The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Five commencement alternatives to celebrate graduating from Chatham University

Students walk toward the Athletic and Fitness Center for December 2022 commencement. Photo Credit: Chatham University

Since Chatham University announced the decision to cancel its winter commencement, students may need to find unconventional ways to celebrate graduation. December graduates can walk during the 2024 spring commencement, but until then, here are five ways to commemorate graduating this year.

Attend a graduation event 

For those School of Arts, Science & Business, and exercise science students graduating in December, the SASB December Graduate Celebration will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 4 in Mellon Board Room. Buffet-style appetizers will be served at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. A slideshow of the graduating cohort will play alongside music that was released from 2019 to 2023. Graduates are invited to bring a guest to celebrate with them. 

Falk School students can enjoy a similar celebration from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 at Eden Hall. December graduates and their guests will gather in the Esther Barazzone Center to toast with drinks, appetizers and an individual recognition of each student.

Travel for winter break 

Once graduates have finally made it clear of finals, traveling is a great way to end their time at college with a celebratory bang. Traveling doesn’t have to be an expensive overseas trip; a road trip can be a cheap, simple way to celebrate, especially if you carpool and split the price of gas. 

Graduates can take a day to go see Lake Erie, only about a two-hour drive from Pittsburgh or take the weekend to go to a nearby state. If graduates want to go all out for traveling, getting a flight to somewhere warm may be the best way to avoid the dreaded Pittsburgh winter. 

If the big city is what interests you: Washington, D.C. is about a four-hour drive, Philadelphia is a five-hour drive and New York City is around a six-hour drive.

Celebrate quietly with a dinner 

If traveling seems like a stressful way to celebrate, a nice dinner at a local restaurant can be just as special. There is no shortage of delicious restaurants to celebrate in Pittsburgh. 

Apteka in Bloomfield was named on the New York Times’ list of the best 50 restaurants in the U.S. for its vegan Polish food. Casbah in Shadyside sports an impressive wine collection to drink alongside Mediterranean food. Everyday Noodle in Squirrel Hill offers a delicious and affordable selection of Chinese dishes. For an after-dinner toast to remember, Hidden Harbor in Squirrel Hill is sure to impress with its tropical cocktails.

Make your own commencement 

A commencement ceremony doesn’t have to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Graduates can host a party to celebrate with their friends and family they know within the comfort of their own homes. Invite over a few fellow graduates, wear some decorated caps and gowns and designate someone to hand out degrees with funny fake majors or college superlatives. After walking the imaginary stage, graduates can find a nice spot to take photos and pose with their new degrees.  

Alternatively, skip the gowns and celebrate with a good old-fashioned holiday potluck. There may be no better way to end the term than eating food you didn’t have to cook. 

Skip the festivities and go straight to self-care 

Finals season, especially if it’s the last, can be a taxing time mentally, emotionally and physically. Once graduates have made it to the other side of late-night study sessions and last-minute paper writing, a moment of peace may be all that is needed. Self-care can be as indulgent as a day at the spa or as simple as a night in with a good movie and some takeout. There’s no right way to celebrate graduation. Relax, unwind, and take a deep breath. 

However students choose to mark this special occasion, Communiqué wants to extend a big congratulations to all December graduates.

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About the Contributor
Abigail Hakas
Abigail Hakas, Opinion Editor
Abigail Hakas ’25 is a Communications major with a concentration in journalism and a minor in African American Studies. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Abigail transferred to Chatham from the Community College of Allegheny County after three years of study. Abigail’s focuses are opinion pieces and informative stories on issues relating to inequity and social justice. Outside of journalism, Abigail has a passion for wrestling, video games and animals. Abigail can be reached at Abigail[email protected].

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    Beth RuzanicDec 4, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    Many of these graduates were denied a ceremony in 2020 and that makes the late announcement by Chatham even more tone deaf. This new policy should have been instituted in calendar year 2024.