With the growth of Fairfield University as a comprehensive institution of higher education and the subsequent increase in the number of graduate programs and students, efforts are underway to find ways to acknowledge this important dimension of Fairfield's mission appropriately. Increasing the visibility of our graduate programs, as well as the talented faculty and students associated with them, is among those initiatives.
Indeed, our strategic vision has as one of its goals the Integration of Jesuit Values in Graduate and Professional Education. The initiatives we have developed as part of the implementation process have called for us to build a stronger graduate student community, broaden the reach of our graduate education in the region, and enhance the external visibility and presence of the graduate programs.
Considering this, and following a recommendation by the University's Commencement Committee, the University will enhance its commencement celebrations this year by holding a separate ceremony for graduate students. The undergraduate ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 17, followed by commencement exercises for our graduate programs at 3 p.m., also on Sunday, May 17.
As there are a number of celebratory events during senior week for our undergraduate students, there will be the opportunity of graduate students to engage with faculty and their classmates during special school-based receptions. Further details and implementation information about the change will be announced in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, it's appropriate to acknowledge that this additional ceremony confirms the success Fairfield University has experienced in recent years in achieving our strategic goals, and is a tribute to all the work that we have done as we continue to meet the graduate education needs of our region.
Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J.