By Lauren Grimaldi
Families and friends hoping to attend this year’s spring commencement ceremony will be required to have a ticket to gain entry into the Auditorium Theatre. This marks a change from previous years in which seating was first come, first served.
Students that applied to graduate this spring were informed of this change via an email from graduation services. They were later sent a link to RSVP for the ceremony.
Students are not required to attend graduation to receive their diploma, but must reserve their space at the commencement if they plan to walk across the stage.
The deadline to RSVP for the ceremony is March 2. Students will receive information on the specific number of tickets they will receive in March.
Sarah Willis, the Assistant Registrar for Graduation Services, said that students should be sure to check their student email accounts for further information about the specific number of tickets that will be allotted per student.
“With the addition of the College of Pharmacy attending May graduation, we needed to ensure that we can accommodate all graduates and their guests,” Willis said. “Ticketing allows us to make sure we know how many are coming and can plan accordingly.”
The Auditorium Theatre has a capacity of over 3,800 seats. Willis said that graduates and attendees in need of accessible seating will need to request such seating when they RSVP for the graduation.
“Graduates will need to indicate on their RSVP if they, or any their guests require accessible accommodations. The number of tickets a graduate will receive will include general and accessible admission. Our Accessible staff will contact each student for more details regarding their request,” Willis said.
In past years, the ceremony for students graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences was the first of the day. It will now be the second ceremony and begin at 2 p.m. The Chicago College of Performing Arts will graduate during this ceremony as well.
The 11 a.m. ceremony will be for students receiving degrees from the Walter E. Heller College of Business, College of Education and College of Pharmacy.
Gigi Spata, a senior psychology major, said she does not believe that it’s fair to require tickets for family and friends attending graduation.
“I feel that students who have a lot of family members are going to be extremely upset when they have to pick and choose who to bring,” Spata said. “I personally am afraid that I will have to tell some of my family members they cannot attend, and that is super stressful.”
Willis said that students will have the opportunity to request additional tickets if they need them.
“Not all students will use all their tickets. When picking up their tickets at the Salute to Graduate events on April 2 (Schaumburg, Alumni Hall 12-6pm) and April 5 (Chicago, WB418 10-6pm), students can request extra tickets,” Willis said. “Once all tickets have been issued via RSVP, we will delegate any remaining tickets to those needing more.”
Students that cannot attend the Salute to Graduate events can begin to pick up their tickets on April 10 in the Graduation Services office. Specific dates and times will be emailed to students.