The Fight For Graduation

By Hunter Epperson, Em Maxey, William Masselli

Students and alumni at the University of Lynchburg are petitioning to keep graduation on the Dell instead of Shellenberger Field, where it was held in spring 2021. 

Senior Grace Ball, an international relations major, is leading a petition to move graduation from Shellenberger Field to the Dell. 

Ball said, “The petition, ‘Keep the University of Lynchburg’s Graduation on The Dell’ was made to express the student body’s desire to keep the graduation ceremony on the beloved Dell. We created a petition to unify our voices and present our anger and sadness at the change of venue.” 

The petition, as of Monday, Sept. 13, had 250 signatures. 

“The goal of the petition is to keep the University of Lynchburg’s graduation on the Dell. When we toured this university, we were told the Dell is where we graduate and the significance of this walk. By moving the graduation without consulting the student body, they are erasing our history, tradition, and love of the university,” said Ball. 

According to Lindsey Ferreira, a senior education major, the petition was created two weeks ago.

Ball said, “The University of Lynchburg has decided, without consulting the student body, to hold the BA and BS Undergraduate Commencement ceremony for 2022 on Shellenberger instead of the Dell. This change of venue could affect all future graduating classes as well. This decision is blatant disrespect to the students that have worked hard for the past four years to graduate from this university.”

Ferreira and Ball argued that the path from Snidow Chapel through the Friendship Circle to Hopwood is a tradition the founder Josephus Hopwood formed to show the connection between faith and education.

Ball has met with Matthew Gillett, the student body president. According to Ball, Gillett has expressed support for the petition. 

“In the coming month, Matthew Gillett is organizing a town hall to allow an open conversation to happen between the senior class and President Alison, Micheal Jones, and the commencement ceremony committee,” said Ball. 

There is no deadline for the petition. University of Lynchburg students can sign the petition on Change.org. To sign the petition, visit Change.org.  

Sources

Grace Ball ball_go@lynchburg.edu

Lindsey Ferreira ferreira_le@lynchburg.edu

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