The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Spring graduation fair centralizes services at Main Campus

By Vanessa M. Sanchez
The University’s Graduation Fair allowed students to order and purchase graduation materials from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 8-9 at Main Campus Building. This is the fifth graduation fair hosted by the bookstore.

The biannual fair provides students the opportunity to place orders for caps, gowns, tassels and diploma frames. Students can also purchase graduation invitations.

Bookstore Manager Charlene Rhoads said the University partnered with Herff Jones, a graduation vendor. Laura Pantano, assistant vice president of student engagement and success negotiated a contract with the vendor in January 2010.

Herff Jones supplied all rings and announcements, Rhoads said.

Balfour, another graduation vendor, sold frames ranging from $150, $145 and $140, and graduation gowns.

The total amount for a cap, gown and tassel for baccalaureate candidates was $42.98, and $69.98 for master’s candidates.

Rhoads said the cost for a master’s student was higher because their regalia is different. Master’s degree students’ gowns have longer sleeves and the gowns are accompanied by different colored hoods signifying a specific school.

Rhoads said that all frames will be 10 percent off until 7 p.m. tonight.

A representative from each company attended to answer questions and assist with orders, Rhoads said.

The Balfour representative provided sample gowns for sizing, Rhoads said. Caps are one size only.

Because of last year’s low attendance at Brooks City-Base Campus, there was not a fair at that location, Rhoads said.

“We did try at Brooks, but it was not a huge success,” Rhoads explained.

In addition to low attendance, Rhodes said there were complications at the Brooks Campus fair.

She said the bookstore had to take manual transactions and set up and break down operations because they were working from a portable.

Rhoads said this year’s event was extended by one hour at Main Campus.

Having Graduation Fair at Main Campus benefited everyone, Rhoads said.

Last year, based on the number of students seen at both campuses, Bennett Grey, career adviser and outreach coordinator, said “it was a good turnout.”

“As far as this year is concerned, I don’t know why we’re not involved,” he said. Last year, the offices of grad school, career services, the bookstore and possibly the business office and financial aid participated with a table and a representative.

It was a one-stop shop, Grey said.

Rhoads, however, said having the fair at Main Campus “should be a one-stop shop” as the departments are located at Main Campus.

As she recalls in Fall 2010, students traveled from the St. Joseph’s Campus to the Student Center at Gillette Campus.

“We had 321 people yesterday,” Rhoads said Feb. 9. That number also included customers who purchased other items like snacks and Scantrons.

Important Dates
Order arrivals begin April 16, Rhoads said. Students who cannot make this event can place orders until March 9.

Spring graduation registration ended Nov. 7, 2011. Spring commencement  is scheduled for May 18 at Freemen Coliseum at 3201 E. Houston St.

About the Author

Melody Mendoza
Melody Mendoza
Melody Mendoza is the Comunidad Editor for The Mesquite. Previously, she reported on the development of the year-old Main Campus Building and Brooks City-Base Campus, and has followed Texas A&M-San Antonio's growth through its plans for two new buildings. Melody is a communication-journalism major, serves on the Student Media Board and is a freelance reporter and part-time editorial assistant for the San Antonio Express-News. She is a 2008 East Central High School graduate, an award-winning reporter for The Ranger (San Antonio College's student newspaper), and a youth leader at her church.

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