After a student has finally achieved one of their greatest accomplishments, graduating college, they may wonder if their professors will attend their graduation. In many cases, they have formed a bond with their professors and will want to share this momentous occasion with them.
Whether or not a professor attends a graduation is a question that pops into many people’s minds as they are awaiting their big day.
Do Professors Go to Graduation
Many professors do attend graduation ceremonies. They are almost always invited, although there may be times when they are unable to attend due to other commitments, illness, or because they prefer to not be in such large crowds. Many professors enjoy seeing the culmination of their students’ hard work.
Who Attends College Graduation Ceremonies?
A college or university graduation ceremony, also called a convocation, is usually attended by the graduating students, their close friends and family, the university president and provost, and many of the university’s faculty including many of its professors.
Although professors are not necessarily required to attend, many institutions and leaders in education strongly encourage professors and all faculty to attend graduation ceremonies.
Typically, professors are much more likely to attend the graduation ceremonies for their own department, and much less likely to attend graduation ceremonies of other departments.
Attending the graduation ceremony shows continued support and belief in the graduating students, and is also an important reminder to everyone attending of the important role that professors and faculty play in a student’s success.
If lecturers or adjunct faculty have time, they may usually attend a college or university graduation, as well, as they would be happy to support the success of the students they have taught, too.
How Do You Thank a Professor for Graduation?
If you are one of the few students who are asked to give a speech at graduation, it would be appropriate and appreciated if you included in your speech a heartfelt thank you to your professors.
Most students do not give a speech at the graduation, however, so there are other ways to thank your professors for all of the help, instruction, and guidance they provided on your path to graduation.
If you see them in the audience you could smile and wave at them as you accept your diploma from the stage.
It would be very thoughtful to send your professor a handwritten thank you note to thank them for their time, expertise, support, and anything else that you wish to thank them for.
Another alternative would be to send a nicely worded email to express your sentiment.
You could also thank your professor in person if you have an appropriate time to see them, for example at a final class or office hours.
Why Do Some Professors Not Attend Graduation?
Some people have noticed that there are, unfortunately, many professors who choose not to attend their school’s graduation ceremonies. There are many reasons that these professors give for deciding not to attend the ceremony.
Many feel that they already work hard during the school year and especially around the time of graduation, which is when they are also often very busy grading finals and calculating final grades. They feel they either don’t have the time, or don’t want to “work” without getting paid, as attending graduation ceremonies is not directly paid work.
Some decline to attend because they don’t want to spend more time with university administrators who they might not get along with. Others feel like not enough students care to attend, so they feel like they shouldn’t “bother” either.
There are also some who just don’t like large crowds, and are uncomfortable being around so many people at one time.
Why Should Professors Attend Graduation?
There are many important reasons for professors to attend graduations, especially for their departments.
Sometimes professors are expected to attend either because it is written into their contracts, or if they have a graduate student who they are expected to “hood,” such as when a dissertation advisor’s student successfully completes their doctoral program.
The students have worked so hard to reach their graduation ceremony, and many of them are rightfully very proud to have earned such a large accomplishment. There may be many students who have had to overcome huge obstacles to reach this point, and/or whose families have made great sacrifices in order for them to be able to attend and succeed in college.
The students who reach this point are usually extremely grateful to their professors and have formed a warm and appreciative bond with them. They and their families often want to express this heartfelt gratitude to their professors, and are confused and disappointed if the professor is nowhere to be found.
Professors Attending Graduation – a Day of Reflection and Gratitude
It is a treasured tradition and rite of passage for students and their families to be able to shake the hands of the professors who have guided them through this challenging journey, and who helped lay the groundwork for the students’ future and success as an adult.
As Professor Fox from the University of Calgary wrote, when professors attend graduation ceremonies, it reminds both the professor and those attending of the awesomeness of universities being institutions that are greater than any one person, and how they make the world a better place because of this.
Attending their students’ graduation ceremony should be a welcome day of gratitude and reflection for professors. It’s a time to share in the process of higher education and the traditions of their university, as well as in the hope, excitement, and pride of the hard-won accomplishment of their students and their students’ families.
Do Professors Attend Graduations
Professors are typically invited to graduations, though they may not attend if they are sick, have other commitments, or if they are uncomfortable in large crowds. Many professors take immense joy in seeing the result of their students’ hard work and try to go to as many graduations as possible.