Assistant Registrar for Records,
To many on campus, commencement is simply an event that symbolizes the end of a semester. But to Chris Pass, working to help make commencement happen is a constant endeavor — and it's one she loves.
As assistant registrar for records, registration and graduation, Pass has her fingers in nearly every aspect of commencement, from gathering students' degree records to organizing the ceremony. In fact, Pass works all year to ensure everything goes smoothly during the University's commencement ceremonies. This academic year, commencement will be held Dec. 16, May 10-12 and Aug. 3.
What are your duties in the months prior to Purdue's commencement ceremonies?
Time management skills come into play because coordinating commencement is not my only job responsibility. Leading up to commencement, I create the schedule of ceremonies for each academic year based on the projected number of commencement participants. I also assist with the degree auditing process and coordinate commencement communications to students and our academic community.
During commencement this spring, orators announced each graduating undergraduate's name. How did that pilot go?
Our ceremonies are unique to many large institutions, so this change was a big undertaking. Based on the feedback received from participating candidates, they appreciated the personal recognition as they walked on stage. Moving forward, we plan on continuing with announcing graduates' names.
What is the most rewarding thing about bringing commencement ceremonies to fruition?
Commencement weekend is about the students and their families. I have a real passion for making sure students' last experience on campus is something that they'll remember forever. I think a lot of us who work on commencement feel that same passion, too. We get to see families come to campus from all over the world to watch their students mark one of the biggest milestones in their lives. To be part of that is a privilege, and it's very rewarding.
How did you become involved in helping with commencement?
I came to Purdue in March of 1990. Prior to that, I worked at Fairfield Manufacturing in Lafayette for 11 years as a purchasing buyer. I was looking for a change, and Purdue offered exactly that.
As far as what interested me in the Registrar's Office, I've always enjoyed working with a variety of people. Here, I get to do that — I work with faculty, staff members across campus, students, and parents and with prospective employers, who often need degrees verified.
What changes do you predict might happen in your department in the future?
There are some exciting things happening with technology. During this summer's commencement, we began using electronic guest tickets. Participating candidates received emails the week prior to commencement that directed them to a URL for printing their requested tickets. Also, this fall, we implemented an electronic degree audit system. The myPurdue plan will allow students and advisors to monitor their academic progress toward degree completion.