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APSU registrar's office has old diplomas on file, encourages past graduates to claim them

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Walking across the stage in cap and gown is an exciting moment for degree candidates at graduation, but actually getting that piece of paper is better.

Hundreds of students at Austin Peay State University will be candidates for degrees during Spring Commencement on May 7, and it is hoped the new graduates will pick up their diplomas beginning June 25.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Walking across the stage in cap and gown is an exciting moment for degree candidates at graduation, but actually getting that piece of paper is better.

Hundreds of students at Austin Peay State University will be candidates for degrees during Spring Commencement on May 7, and it is hoped the new graduates will pick up their diplomas beginning June 25.

But some graduates before them — decades before them, in fact — have yet to collect their diplomas. The Office of the Registrar at APSU has hundreds of old diplomas stored in a file box and file cabinet. The oldest one is from 1967, when Joe Morgan was president of APSU.

“I think it also had his original signature. This one doesn't look printed,” Telaina Wrigley, registrar at APSU, said while holding the almost fragile piece of parchment.

“Many people have this misconception that diplomas are discarded, but they're not. We still have them.”

The registrar's office is encouraging anyone who might have earned a degree but never received their diploma for whatever reason. In fact, before participation in commencement ceremonies became voluntary, APSU students were required to be at commencement to receive their degrees.

“They had to appeal to get their diplomas if they did not attend the ceremony,” Wrigley said. “That might be the reason why we have so many degrees still on file.”

Nonpayment of account balances also is a common reason, Wrigley said. Death of that graduate also is prominent.

“I would like to see these degrees get to the families,” she said.

Diplomas conferred from the Spring Commencement on May 7 will be available for pickup on June 25 in the Ellington Building, Room 316. Degrees awarded since 1967 but haven't been retrieved are also available for the recipient or family member to claim.

For more information, call the registrar's office, (931) 221-7150, or e-mail at Registrar@apsu.edu. -- Melony Shemberger