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University Registrar plans Commencement Ceremony

| Friday, May 18, 2018

The University’s 173rd Commencement ceremony will take place in Notre Dame Stadium on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. with 16 other diploma ceremonies to follow that afternoon at 2 p.m.

Chuck Hurley, the University registrar, said there will be 20 different ceremonies this weekend between the undergraduate, graduate and University ceremonies along with the Commencement Mass.

Dominique DeMoe | The Observer

“3,096 total diplomas will be awarded, with 2,066 undergraduates, and 1,030 graduate diplomas given,” Hurley said.

Commencement was first moved to the Notre Dame stadium in 2010, Hurley said.

“The ceremony was in the stadium in the 1950s and then for a couple years in the ’60s. … In the late 1960s they moved it to the Joyce Center,” Hurley said. “It was in the Joyce Center from then until 2009, and after 2009 we moved to the stadium because it was just so many folks wanting to attend Commencement.”

Hurley said having the main ceremony in the stadium allows students to invite as many family members and guests as needed.

“A couple of years ago we had a student who was the first person in her family to graduate from college and she brought 90 family members to Commencement. So that was wonderful to be able to accommodate people in that way,” Hurley said.

While hosting graduation in Notre Dame Stadium has its benefits, there are certain downsides to hosting commencement outside, Hurley said.

“The complexity of the stadium of course is that we are outdoors and we are subject to weather,” Hurley said. “So, we can run into a situation where we have to move inside to Purcell Pavilion if severe weather approaches, and then we are limited again in tickets. We do have ponchos for our graduates if it’s raining and we do remain in the stadium if it’s a light to moderate rain … umbrellas are allowed for guests if needed, but it’s going to be a bright day.”

This year’s ceremonies will be the first to utilize the buildings from the Campus Crossroads project, which opened in January 2018.

“Some of the 2 p.m. diploma ceremonies will take place in Crossroads facilities — one in Corbett Family Hall and two in Duncan Student Center,” Hurley said. “That’s a big advantage simply because we can keep people for those afternoon ceremonies close to the stadium. It really helps out with our guests in particular with mobility issues because we don’t have to have them go as far.”

This year, the Commencement address will be given by Brazilian judge Sérgio Moro.

Hurley said he advises guests to arrive at the stadium anytime between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., but preferably earlier.

“The last two years we had Secret Service because we had Vice President [Joe] Biden and then Vice President [Mike] Pence,” Hurley said. “There’s no secret service this year so we just don’t have that element. The gates open at 8 a.m. commencement morning, and we do show a number of videos in the stadium prior to the procession that feature our graduating students, so I think it’s best to arrive as early as possible because then you get to see all the videos and graduating seniors.”

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