Commencement Preview

Thanks primarily to the dedication of over 50 faculty and staff volunteers, the creativity of NOVA’s Marketing Department and the hard work of Geri Dolan, Mark Ecelo and Lisa Riggleman-Gross, the various pieces that make-up NOVA’s annual Commencement are once again coming together. Mark and Lisa stepped up to assume overall responsibility for leading our volunteers. Mark is a data specialist with the Office of Dual Enrollment and Lisa is an assistant professor of sociology at NOVA’s Woodbridge Campus.

Approximately 7,200 graduates are eligible to participate in commencement every year. Of this number, only 17 to 20 percent actually do. While this number is comparatively small, each graduate is accompanied by an average of slightly more than six guests. Based on that fact, it is understandable how the NOVA family can come close to filling a 10,000 seat amphitheater (Jiffy Lube Live’s covered seating capacity). The only other “covered” venue in our region that can accommodate a unified Spring/Fall NOVA Commencement without restrictions on the number of guests is Capital One Arena. Interestingly, that venue is not available for rental until mid-June (to give the Wizards time to win the NBA Championship and the Capitols an opportunity to skate to the Stanley Cup – we wish!).

We actively encourage staff and faculty to attend commencement every year. In reaching out to his fellow faculty members at the Alexandria Campus, Dr. Jimmie McClellan recently wrote:

Anyone who has attended NOVA’s Commencement knows how special the day is for our students. To see the students decked out in cap and gown, excitedly marching into the venue after two years or more of work, often at great sacrifice of time and money — to see the pride of their parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts when it’s the first member of their family to attend college and walk across the stage, is to realize that it is a great moment. They want us to be there. They look around to see if those of us who have helped them reach this moment are there to celebrate their achievement. We have been there every step of the way since they enrolled at NOVA. Our job is not over until they are handed the diploma. Finish the job.

This is exactly what many dedicated faculty members, staff and volunteers will be doing on Saturday, May 12. We will be honored to be there and finish the job for our students; NOVA’s 52nd graduating class!

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