Seventy-three animals will be celebrated during April 11 event
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (March 24, 2023) – Senior students and their pets will begin the countdown to Commencement as furry, scaled or feathered companions receive recognition at the 11th Annual Eckerd College Pet Graduation on Tuesday, April 11, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in Fox Hall, 4200 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg.
This year’s ceremony will confer certificates on 34 dogs, 15 cats, three guinea pigs, three bearded dragons, two rats, two snakes, two tortoises, two rabbits, two leopard geckos, two turtles, a chinchilla, a crested gecko, a chameleon, a gecko, a frog and a fish. Student leaders will also honor one human with an “honorary dog-torate”—in recognition of a person who is committed to animal welfare on campus or improving campus life for all creatures.
As the first college in the nation to accept on-campus pets, Eckerd is committed to honoring the animals that support our students, and that commitment extends to an annual ceremony where each pet gets to wear a cap, hear its name called and be walked across the stage to the cheers of fellow pet graduates and owners. Interim Vice President for Student Life Amy Falvo will read the pet names while Eckerd College President Jim Annarelli presents the certificates and takes a photo with the pet and owner at the ceremony.
During the 2022–23 school year, Eckerd students registered 274 pets with the student-run Pet Life Council. Of the more than 1,625 students who live on Eckerd’s campus, nearly 17% reside with their pets.
More than 335 companions have “graduated” from Eckerd since the school began holding a separate ceremony in 2013. Eckerd College students can live in on-campus housing with one animal (dogs under 40 pounds, cats, rabbits, ferrets, ducks and chinchillas) or two small pets (fish, hamsters, gerbils, amphibians, nonvenomous reptiles under four feet long, and small birds).