Hutchinson Will Read Names at Commencement

Griffith: Commencement committee originally excluded Hutchinson under the impression he would resign in December


Conor Matthews

Assistant Principal Eric Hutchinson participates in the Homecoming Parade in 2012. Hutchinson has read names at commencement since 2004.

Principal Michael Griffith said today that Assistant Principal Eric Hutchinson will read names at this June’s commencement.

Before today, Hutchinson was not slated to read the names of graduating seniors. Since 2004, he and Guidance Department Chairwoman Eileen Blattner had split the responsibility, each reading one half of the graduates’ names.

The change comes after three seniors planned to circulate a petition that, in part, concerns Hutchinson’s involvement in commencement. Griffith said word of the petition prompted Hutchinson to approach him.

Last August, Hutchinson announced his resignation, effective Dec. 22, 2013. However, on Nov. 9, he delayed his resignation until June.

According to Griffith, the district’s commencement committee began loosely outlining the event in October, before Hutchinson postponed his resignation date. The committee, under the impression he would resign in December, began to brainstorm other faculty to read names.

“I don’t think people weighed how much that meant to him in particular, to be there for the kids,” Griffith said.

After a conversation between the two today, Griffith said Hutchinson would read names at commencement June 12. Griffith said today was the first conversation he had had with Hutchinson regarding commencement this year.

Hutchinson was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Senior Tiara Sargeant, an author of the petition, was pleased with Griffith’s decision, but asserted that it was only one of three goals. “I think it’s great, but it’s not my main purpose,” Sargeant said. “Just because one of my goals is checked off doesn’t mean I won’t stop fighting for my other two goals,” which are increasing Shaker’s hiring and retention rates of African-American faculty and having a third-party expert evaluate those rates.

“We want a great event for kids,” Griffith said. “You guys work hard in a four-year window to earn that, and I think everybody wants that event to be a totally spectacular evening for people to kind of honor all the things that have happened.”

Managing Editor Marcia Brown and Campus and City Editors Abby White and John Vodrey contributed reporting for this article.

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