Commencement at Delaware Stadium: the most exclusive party of the year
Vice President and secretary at the university Jeffrey Garland said he felt a sense of pride when he witnessed a basketball player meeting up with his grandmother at a commencement a few years ago. These are the moments that make graduation a day to never forget.
Well, Grandma might not be able to come to the commencement this year. If she does, she may wind up watching from a projector.
Due to renovations on Delaware Stadium and the soon-to-be-constructed Whitney Athletic Center on South Campus, each member of the graduating class of 2019 was given a limit of three tickets for the university commencement. Typically, there is no limit on how many people can attend.
The university used simple math to decide on the amount of tickets each student would be given — the potential number of spectators divided by the seats that will be available at the stadium in May.
“No matter when the construction began, it was going to have to affect at least one graduation,” Garland said.
The construction will take a total of roughly two years. The particular stands that that will affect the commencement are planned to be finished before the 2019 football season.
The Whitney Athletic Center is part of the Delaware First Campaign, the largest fundraiser in the university’s history. According to the Delaware First website, “This project will truly define what it means to be a Blue Hen.”
All hope is not lost for those whose family members have already booked flights or could not stand to miss the milestone. There will be “alternative viewing areas” in places around the campus where the commencement will be streamed for the overflow of people present.
Students did not seem to be very aware of the potential viewing areas, however.
“My mom, dad and sister will probably be the three people from my family to attend, but I have other siblings and two grandparents who I wish could have come as well,” senior Amanda Harding said. “My grandparents made arrangements and booked a hotel back in June so they could be there, and because of the ticket limitation, they are no longer coming.”
When the exact numbers become more clear of who will be walking in the ceremony, more tickets may be allocated to the families of students. Garland also said students can trade tickets among themselves.
“Attaining our degrees is the reason why we are in college, so graduation day is the most important moment in this journey,” senior Haley Reid said. “Adding on to the stress of finding hotel accommodations for our families and other things related to the day seems unfair.”
“No one feels good” about the situation at hand, Garland said.
The individual college convocations will not be affected by the new commencement ticket policy. Additionally, the university is planning on moving towards ticketed commencements like many other universities in the future, Garland said.
According to Garland, there are no other venues large enough in Delaware to host commencement.