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Longwood Separates Grad Weekend

FARMVILLE — Change is coming to Longwood’s graduation schedule.

Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV on Monday announced plans to move future graduation ceremonies to separate weekends from neighboring Hampden-Sydney College.

Two graduations on the same weekend make it challenging for families looking for hotel accommodations and arranging graduation meals, Reveley said.

“After a good bit of conversation and deliberation, there is real wisdom in making ‘different graduation weekends’ a trend, and in 2017 our graduation will move a week further into May to ensure that our graduation and H-SC’s (which is in cycle with Mother’s Day) fall on different weekends,” Reveley wrote in a Monday memo to faculty, staff and contract employees.

Prince Edward County Economic Development Director Sharon Carney was pleased with the news.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “A big capital wonderful.”

“We’re losing money,” she added. “This is ours to lose and we were doing a good job at it … By staggering the weekends, Prince Edward County-Town of Farmville … and the businesses will hugely benefit because, you know, when you only have 264 [hotel] rooms, [it] doesn’t take long to fill ’em up.”

Per the schedule, a change would not be necessary next year; with May 1 falling on a Sunday, the two institutions would have graduation on different weekends anyway. That, however, is a rare occurrence. The plan calls for holding Longwood’s 2017 graduation on Saturday, May 20, and in coming years in the “teens” of May. It would, Reveley said, allow for a longer reading period in the spring.

The spring semester of the 2016-17 academic year will begin the week of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Classes would end midweek at the close of the semester with a period of reading days. There will also be a full week of exams and senior week before graduation.