University plans 177th commencement ceremony
Alysa Guffey | Friday, May 13, 2022
Lining the walls of the registrar’s office are boxes and boxes of diplomas, waiting to be handed out and hung on office walls. This weekend, the University will confer 3,344 degrees to the Class of 2022 — including 2,066 undergraduate degrees, according to a press release.
University registrar Chuck Hurley said his office began planning for commencement weekend in January. Most major departments on campus, from University Events and Enterprises to the fire department and food services.
On Sunday, the commencement ceremony will feature speakers including University President Fr. John Jenkins, Ukrainian Archbishop Borys Gudziak, who will deliver the commencement address, Laetare Medal recipient Sharon Lavigne, the valedictorian and the salutatorian. Individual diplomas will be given out at separate College and department ceremonies.
For the 13th year, the commencement ceremony will be held in Notre Dame Stadium, with the Joyce Center serving as the severe weather location. As in prior years before the pandemic, graduates have no limit on the number of guests they can bring to the ceremony in the Stadium.
“Last year was an exception to that. Because of social distancing and the pandemic, students were limited on their tickets,” Hurley said. “But in every other year and this year, students have unlimited tickets to the Stadium. One year we had a student who brought 90 family members to the Stadium for commencement.”
Hurley estimated that about 27,000 guests will descend upon Notre Dame for the weekend — close to half of a home football crowd.
The stage at the ceremony will be located on the south side of the Stadium with the graduates lining the field in front. Hurley said the stage was moved to this end last year in order to create more room for guests to social distance and spread out. The University kept the setup because it allows for more of the Stadium to be used and both guests and graduates can see the speakers on the video screen above the stage.
Prior to the ceremony, graduates will gather by college around campus and then proceed down Library Lawn and into the Stadium.
There are about 27 other major commencement events over the weekend, with a number of small celebrations. One of the most difficult challenges is planning for events to not overlap, Hurley said.
“For example, we have families that have an older child graduating from Notre Dame Law School and the younger child graduating with an undergraduate degree, and so we have to make sure that the law school ceremony isn’t at the same time as the undergraduate ceremony,” he said.
Hurley noted that many people in his office either went to Notre Dame or have children at the University and take pride in continuing Notre Dame commencement traditions.
“It’s not just something that we do. It’s a very, very big deal to us, and I’m sure students appreciate that because I can see it on their faces that weekend,” he said.