New plan aims to better accommodate all students

Wilmington University has canceled Georgetown graduation ceremonies for the foreseeable future.

“It’s a decision we didn’t take lightly,” said Erin DiMarco, Wilmington University senior vice president and chief of operations. “And the number one reason is so that people can bring more family and friends.”

Despite having six campuses in Delaware and seven in New Jersey, the university has only held commencement in Georgetown and Wilmington. In hopes of better accommodating students from all campuses, the school is changing to five college-specific (i.e., business, education, arts and sciences) ceremonies in one location - the Riverfront in Wilmington.

“We are re-engineering how we do commencement in order to accommodate … seven to eight guests per student,” DiMarco said.

Georgetown students have never had to choose between family members due to a limited number of graduation tickets, because the ceremony was always outside. However, the graduation in Wilmington has been indoors. Space constraints mean students in that ceremony would get three or four guests.

Another factor was weather. Georgetown’s outdoor graduations have occasionally been canceled due to weather. Security was also a concern.

“There’s a certain level of security when you’re inside a facility,” DiMarco said.

About 35 students had already signed up for May 2020 in Georgetown. However, according to DiMarco, fewer than 20% of Georgetown attendees over the past several years were from southern Delaware and nearby Maryland.

“They were from New Castle County or New Jersey, and they were coming to Georgetown because the ceremony was held outside and not in a venue where they needed tickets,” she said.

DiMarco said that the university is considering a shuttle to Wilmington for Georgetown students.