USF will call 4,065 names during its 75th Commencement Convocation on May 7 in the Sun Dome. More precisely, Stuart Silverman, dean of the Honors College, will be calling out the names. Silverman has presided over every USF graduation ceremony since 1988.
“I keep reading the names because I feel like I am a part of a very important moment in people’s lives,” Silverman said. “I am touched by the faces of the students as they realize their dreams of graduating.”
He didn’t originally seek out the job.
“(The dean of undergraduate studies) asked if I would be willing to read names at graduation,” Silverman said. “Not really understanding what was involved, I said, ‘Sure.'”
It is estimated that since then he has called over 70,000 names during the past 17 years.
Some of those names can be a bit harder than others.
“I try to get help with names that I don’t know how to pronounce, but often I cannot find someone who knows,” he said. “I just try to say them smoothly.”
Being at every USF commencement ceremony for the past 17 years has given Silverman a wealth of memorable moments.
He read his own daughter’s name twice, once for her bachelor’s degree and again later for her hooding ceremony (doctorate).
“President Genshaft’s first ceremony was memorable because I could see how excited she was,” he said.
Commencement memories do not always have to be inspiring or sentimental, however.
“The best was the year that I was reading and heard a commotion. When I looked up, I saw that I had just read the name of a male graduate who was dressed as a woman,” Silverman recalled. “The student was wearing a dress, high heels, wig and large flowered hat rather than their mortarboard, and the several thousand in attendance were in hysterics.”
There will be three separate ceremonies on May 7.
The first, at 9 a.m., will be for all undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences students.
At 2 p.m. there will be a ceremony for the undergraduate students in the remaining colleges.
There will be 2,951 bachelor’s degrees awarded.
At 6 p.m. there will be a ceremony for all graduate students.
There will be 1,000 master’s degrees and 114 doctorate’s and educational specialist degrees awarded.
The deadline for students wishing to register to participate in the May 7 commencement ceremonies is today at 5 p.m.