Grads Ready, Stadium Not

Ontario will be home for Mt. SAC graduation once again

Graphic+by+Alinna+Boonklun%2FSAC.Media.+Photo+credit%3A+Joshua+Sanchez%2FSAC.Media.

Graphic by Alinna Boonklun/SAC.Media. Photo credit: Joshua Sanchez/SAC.Media.

For the third year in a row, students will not be able to graduate at Mt. SAC’s Hilmer Lodge Stadium. Graduates and loved ones will have to take the trip to the Ontario Citizens Bank Arena on Father’s Day for the 2019 graduation ceremony because the stadium has not been completed.

For those attending, commencement starts at 11 a.m. at the arena on June 16. At 9 a.m. parking lots open, graduates are to arrive by 9:30 a.m. and the arena doors open at 10 a.m.

Students must also file an application for graduation with the Admissions and Records Office by May 10 to be on the commencement program, which is the same process regardless of where the ceremony takes place.

The Hilmer Lodge Stadium was originally supposed to be completed by 2017, four years after the project was first proposed. It is now set to be finished by the end of 2019, and that has upset many who are graduating in the spring semester.

Jose Garcia will be graduating as a fashion merchandise and business economics major. He considers himself a proud Mountie and said he believes there is something nostalgic about graduating on campus.

“I wouldn’t even care if it’s in a parking lot,” Garcia said in regards to graduation.

However, he is not going to have the chance to experience that since this year’s graduation will be held off campus.

Garcia has spent the past three years at Mt. SAC, and said he is not too crazy about the fact that he will not get to reminisce about the memories he has made on campus with an offsite graduation. He added that graduation would not feel the same for him.

To some, having graduation off campus might not be a big deal, but for others making the drive all the way to Ontario on Father’s Day is an inconvenience.

Political science major, Sabrina Mendoza said the drive to Ontario is inconvenient for many.

“It’s more convenient to be here [Mt. SAC] and graduate here, than it is to go to another stadium,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza further described the entire situation as problematic for her and her family.

“It’s Father’s Day, first of all, and it’s a Sunday; people have work the next day. You won’t be able to have a big celebration afterwards,” Mendoza said.

Albert Serna, class of 2017, was in the first batch of students who had to have their graduation off campus. In his eyes, it felt pretty sad and cheap compared to a previous graduation he attended at Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

“It just felt empty,” Serna said.

One reason why the arena may have felt empty to Serna is because faculty do not have to attend the commencement ceremony.

Since the off campus graduation takes place on a Sunday, which is not a faculty work day, faculty are not required by contract to be there.

When the ceremonies were held at Hilmer Lodge, they would always be scheduled on a Friday, which is a faculty work day, and therefore faculty were required to be there.

“The existing contract recognizes that graduation has been on Fridays, which is a faculty work day by the Faculty Union Agreement. Because we couldn’t find a location for graduation on a Friday, only a weekend… It’s not a faculty work day,” Scroggins said.

Once the stadium is complete, Scroggins said that faculty will once again be required to attend the graduation ceremony.

In regards to the push back of the completion dates, Scroggins said that the stadium will be completed by the end of 2019 and that the school has the approval to finish the project.

The prior delays were caused by a previous lawsuit Mt. SAC faced from United Walnut Taxpayers, which pushed back the completion date of the stadium. It has since been settled.

“We have now settled the lawsuit with the United Walnut Taxpayers… Now we’re engaging with the city for the final document,” Scroggins said.

The school has also secured the rest of the funding needed to complete the stadium with $25 million of Measure GO being used in the project, according to Scroggins.

The class of 2020 is currently planned to be the first class to graduate in the brand new stadium Scroggins added.

Graduations held at Mt. SAC’s stadium were something to see, according to Serna.

“It was more buzzing. There was more life. I felt like there was more energy. People were more excited. It was something to see. It was definitely an experience,” Serna said.

There will not be a rehearsal for this commencement, and the Mt. SAC website has more information about this year’s commencement.