How to Avoid Graduation Name Pronunciation Mistakes

By | Graduate Recognition

Names matter, and mispronouncing them at graduation can create more than disappointment. If graduates’ names are mispronounced as they take their final steps as students, you’re misrepresenting their individual and cultural identities, making them feel disappointed, disrespected, and excluded. Plus, your commencement speaker enters a nightmare as they fumble and trip over consonants, trying to say each graduates name correctly.

Graduate holds his hand to his face in disappointment

The Importance of Accurate Graduate Name Pronunciation

Correct pronunciation matters most when you’re celebrating hard work—and graduation should be a time of celebration, not frustration. Just take a look on social media or Google to find out how much it matters when even the most common, well-known names are mispronounced at graduation ceremonies. From the college grads themselves to angry parents, mispronouncing names at commencement ceremonies strikes a nerve with graduates and family members alike.

Tips to Avoid Mispronouncing Names at Your Next Graduation Ceremony

Explore these tips to avoid graduation name pronunciation mistakes at your college or university’s commencement ceremonies, ensuring every grad leaves the stage with a fond memory of their big moment.

1. Give Grads the Chance to Pronounce Their Names Correctly

Start by giving your grads the chance to pronounce their names correctly by sending out a simple form with a pronunciation guide so they can provide you with their name’s phonetic spelling. You can also include a step for the grad to guide you to the best pronunciation of their name by asking them to write down very similar or familiar words that sound like their name.

2. Offer to Repeat Their Name Before Repeating It Out

Once your grads provide you with the correct pronunciation, give them the opportunity to hear your ceremony speaker say their name correctly. When your reader takes each grads’ name card, have them lean away from the microphone and say the student’s name to them. Once the grad repeats or corrects the pronunciation, the reader will then say it correctly into the mic.

3. Avoid Asking for Alternative Names

Many uncommon or unfamiliar names are still considered preferred names by individuals. To prevent your grads from feeling disrespected or excluded, avoid asking to use an alternative name during the ceremony. While a grad may go by a nickname or alternative name when interacting with friends or in class, it doesn’t mean they’re comfortable using it when they’re announced to take their final steps as students. Always use preferred names when announcing graduates at your commencement ceremonies.

4. Use Graduation Name Pronunciation Technology

You can save time and prevent uncomfortable experiences for grads by using graduation name pronunciation technology.

Some tools are free to use, so you can get names right regardless of your institutions’ budget.

Our team is ready to help you get every grads’ name right at your next commencement ceremony with NameCheck, StageClip’s innovative name pronunciation tool.

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Never Mispronounce Graduate Names Again With Our Free Name Pronunciation Tool

With NameCheck, you’ll never mispronounce your grads’ names again, ensuring they leave the stage with a fond memory of one of life’s biggest moments. We use AI technology to give each of your graduates the chance to hear their name read and provide approval or corrections. With our free tool, you can avoid scheduling  one-on-one meetings with your grads to privately correct mispronunciations. Once your grads approve their name pronunciation, your readers can listen, learn, and repeat the names using the correct pronunciation. Our platform also gives you the option to download a recording of each graduates’ name pronounced correctly to use live during your ceremony, saving you time and preventing a potentially uncomfortable situation.

I'm happy to say that StageClip has been a fantastic partner with Gonzaga University, from the right application of their tools and services to providing stellar customer service, even when a mix-up happened on our end.

Angela RuffProject and Event Manager, Gonzaga University

Use Our Name Pronunciator In Your Personalized Clips

We use our name pronunciation engine to ensure each grads’ name is pronounced correctly in their personalized graduation clip. Our team uses your commencement recording and name list to create a personal graduation clip for each alumni, so every grad gets a keepsake of their walk across the stage. We can also use your current marketing materials to enhance the clips, so there’s no extra work for you. Simply send over the footage and materials you already have, and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you. Contact us today to schedule a demo of our graduation clip creation platform.

Diploma Picture

10 Alumni Survey Questions to Boost Engagement

By | Alumni Engagement

Why Alumni Engagement Is Important

Colleges and universities with strong alumni involvement are the most successful. When alumni lead fulfilled lives with worthwhile careers, they’re more likely to look favorably at their time in college. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship where the school provides alumni networking opportunities for future success, making grads more likely to donate to and invest in university programs.

How You Can Improve Your Alumni Engagement Efforts

Schools should try their best to foster great relationships with their alumni. There are many alumni engagement best practices to get grads feeling connected with their universities again, like:

  • Connecting your alumni with your social media communities
  • Keeping alumni informed through updates, newsletters, publications, or podcasts
  • Partnering with your development office and call center to consolidate outreach
  • Inviting notable alumni to participate in panels, seminars, and mentoring opportunities
  • Conducting surveys to gather essential data and quickly engage alumni

The 10 Best Questions to Ask in Your Alumni Surveys

A well-made alumni survey is one of the best methods for promoting alumni engagement. Surveys are a powerful tool for multiple purposes, like gathering hard-to-get contact information, getting relevant feedback, and collecting data about education and job satisfaction.

But survey data only works if people are willing to participate. Most alumni teams are happy to see 20-40% response rates on their surveys, but with the right questions, those numbers can double. To get the best feedback, higher educational institutions should develop useful survey questions that grads want to take the time to answer, and provide the right incentive to complete the survey. We’ve listed 10 of the best alumni survey questions we’ve used successfully with our partner schools.

1. What Industry Are You Working or Interviewing In?

Schools need to keep track of the industries their alumni gravitate towards. This type of data is crucial for institutional research that determines which educational programs they should prioritize. If the school has found success in nurturing graduates who’ve become nurses and doctors, for example, this talking point is something else it can promote to prospective students.

2. What Is Your New Address, Non-“EDU” Email, and Phone Number?

Since most graduates stop using their university emails soon after leaving the school, lots of valuable information, like event notices and university updates, can fall through the cracks. If your data is outdated, you fail to reach thousands of alumni. Each alumni survey should include a section where grads can update their contact information.

While most schools should have portals allowing alumni to update their contact details on their own, schools should still try other methods for gathering information. Even some of the most active and engaged alumni can get sidetracked by work and daily living and forget to update their info.

3. Have You Accepted a Job Offer? If So, How Long Did it Take for You to Find Employment Before Graduation?

This survey question is great for fostering transparency among alumni, which is helpful for schools. Recent graduates may struggle with finding employment right after earning their degree. The responses from this survey question can give schools a bit more insight into which degree programs produce students who have an easier time finding a job and which don’t.

Your Career Center is likely asking this question in their career outcomes survey, so join forces to gather critical data together. Plus, schools can observe economic trends like recessions and consider how much of an impact they’ve had on their graduates.

4. What Are Your Preferred Pronouns?

Surveys are a great opportunity for graduates to update their preferred pronoun usage in further university communications. Not only is this an inclusive gesture, but it also increases the likelihood that graduates will be more responsive to future outreach efforts from their alma mater.

5. Where Are You Moving To?

Schools ask this question often because it allows their regional alumni engagement coordinators to reach out to them. Many alumni offices throw “Welcome to the City” socials to connect new alumni to grads who are already living in the city and boost networking opportunities.

This location-based question also gives the school a pipeline for building up its alumni chapters in each city.

Are you worried about engaging your new alumni with your current data?

Keep them connected with personalized virtual graduation clips.

Get Started With A Demo Clip

6. Are you planning to attend Grad School? If So, Where—And Why?

Graduate school enrollment rates are ideal for measuring data like acceptance rates and post-baccalaureate enrollment. Schools love seeing alumni continue to pursue their education after undergrad, especially when they choose the same institution. This question is a key touchpoint for your graduate school admissions team and a selling point for your undergraduate admissions office.

If an alum indicates they’re in grad school but chose to go with another university, give them room to explain why they made the decision. Regardless of the reason, whether it’s location, finances, or dissatisfaction with your school, you should take notice.

7. What is Your LinkedIn Handle or Professional URL? Please Share Below.

Allowing graduates to share their social media handles is a great opportunity for schools to keep up with alumni outcomes and easily foster connections. This provides a springboard to invite grads to networking groups, affinity groups, or other social media channels to increase the flow of communication to grads.

Capturing a grad's non-university email address is the most effective way to start engaging them as an alum.

8. Would You Like To Share Your Student Experience With Other Alumni?

One of the best ways to evoke fond memories of your school is to ask the alum to remember the best parts of their experience. Whether it was a sport, club, fraternity, or sorority, you can foster engagement and help the grad feel more connected to the school. This is also a valuable point of market research for your admissions office as they share the pride points of the university with new students.

Give your graduates room to tell as much as they would like! Be sure to include options for long text fields and add a “contact me for future updates” box for them to check.

9. How Would You Like to Contribute Your Time, Talents, or Resources to Help Future Students?

Getting new alumni to start thinking about how they can contribute their personal and professional assets to the school is an excellent way to foster engagement. Alumni who consistently share their time through volunteering, mentorship, and service projects typically feel much more connected to their university than the average graduate.

Additionally, alumni who display their talent via internships and job shadowing and those who find it necessary to contribute financially to the school tend to have been positively impacted by their time at the institution. If an alum indicates they have a personal interest in the continued success of the school’s current and future students, it’s a good sign.

10. Would You Like to Receive Updates From the Alumni Association?

Ensure your alumni are fully in control of the communications they’ll be receiving from your university. Provide multiple options for how and when they’ll get updates —whether it’s via email, phone, text, or mail.

Additionally, this question provides legal consent to ensure your communications comply with specific privacy laws.

Take Advantage of StageClip’s Alumni Surveys Feature

At StageClip, we help your graduates and their families relive their most cherished memories with personalized graduation clips. Our alumni surveys are integrated into our graduation videos, enabling your grads to share how happy they are to be an alum. While your alumni get to make memories to last a lifetime, your institution gets an increase in alumni engagement.

We’re all about delivering results. Conducting a survey in-house could result in 15-30% completion rates, while our surveys have proven results of up to 93%. That’s three to five times higher than the standard. And why is that? Because graduates want their personalized video, they’re more than willing to answer a few easy questions to get it.

Trying to find ways to improve your alumni engagement strategy?

We’ll help lighten the load. Contact us today for personalized graduation clips and alumni surveys.

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A group of boys are happy on their graduation day at school.

How to Plan a Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony

By | K12 Celebrations
The early childhood years are a big deal, and they shouldn’t be taken for granted. Your kindergarteners deserve a graduation day that celebrates their achievements and makes them feel accomplished. Before you welcome them into elementary school, arrange a kindergarten ceremony that’s engaging and fun!

What to Do for a Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony

Your ceremony doesn’t have to be the most extravagant party of the year, but it should have lots of thought and planning that shows your students and their parents that graduation is important. To help with the planning process, we’ve created a checklist of kindergarten graduation party ideas that your kids will love.

Start With a Theme

Every party needs a cohesive theme! Before you decorate anything, find a fun graduation theme that will resonate with your kids. Maybe your class read lots of Dr. Seuss books this school year—think about decorations featuring some of his most iconic characters. Or, if learning the alphabet was a huge focus for your students, incorporate their newfound skills into the celebration. There’s lots of inspiration out there for a themed party. Think about graduation ideas like:
  • A Space Theme for Your Shooting Stars
  • Rolling Out the Red Carpet
  • “Traveling” to the First Grade
  • Summer Vacation
  • Kinder “Garden”
  • Disney—Everybody Loves Disney!

Order Graduation Caps and Gowns

No kindergarten graduation ceremony is complete without caps and gowns. Your students will feel more sophisticated than ever when they receive their beloved regalia. Order caps and gowns in a color that works well with your theme, or select them according to your school colors, so your kids feel even prouder to be a student. Before the big day, set up a day to take professional graduation photos so your students and their parents can always have this memory to cherish.

Your students deserve to feel accomplished.

Make sure their graduation is a day they’ll be applauded for their efforts.

Send Out Customized Invitations

Your kindergarten students will want all of their family and friends to know about their big day. Instead of going through the run-of-the-mill vendor for invitations, visit a customized printing service that lets you find a well-designed template. Experiment with fun colors and images, and don’t be afraid to include your student’s graduation photo as a personal touch!

Perform a Dress Rehearsal

Your kindergarten graduation might come with some unexpected events, but don’t sweat it—it’s all in good fun. However, to help your students prepare for what’s probably the first graduation they’ve attended, set up a time for a dress rehearsal.   This way, you can show your students how to wait for their names to be called and accept their diplomas as they cross the stage. Practicing the ceremony a few times can help calm anxious feelings anyone may have.

Get in the Party Spirit by Decorating Your Classroom

As an educator, you shouldn’t waste any opportunities to let your students know that their kindergarten graduation is a huge deal. The week before the ceremony, go all out and decorate your classroom according to the theme so they’ll be in a party mood each day. Set up a piñata, hang up streamers and posters, and blow up plenty of balloons for your kids to interact with.   Don’t forget to get your kindergarteners involved in the decoration action, either! Let them go wild as they draw their favorite memory of the school year. Hang up their artwork on the walls for them to admire. And if your school district allows, guide them as they customize their graduation caps with a little DIY action. Your students will love feeling like individuals with something of their own to be proud of.

Create a Fun Photo Booth

No party is complete without some type of photo booth. While you don’t have to blow the budget on a carnival-level photo booth or a trendy 360 video station, you can coordinate a fun backdrop with tons of cute photo props.   Try setting aside a space where your students and their families can hold up festive cardboard cutouts and show off those beautiful smiles. Arrange for the school’s photographer to stop by for an hour or two so your students can have great-quality pictures.

Have a Talent Show

Your kindergarten graduation can be as unique as you’d like. Instead of only doing the diploma awarding, make a show out of the ordeal and showcase your student’s talent. Did your class work on a special skill this year, like learning how to sing all 50 states? Let them sing their hearts out.   There are lots of unique talents students can show off, both individually and as a group, like:
  • Singing a Solo
  • Performing a Dance Routine
  • Playing an Instrument
  • Reciting a Short Skit
  • Doing Magic Tricks

Hand out Graduation Gifts

Send your students home with something worthwhile. Hand out thoughtful party favors like candy, Play-Doh, party horns, coloring books, and bubbles. Your little ones will love their goodie bags and always associate their favorite little knick-knacks with a time of celebration and getting older.


Make sure the end of your kindergarten graduation ceremony is one for the books. Let your students bask at the end of the school year with fun party games like musical chairs. Play your kid’s favorite songs and let them dance away.   To make the moment a bit more special, provide plenty of party snacks, sweet treats, and a colorful punch.  

Let StageClip Help You Plan Your Next Kindergarten Graduation

At StageClip, we cherish life’s greatest moments. We create personalized on-stage graduation clips for graduates and their families to relive for years to come. No commencement ceremony is too small—we create videos for K-12 schools and colleges alike. Put the cherry on top of your awesome kindergarten ceremony and create an experience your little grads deserve.  

Whether you’re having an in-person or virtual graduation ceremony, StageClip is here to help.