Staff profiles: Nina Silbergleit
"Commencements are a very emotional time for both the university colleges and the students — and their families — who are graduating," said Nina Silbergleit. "Our job is to make that the smoothest, best experience for all those people who are involved."
Silbergleit is the director of patron services for Performing Arts Facilities and Programs. She said that most people know the department simply as "Wharton Center." She has been working with the Wharton Center since it opened in 1982.
Commencement was one large event until 1984, when it was divided into separate commencement events for each MSU college. Today, there are 20 separate commencements that take place at Wharton Center, the Auditorium, Breslin Center and the Veterinary Medical Center over two weekends.
"We host 10 commencements in our two facilities, Wharton Center and the Auditorium," Silbergleit said.
Silbergleit and her staff work with each of the college's commencement coordinators to do site visits and walk them through the schedule.
"We make sure that all the details are covered, everything from how students process in to receptions after, how to communicate with their families about parking, and what amenities are available for them," she said.
Silbergleit also serves as one of three house managers in her office. She is currently focusing on food services and finalizing the menu for the receptions that follow commencements, as well as getting the commencement information sheets filled out and setting up rehearsal schedules for the commencement coordinators.
"The day of the commencement, our staff is here to help guide the families in," Silbergleit said. "We're there to help them get seated and answer all of their questions."
Commencements aren't the only events held at the Wharton Center. Wharton Center hosts its own presentations, as well as university presentations, and events for the College of Music, Department of Theatre and many student organizations.
"Wharton Center does over 1,000 activities a year, which means that we are working pretty much non-stop," Silbergleit said.
Silbergleit's office employs about 150 students. Many of them come as freshmen and stay with the department for their entire college career.
"I really feel that a lot of students who worked here didn’t know what the arts were going to mean in their lives, but after they leave, they write back and say, 'I didn't know at the time, but now that I’m out in the real world, I certainly understand all the things that we learned while working at Wharton Center,'" she said.