Commencement reconnects alums with campus and graduates

By Sedonia Martin on May 19, 2017

“What is so special about commencement is the joy that everyone feels as they complete this chapter in their lives."

Alumni and staff volunteers are the hidden helping hand for graduates before, during and after the ceremony.
Alumni and staff volunteers are the hidden helping hand for graduates before, during and after the ceremony.

“Being a young alumna, I still have a very deep connection to my friends and the faculty and staff that supported me during my time at Towson,” said Maia Williams, ’16. “Being able to help them get ready for this big transition in their life, as well as being able to discuss post graduate life with other students, is something that I look forward to every semester.”

It is sentiments like this that have begun to bring alumni back to campus to volunteer at Commencement, one of the biggest days of Towson University graduates' lives. 

Created for 2016 winter commencement, the Alumni Commencement volunteer program brought more than 20 alumni back to campus last year—some volunteering for more than one ceremony. 

Alumni ranged in graduation years from 1968 to May 2016 and represented all six of the academic colleges. According to the Office of Alumni Relations, for many of the alumni volunteers, it was the first time they had been back on campus since they graduated.

Two of the alumni who participated in the December 2016 commencement ceremonies were Williams and Pei Ge ’15. Both are returning for May 2017 commencement as alumni volunteers in the robing room.

Maia Williams head shot
Maia Williams '16

Williams, who has just completed an M.S. Ed. degree at The University of Pennsylvania in higher education, says she wanted to volunteer for commencement as a way to be a part of the celebration for not only all the new graduates, but also as a way to support her peers who are graduating.

Ge, who is working on a master’s degree in early childhood education at TU, said as an alum and an international student, she really appreciated the education she received from TU and volunteers to show her appreciation.

“As a volunteer,” said Williams, “I help students get hooded correctly and point them in the right direction.” Ge helps with name cards and graduates caps and gowns.

According to Williams, “what is so special about commencement is the joy that everyone feels as they complete this chapter in their lives. As a first-generation [college] student myself, I know how it felt for my family to see me walk across the stage and complete my degree.

When I volunteered for winter commencement, I got to witness parents, grandparents and other students on nontraditional paths complete their journeys, and it didn’t only impact them, it impacted their families and loves ones as well. It is such a powerful thing to see how completing a degree changes lives.”

Pei Ge practicing robing a graduate
Pei Ge ’15

Ge echoed that sentiment and said,“no matter what you do or where you go after graduation, remember that TU is your root and your second home. Find ways and try your best to make this home strong and beautiful.”

Volunteering opportunities include the robing room, ushering, transport, greeter and guest assistance. Alumni can volunteer by contacting the Office of Alumni Relations at 410-704-2234 or emailing .