UAF scrambles to ready for rare graduation

The following article is parody. It is not intended to be taken seriously.

Andrew Sheeler / Fun Star
April 1, 2011

Picture: last known student to graduate from UAF. Date unknown.

The UAF Office of the Registrar is working overtime ahead of an event nobody could possibly have anticipated: students graduating. With the May 15 commencement just a handful of weeks away, staff members are feeling the crunch and trying to figure out what to do about this predicament.

“Maybe it’s a joke. Like just a sick, sick joke. It could be a joke, right?” said Linda Hammond, UAF Graduation Coordinator. Hammond’s desk was covered in loose papers and empty bottles of Pepto Bismol. Neither Hammond nor her coworkers could remember the last time such an event happened. “Maybe it was in ’96? Or was it ’86? Or was that when we thought about what it would be like for a student to graduate?” Hammond said. Hammond wasn’t alone in her despair.

In his attic, Chancellor Brian Rogers frantically searched through boxes trying to find his formal cap and gown. He smiled when he found a box labeled “In the event of graduation, please open,” but quickly frowned when he removed the moth-eaten gown stowed inside. “Crap,” Rogers said. “I wonder if [former Chancellor] Jones has a spare he can ship up?”

With UAF’s graduation rates so low, the university has forgotten what to do if it were to happen. When reports first came to University of Alaska President Patrick Gamble of possible student graduation, he held an emergency, closed-door meeting. The meeting was confidential, but UA Statewide spokeswoman Helen Barclay said that Gamble “had planned for this eventuality, however unlikely it might be.”  She added that she thought they could rent a pavilion at Pioneer Park, or maybe Chena Lakes, for the event. Barring that, Barclay said she was “pretty sure” they could just use Schaible Auditorium for the event. “I mean really, how many people are going to graduate anyway?” Barclay said.

Even as UAF struggles to find a venue for graduation, the question of who will be the keynote speaker must be resolved. According to Barclay, administrative assistants had to explain to President Gamble that no, he couldn’t also be the keynote speaker, no matter how many stars he earned as a general. Cindy Beckett, UAF public information officer, said that the university was reaching out to a variety of people.

“There’s [Borough Mayor Luke] Hopkins,” Beckett said, although a quick phone call revealed that Hopkins had a prior obligation that day. Beckett went on to say, “Maybe we can rent a party clown and just dress him up.” She then flipped through the phone book for the number of Party Palace.

As stunned as the idea of graduation has left the university administrators, it has had an even more stupefying effect on the students and faculty.

“I don’t understand,” said Abraham Felch, a history professor, “I failed as many as I could. I gave them an incomprehensible syllabus and even changed my office hours twice to further confuse them! How could something like this happen?”

“It isn’t right,” said Jack Zandy, a journalism professor. “We do our best to make graduating difficult. We switch up required courses, attach oral- and written-intensive requirements to the most ludicrous classes and students disrespect us in turn by graduating anyway. This university used to mean something.”

When asked what he thought about the prospect of graduating, senior Mike Header said, “So you mean, we actually get something to show for all these loans? You’re kidding me, right?”

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