By Shelby Brown —

Graduating seniors: your name will not appear in the commencement program next month to save money. The program, a keepsake cherished by graduates and their families, costs around $12,000.

A letter delivered to the Cardinal office said, “We pay a lot to go to school here and I think it is terrible they would cut this to save money.”  The director of student success said the university is slashing the program to do just that.

Commencement programs have cost $25,000 between the spring and winter ceremonies. Joe Dablow said the university will save more than $10,000 each semester.

Dablow said a small 4-8 page guide detailing the graduation ceremony will be printed. For comparison, the May 2017 program was 68 pages.  He said he believes graduate studies and doctoral students will have a different book listing their names.

“I think there will be some unhappy people this commencement, and then hopefully there will be less and less unhappy people if the university stays with this approach,” Dablow said.

Though anticipating blowback from students and parents, Dablow said the plan is to go forward with not printing names. He said depending on how much negative feedback the office gets and from whom, the course of action might change.

In a Cardinal Twitter Poll, 73 percent of students said they wanted to see their names printed in the graduation program. Four percent said they didn’t want to see their names printed and 23 percent had no opinion.

“Every year we print hundreds of students names in there that aren’t actual graduates of the university and that’s an interesting little converse of a problem associated with the program book,” Dablow said.

Dablow said some student’s names are printed despite not having fulfilled all degree requirements.

“The concerns are it’s just a practical matter with respect to the commencement budget. The cost of doing it at the KFC Yum! Center is pretty serious, and the fiscal climate of the university is tough. Now, that said, I’m not sure that reason flies either,” he said.

The anonymous writer argued that something else could be cut to save money.

“I am not donating back (to U of L) if decisions like this are made and students are kept out of the loop,” they said.

The spring graduation is May 12 at the KFC Yum! Center.


Photo by Shelby Brown / The Louisville Cardinal