by Enrique Gutiérrez
On May 28 there will be about 200 undergraduate students walking into Ortmayer Stadium to participate in the commencement. However, six of them will not be graduating.
They are the Graduation Marshals, one of the most important element of commencement which few know about.
Grad Marshals lead graduating seniors into the stadium, they hand over the diploma cases, among other duties. “Basically what they do is to provide order,” said Ruby Montaño-Cordova, associate dean of student life.
This year’s Grad Marshals will be sophomore Trisha Garcia, and juniors Norma Cruz, Mario Guerrero, Shellie Etheridge, Maria Muñoz and Katie Stanton.
Although any student may apply for the position, potential Grad Marshals need to be leaders, good community members, and academically strong, said Montaño-Cordova.
“They should be able to direct people around, be firm, take the lead,” she said.
Many of these students show their leadership in their extracurricular activities.
“I just thought it was an opportunity for me to continue to be involved with the university,” said Muñoz. “I thought it would be pretty cool to participate in graduation ceremony before I graduate.”
“It is not a paid position, it is a volunteer position,” said Montaño-Cordova. “They are people who are used and willing to help.”
In addition to that, the associate dean said that Grad Marshals give up valuable time during both finals week and Memorial Day weekend.
“I think people are too busy and not many people know about it [the position],” said Garcia. “The people who have applied for the position, they are involved in school, they are in like ASF, sororities or fraternities.”
Montaño-Cordova said that another characteristic Grad Marshals have in common is “a sense of serving La Verne.”
“One more extra weekend is not going to be the end of the world,” said Etheridge. “I’ve never been to graduation so I thought this would give me some insight in to what to expect when I graduate so I figured, why not apply?”
The Grad Marshals see action in both commencement ceremonies, the undergraduate and the graduate ceremonies.
“Graduation is the most important event of the year,” said Montaño-Cordova. “It is like a common goal to work towards so it is exciting to partake in the event that culminates that goal.”
“You get to meet new people. You get recognized among faculty and staff,” Garcia said.
But most importantly, they said, the gratification they get is to see their graduating friends achieve such an important goal.
“Last year I attended graduation just to see my friends,” said Muñoz, “and it was such an incredible feeling of pride.”
“A lot of my friends are graduating and if anything I’m doing it for them,” Garcia said. “I thought it would be an awesome experience to participate in the farewell ceremony for them and to be able to share that with them.’
“I’m nervous about how my graduation is going to go, the Grad Marshals kind of make everything run smoothly,” Etheridge said. “So I was hoping that I could help my seniors by make it a little easier on them, make it really exciting.”