal mail, email, and text message are all ways GradImages can provide graduates with access to their proofs from commencement and student portrait events. However, without the ability to acquire address information, proofs cannot be delivered. Consequently, without the ability to deliver proofs, the vast majority of graduates and their families will never see their images from these special events.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices GradImages Commencement Photography

4 common security procedures for larger commencement ceremonies

With a post-9/11 mindset and, more recently, events like the Boston Marathon bombing, many schools and universities are taking commencement security very seriously.  This is particularly true with ceremonies at large venues.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices

When tassels should be turned at commencement

At commencement, tassels are traditionally worn on the right side of the cap and then moved to the left once graduates receive their diplomas.  Some institutions ask graduates turn their tassels in unison, while others permit graduates to turn their tassels individually.  However, there's another factor to consider.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices Commencement Photography

Why a handshake photographer's position really matters at commencement

In three previous articles, we have discussed the best position for a photographer while taking handshake pictures of graduates being individually recognized on stage.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices GradImages Commencement Photography

The best angle for a handshake photographer at commencement

What is the best angle for a photographer to stand in order to capture great handshake photographs at commencement?  Although the answer is somewhat subjective, years of purchasing data suggest one angle in particular is overwhelmingly favored by graduates and their families.  That is what we will discuss today.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices Commencement Photography

3 reasons why commencement handshake photographers should be on-stage

At commencement ceremonies, there are a number of factors that go into trying to capture the best possible handshake photographs.  In an earlier article, we wrote about the appropriate distance between the graduate and photographer (click here to read the full article).  Today, we will examine whether the photographer should ideally be standing on the elevated stage with the graduate and administrator for the handshake photograph, or should be several feet lower down on the ceremony floor.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices Commencement Photography