The University of Notre Dame will move future commencement ceremonies from the Joyce Center arena to Notre Dame Stadium in order to accommodate more family members and friends of graduates, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president, announced Wednesday (Oct. 7).
In a letter to Notre Dame students, faculty and staff, Father Jenkins said renovations to the Joyce Center that will decrease seating by about 2,000 prompted the change to the stadium, which holds more than 80,000 people. Guest seating in the Joyce Center would have decreased to two tickets per graduate, but it will be unlimited in the stadium.
“Rather than limit the number of tickets available, forcing families to choose which grandparents and siblings can attend, we want to welcome everyone to share in this proud moment,” Father Jenkins said in the letter. “I am confident the increased opportunity for attendance will outweigh the potential weather drawbacks.”
Other universities in similar climates regularly hold their ceremonies in outdoor stadiums. Notre Dame’s ceremony will be held on the third Sunday in May, rain or shine, with only severe weather moving it indoors.
Father Jenkins also announced that the University for the first time will hold separate “diploma ceremonies” so that each graduate “hears his or her name called and receives a diploma and well-deserved recognition on stage.”
Under the new schedule, the University Commencement Ceremony will occur on Sunday morning and the undergraduate diploma ceremonies for each college and school will be that afternoon. The Commencement Mass and graduate and professional school ceremonies will be held on Saturday, and other events will be scheduled on Friday and Saturday.
About 75 events are usually scheduled for the three days of commencement weekend. A preliminary schedule, answers to questions and further details will be posted over the next few months on the University’s commencement website.