University President Fr. John Jenkins announced the University Commencement Ceremony will be moved this year from the Joyce Center arena to the Notre Dame Stadium in an e-mail to the student body yesterday.
Allowing all the family members of graduates to attend commencement was the primary motivating factor for moving the ceremony, Jenkins said.
“The University Commen-cement Ceremony represents an important milestone in the lives of all members of the Notre Dame family,” he said. “Rather than limit the number of tickets available, forcing families to choose which grandparents and siblings can attend, we want to welcome everyone to share in this proud moment.”
Jenkins said the only alternative was to reduce guest seating, which he called “an unacceptable course of action.”
The reduction in seating was caused by this year’s renovations to the Joyce Center and the addition of the Purcell Pavilion, which Jenkins said reduces the size of the arena by about 2,000 seats.
“Rather than offer each graduate only two guest tickets for the University Commencement Ceremony, Notre Dame Stadium provides the opportunity to remove limits on guest attendance,” he said.
Jenkins said this year will also be the first time the University holds undergraduate “diploma ceremonies” in each college “so that each graduate hears his or her name called and receives a diploma and well-deserved recognition on stage.”
However, holding the ceremony outdoors runs the risk of having bad weather interfere with Commencement. Jenkins said Commencement will proceed “rain or shine” and “only severe weather [would move] it indoors.”
Senior Nicholas Dan said he is glad his entire family will be able to attend the ceremony, but he hopes the weather doesn’t ruin the event.
“I am looking forward to the Commencement in the Stadium,” he said. “I am glad that I will be able to have my whole family attend and as long as it doesn’t rain, I think it will be a much better arrangement.”
Senior Don Whitley agreed, adding he was happy commencement will be held in a place as historic as Notre Dame Stadium.
“I think that it is really cool that we will be able to incorporate Notre Dame Stadium and its history into Commencement, but it will be pretty rough if it rains,” he said.
Commencement will be held in the morning on the third Sunday in May, while the undergraduate diploma ceremonies will be held later “in each college and school in the afternoon,” Jenkins said.