Resources for Graduation Event Professionals

7 considerations to make before selling premium seats at commencement

Is it appropriate to charge parents and spectators for “premium seating” at commencement? This has been happening for a few years, though is not yet a widespread trend. Before we dive into this topic, we first need to establish that there are two types of premium seats. The first is based on comfort, and the second is based on vantage point. One has a remarkably different stigma attached to it than the other.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Best Practices Etiquette Commencement Photography

A look inside GradImages' photographer training

This weekend, April 24th and 25th, GradImages will conclude the last of this spring's photographer training workshops, which started in late March.  This purpose of this training is to provide our photographers with hands-on recurrent instruction, discuss new policies & procedures, reinforce best-practices, and of course to share ideas.

Topics: Commencement Preparations GradImages Commencement Photography Commencement Staff

Have a staff group photograph taken before your next commencement

As an event coordinator, you and your staff spend months preparing for commencement. You work hard to ensure everything is ready for the big day, and you rely on the dedication of your staff and volunteers to make each ceremony a success. At the end of graduation day, it is just as much of an accomplishment for those who make the graduation possible as it is for the graduates themselves.

Topics: Commencement Preparations GradImages Commencement Photography Group Photographs Commencement Staff

Commencement Spotlight: Linda Bekerian at Northeastern University

Editor's Note: Linda Bekerian is the Associate Director of Academic Ceremonies at Northeastern University in Boston, and the Past President for the North American Association of Commencement Officers. She is responsible for some very impressive and complex commencement ceremonies, with graduate participation in the thousands. This article highlights Linda, her role as the University's commencement director, and how she prepares for these special events.

Also, be sure to check out Linda's article on NAACO, which can be found here.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Personal Stories

How the Procurement Process Affects Commencements

At a large and growing number of schools, procurement departments now play an important role in commencement preparations. As a graduation professional, it’s important to be familiar with the procurement process at your institution and be actively engaged when products or services needed for your ceremonies are subject to competitive bidding.

Topics: Commencement Preparations Terminology Commencement Photography Legal

Considerations for two lines of graduates at commencement

The majority of commencements across North America have graduates crossing the stage in only one direction, either right-to-left or left-to-right.  When commencement professionals talk about a ceremony having two lines, they are referring to a process by which graduates approach and cross the stage from two different directions simultaneously.  (The word "simultaneously" is important.)

Topics: Commencement Preparations Terminology Commencement Photography

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