News Local/State

UI Commencement Moves Outdoors In 2014


For the first time in about 50 years, University of Illinois Urbana campus students will receive their degrees outdoors.

Due to renovations to the State Farm Center (formerly the Assembly Hall) the campuswide commencement ceremonies next spring will be held outside. 

Memorial Stadium will be the site for graduation, set for Saturday, May 17th at 9:30 a.m.

U of I Director of Special Events Laura Wilhelm-Barr says there isn’t another indoor facility to handle that kind of crowd. 

She said the football stadium was last used for commencement in the mid-1960’s, and organizers are still working on the arrangement.

“We have talked about where we think we’ll probably put at midfield –and have guests sit on the west side of the stands," she said.  "That’s the newly renovated section of memorial stadium.  At least at this point - It’s all contingent on who our commencement speaker might be.”

Memorial Stadium will also hold one commencement ceremony, instead of the tradition of two separate indoor events in the morning and afternoon.

And Wilhelm-Barr said commencement will proceed that morning, rain or shine. She says unit convocation ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. that day, and will not allow for weather delays, unless conditions become dangerous.