The University of Colorado next year will reinstate reading days, giving students a brief reprieve between the last day of classes and final exams -- a calendar shift that will bump commencement to Saturdays instead of Fridays and eventually cancel the campuswide winter ceremonies.

The last campuswide winter graduation ceremony will be in 2016, according to an announcement made Thursday. Department and college recognition ceremonies will still be held for students graduating in December, though.

Bill Kaempfer, vice provost and associate vice chancellor for budget and planning, said with the newly added reading days, the winter ceremony would be too close to Christmas. In 2017, for example, the ceremony would have been Dec. 23 with the reading days in place. By grandfathering in the change, current students who were expecting to graduate at winter ceremonies will still be able to do so, he said.

Now, the last day of classes falls on a Friday, and final exams begin early Saturday morning.

Next school year, though, final exams will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday and continue through 10 p.m. Thursday, according to CU Provost Russell Moore. The schedule will be the ongoing pattern for final exams and continue for both fall and spring terms, he said.

The CU Student Government last year passed a resolution requesting that the calendar be adjusted to allow for reading days. They said the quick turnaround between the last day of classes on Friday and the first day of exams on Saturday caused students to pull all-nighters and cram.

Beginning next year, students will have a minimum 47-hour period between the end of classes and the first final. There will still be a total of 22 final exam periods.


Paul Chinowsky, chairman of the Boulder Faculty Assembly, updated faculty leaders Thursday about the change in the academic calendar. He said the Sunday night finals will mostly be for one-credit courses.

The university scrapped reading days in the spring and fall nearly 15 years ago to accommodate a fall break in October. In 2006, the academic schedule shifted so students got a full week off for Thanksgiving.

Going forward, department ceremonies will be on Friday and the campuswide commencement will be Saturday. The first Saturday commencement on the Boulder campus will be Dec. 20, 2014.

"The change to the calendar will incur some small expenses for the campus, as we add an additional day to the workweek for a selection of our faculty and staff," Moore said in an e-mail sent to colleagues Thursday. "This will be offset in the end by the elimination of the costs for the Winter Commencement ceremony."