Finally, after more than 40 years, UPLB is finally crossing over to a new dimension in its perennially perspiration-soaked or rain-soaked graduation ceremonies. At UPLB, graduation ceremonies begin at 2:00 pm and usually finish at 7-8 pm. And the graduates have to literally sweat it out under the heat of the afternoon sun, which, by the way, they have to face frontally as well.
Historically, UPLB graduates always either are soaked with their own perspiration or in a downpour. For sometime now, there has always been talk about shifting to morning ceremonies, but this has not been agreed upon. Except perhaps in the case of UP Mindanao, where the graduation ceremonies are held at dawn, graduation ceremonies at UP campuses are normally held in the afternoon or evening.
This year, the UPLB Graduation Ceremonies enters a new dimension – that of what I will call “sheltered graduation.” The entire graduation ceremonies ground, in front of the DL Umali Auditorium – which is also called the DLU Freedom Park, is covered with huge roof. This time, both the UPLB Administrators and faculty and the graduates will be sitting under the same roof.
I believe we have Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. to thank for. Previous UPLB Graduations never had the DLU Freedom Park covered with plasticized roofing material during graduation ceremonies. Previous graduates either had to literally sweat it out under the sweltering heat of an afternoon sun or be soaked in a huge downpour.
To repeat, the UPLB Administration has installed a steel-framed roof protection in this year’s graduation ceremonies. This is the beginning of a new dimension in the graduation ceremonies of the University.
Up until 1968, UPCA graduates had to join the graduation ceremonies at UP Diliman. I was a member of Class 1968, the last class to participate in the graduation ceremonies in Diliman. Then, the first graduation ceremonies at UPLB, I believe, were held in 1972 at the steps of the old Library (which, today, is the Department of Humanities). For four years there were no graduation ceremonies (those were the height of activism at UP).
In the interim, after the completion of the Centennial Field House, I have wondered why graduations have not been held in that Field House (there was one held there sometime back, if I’m not mistaken).
Back to this year’s graduation ceremonies. This is a feat to beat in next year’s graduation ceremonies. At the very least, many would expect the same, if not better, preparation for the UPLB Graduation Ceremonies next year.