Graduates at the University of South Alabama’s Spring Commencement on May 9 will be the first in the university’s history to receive their diplomas in two separate ceremonies held the same day in the Mitchell Center.

The first ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m. with speaker Dr. Richard Lapchick, an internationally recognized sports sociologist. The second ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. with U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus as speaker.

“The commencement committee, which is chaired by our registrar, Ms. Kelly Osterbind, has been monitoring attendance at our commencement ceremonies over the past several years,” said Dr. David Johnson, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Spring commencement, in particular, has grown in attendance, and we are now at the point that the Mitchell Center can no longer accommodate any growth in the number of graduates and their guests in a single ceremony.”

Established in 1963, USA awarded 88 diplomas at its first commencement ceremony on June 11, 1967. At the 2014 spring commencement, 1,391 students graduated. The number of graduates is traditionally lower at fall commencement, held each December, but those numbers are also increasing. Johnson said holding two ceremonies “will allow us to keep up with the growth of the University, and, in particular, in the number of graduates, for the next several years.”

The following degree candidates will participate in the 9:30 a.m. ceremony:

Undergraduate Degrees

• College of Arts and Sciences
• School of Computing
• School of Continuing Education and Special Programs
• College of Education

Graduate Degrees

• College of Arts and Sciences
• School of Computing
• College of Education
• Graduate School, master of science in environmental technology

Doctorate Degrees

• College of Arts and Sciences
• College of Education
• Graduate School, clinical psychology
• College of Medicine.

The following degree candidates will participate in the 2 p.m. ceremony:

Undergraduate Degrees

• Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions
• Mitchell College of Business
• College of Engineering
• College of Nursing

Graduate Degrees

• Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions
• Mitchell of College of Business
• College of Engineering
• College of Nursing

Doctorate Degrees

• Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions
• College of Nursing