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Students react to Commencement relocation

| Wednesday, February 25, 2015

University President Fr. John Jenkins announced Feb. 16 that the class of 2015’s commencement ceremony will be held in Notre Dame Stadium instead of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center (JACC). The location change was attributed to good weather and ahead-of-schedule Campus Crossroads construction, but the venue has been a contentious issue since the October announcement that it would be held indoors.

“All of my family and friends can come now and celebrate all of the things they have helped me achieve over the last four years; I’m really happy that they changed it back,” senior Molly Chang said.

Chang said she was surprised by the administration’s decision to bring the ceremony back into the stadium “especially because they seemed so resistant to the original suggestions and points we brought up regarding the move.”

Chang expressed concern her peers in the class of 2016 would not be able to graduate in the stadium.

“I’m concerned that they’ll have to go through this fight again and that the administration won’t miraculously change their minds at the last second,” she said. “The juniors might have an even tougher battle than we did since Crossroads will be further along and the construction timeline might be harder to work around. It would be really unfair to them considering that we got our graduation in the stadium.”

Senior Andrew Hosbein said he was happy to return to the stadium for one last time.

“I’m genuinely excited and relieved,” Hosbein said. “You see all the pictures, as freshmen, of everyone at the stadium for their commencement, and it just seems right.

“… Being in a football school, we start our freshmen year in the stadium, and to end your senior year in the football stadium would make more sense than ending it in a basketball stadium,” Hosbein said. “I remember leaving the field was the weirdest part of the last home game — you’re leaving the field as students for the last time. It’s cool to be able to go back one last time. It’s more sentimental than anything.”

Senior Ryan Griffin said his opinion about his graduation’s venue remains unchanged.

“I didn’t care too much in the beginning because honestly the location isn’t what’s going to be important when I look back on the graduation ceremony years from now,” Griffin said. “Rather, it’s going to be about graduating with all of my friends, and they’re going to be there regardless of where it’s at. Plus, having graduation in the stadium is a relatively recent thing, and it didn’t seem to affect prior students. … If it rains, we’ll be graduating in the JACC anyways.”

Kelsey Amarosa, a senior who began her freshman year with the class of 2016, said the change in location allows her to bring her sister, an alumna of the class of 2012, to her graduation.

“Having Commencement held at the stadium means that my sister … can now join my parents in celebrating my graduation, as I was able to celebrate hers,” Amarosa said. “I am happy that [graduating seniors] are able to celebrate with however many guests they would like to invite. The news of the switch back to the stadium was welcome.”

Senior Yixin Huang said she feels the stadium held more significance to students than the JACC.

“I am surprised the University changed its mind, but I am very glad they did. I am also grateful to all the students that put in the hard work to petition the University,” Huang said.

“I think out of all the buildings at Notre Dame, the stadium holds the fondest memories,” she said. “It is a wonderful way to end my time at Notre Dame. I feel like it’s a lot more representative of the spirit and feel of Notre Dame than a generic indoor arena like the Joyce Center.”

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About Wei Lin

Wei Lin currently serves as an Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer. He served as the Photo Editor on the 2014-2015 Editorial Board. He is a senior Accountancy, Economics, and Chinese triple major living in Knott Hall. He hails from the borough of Queens in New York City.

Contact Wei