Why Do Schools Read Everyone’s Name at Graduation?

The basic idea is that people’s memories of an experience are shaped most by its peak—the most emotionally intense part—and its ending. The peak of these ceremonies (which certainly qualify as “extended”) is usually the moment the graduate walks across the stage, and the ending is often a celebratory tossing of hats. According to this model, when audience members and participants reflect back on graduation ceremonies, memory should downplay the dullness and focus on the triumph, however brief.