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Commencement audiences grow, as more colleges broadcast graduation ceremonies online

Posted by Your Town  May 16, 2013 04:46 PM

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Local colleges and universities have begun broadcasting live webcasts of commencement services over the past few years, enabling parents, friends, and alumni to watch ceremonies that they otherwise would not have been able to attend.

Greg Gatlin, a spokesman for Suffolk University, said in a phone interview that the live webcast caters particularly to family and friends of the graduates, as well as alumni and Suffolk employees.

“We know there is an extended community of people who want to watch the commencement,” he said. “With students who have extended family members who were unable to attend, or Suffolk alumni, employees, and others who really enjoy the great moment that is the Suffolk University commencement.”

Carole McFall, a spokeswoman for Emerson College, said the university has broadcast the graduation online since 2003, and is often popular among alumni. This year, people from 34 states in the US and across 24 countries viewed the live webcast, she said.

According to Ellen de Graffenreid, a spokeswoman for Brandeis University, the school has been streaming commencement online since 2006, as a “cost-effective way” for family and friends to watch the ceremony.

And at Boston University, spokesman Colin Riley wrote in an e-mailed statement that the school has had a live webcast of its commencement ceremony since 1999.

Kim Thurler, a spokeswoman for Tufts University, wrote in an e-mailed statement that the school has provided a webcast of the commencement for the past ten years, “in addition to serving members of our community who may be off campus or otherwise unable to attend the ceremony itself, live streaming provides a bit of a weather hedge.”

“Our all-university ceremony is held outdoors,” she wrote. “The venue on our academic green is normally beautiful but if the weather is unseasonably hot or cold, or rainy, someone who would otherwise enjoy the ceremony outdoors may choose to watch the ceremony indoors.”

At Babson, the college has been live streaming commencement as well as other important events for the past several years.

“For commencement it makes sense for out-of-country families who cannot make it in person,” spokeswoman Barbara Spies Blair wrote in an e-mail, adding, “From an audience perspective, more and more users are tablet owners with easy access no matter where they are.”

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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