2015 commencement to be in Memorial Stadium



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Class of 2011 undergraduates await induction during the first session of the one hundred eighty-second commencement on Saturday at Assembly Hall. Sam Park Buy Photos

Commencement for undergraduates in spring 2015 and spring 2016 will take place in Memorial Stadium as a result of renovations to Assembly Hall.

There will be only one undergraduate ceremony each year instead of two ceremonies.

Commencement has taken place in Memorial Stadium in the past but has been in Assembly Hall since 2002.

“The graduate and undergraduate ceremonies will still have the same traditions and popular elements as commencements that were held in Assembly Hall,” IU spokesperson Ryan Piurek said.

Commencement in December 2015 will not be affected by Assembly Hall construction, ?according to the University.

The renovations, funded by a $40 million donation from IU alumna Cynthia Simon Skjodt to IU athletics, will begin after basketball season.

IU President Michael McRobbie announced last December that the building will be renamed Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall when the renovations are complete, according to the University.

Piurek said construction plans have been set to avoid affecting men’s and women’s basketball games.

Teresa Barnett, executive assistant at the Office of University Commencement and Ceremonies, said the planning process for this spring’s commencement has begun and is going smoothly.

“It’s just gonna be different,” she said.

Barnett said nothing will be done to alter the metal bench seating at Memorial Stadium.

“For guests in general, it’s just what it is,” she said. “We’re not bringing any special seating in. We’re not moving bleachers or anything like that.”

For guests with mobility restrictions, who would have trouble ?navigating the stadium’s seating, there will be a special seating and parking section, she said.

Guests will register for this area of the parking lot in advance and will then be driven to the stadium in golf carts.

“We will probably be putting them on the field under a tent,” she said.

Students planning to graduate in spring 2015 were not individually notified by the University as of Wednesday evening. Barnett said the only notification of the change she is aware of is the press ?release.

There are risks involved in moving commencement outdoors, including ?weather.

The commencement committee is in the process of developing a plan in case of rain, Piurek said.

To do this, Piurek said they are looking to peer institutions and attempting to adopt some of their best practices.

Barnett said the combination of two ceremony times into one will also lower the risk of encountering rain.

Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 52,000, compared to Assembly Hall, which has a capacity of 17,000 seats.

Last year’s two commencement ceremonies combined had a total of 34,000 guests, Piurek said.

Undergraduate commencement will take place at 10 a.m. May 9.

Graduate student commencement ceremonies will take place at 3 p.m. May 8 at Mellencamp ?Pavilion.

Piurek said the commencement committee is always looking to enhance the experience of ?commencement.

“This is a big day in the lives of our students, their families and their loved ones, so we want to continue to make it a fun and memorable time for everyone who attends,” he said.

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