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Changes Ahead for Spring Commencement

April 29’s Commencement ceremonies return to Nippert Stadium, marking a mix of traditions old and new.

Date: 4/11/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Jac Kern
Phone: (513) 556-1823

UC ingot  

The University of Cincinnati’s spring Commencement ceremonies coming up on Saturday, April 29, represent a long history of celebrating UC graduates. Campus renovations have moved Commencement from its longtime home in Fifth Third Arena to Nippert Stadium, where the ceremonies were last held in 1984 — and for decades before that. The new venue brings a few other changes, while many Commencement elements — including the reading of graduates’ names — remain intact. Here’s everything you need to know about spring Commencement.  

When and where will spring Commencement ceremonies take place? 
All Commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, April 29, in Nippert Stadium. The Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Recognition Ceremony begins at 9 a.m., followed by the Bachelor’s and Associate’s Commencement Ceremony at 2 p.m.

Why did Commencement move from Fifth Third Arena to Nippert Stadium?
Fifth Third Arena is currently being renovated and is scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2018. Nippert’s on-campus location, ample seating and history as the Commencement venue for much of the 20th century make it an obvious choice for an alternative to the arena.

Why is there only one undergraduate ceremony? 
Since Nippert is such a large venue with a capacity of about 40,000 people, it can accommodate many more guests than Fifth Third Arena. Combining the previously separated undergraduate ceremonies will ensure a great crowd and allows all undergrads to celebrate together. 

Will students have their names read at Commencement? 
Yes. April’s ceremony continues the tradition of reading graduate names aloud as they cross the stage to receive personal congratulations from UC President Neville Pinto. A congratulatory handshake with the president will be captured by a photographer. There will be fanfare throughout, and the use of the stadium scoreboard will allow guests to easily see graduates enter the stadium. 

What if it rains? 
Ceremonies will continue in Nippert, rain or shine. Dress accordingly. Standard safety policies will be followed in the case of severe weather.  

What should graduates wear? 
Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing under the required cap and gown, keeping in mind that the entire ceremony is outdoors. Since there will be long periods of standing and walking on artificial turf, comfortable, flat shoes are advised. High heels are discouraged as they can sink into the turf. 

How long are the ceremonies expected to run? 
The Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Recognition Ceremony is expected to run for approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Since undergraduate ceremonies are being combined this year and a graduation on this scale is so new to UC, the ceremony is expected to run longer than in years past.  

How many graduates are expected to attend? 
Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Recognition Ceremony: An estimated 1,500 
Bachelor’s and Associate’s Commencement Ceremony: An estimated 4,300  

How many guests are expected to attend? 
Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Recognition Ceremony: One-third of the stadium is expected to be full. 
Bachelor’s and Associate’s Commencement Ceremony: Organizers anticipate a full house.

What else is new or different about Commencement this year? 
This will be Pinto’s first Commencement since returning to the university as president in February. 
All graduates will receive a newly designed diploma cover. 
A new event called the “Senior Stride” will mark the last walk “Down the Drive” as a senior class, with a candlelight processional 9 p.m., Thursday, April 27. 
The Commencement Reception location has changed from the Alumni Center to Sheakley Lawn due to construction.  

For more information about UC’s spring Commencement, visit: