UNL commencement exercises for 2,750 set May 3 and 4

Released on 04/24/2013, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Friday, May. 3, 2013, through May. 4, 2013

Lincoln, Neb., April 24th, 2013 —
Donna Dudney
Donna Dudney
Lance Morgan
Lance Morgan
Ben Nelson
Ben Nelson
Roberta Ramo
Roberta Ramo

            University of Nebraska-Lincoln commencement exercises for graduate and baccalaureate degrees will be conducted in a completely different atmosphere May 3 and 4 when UNL distributes an estimated 2,750 diplomas.

            For what is believed to be the first time, the degrees will be conferred in Memorial Stadium, with master's and doctoral degrees awarded in a 4 p.m. ceremony on May 3 and baccalaureate degrees in a 9:30 a.m. ceremony on May 4. The College of Law's commencement exercises are scheduled for 3 p.m. May 4 in the Lied Center for performing arts.

            From 1976 through last December, commencement ceremonies were conducted in the Bob Devaney Sports Center, but it is unavailable because of construction, as is the case with the new Pinnacle Bank Arena. Prior to 1976, commencement exercises were conducted in the Coliseum, Pershing Auditorium and other locations, including outdoors on the mall east of Memorial Stadium. But there's no record of commencement being held in Memorial Stadium, said Annette Wetzel, special events coordinator for UNL and the author of a master's thesis on the university's commencements.

            The May 1969 commencement was scheduled for Memorial Stadium, with President Richard Nixon as the speaker to mark the centennial of the charter of the University of Nebraska. Nixon had to cancel, however, and the ceremony was moved to Pershing Auditorium.

            Former U.S. Sen. and Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson will deliver the address at the baccalaureate commencement, where Lance Morgan, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk Inc. will receive the Builder Award, recognizing his service to the state and university. Ho-Chunk Inc. is the award-winning economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

            Donna Dudney, associate professor of finance and director of the new Honors Academy in the UNL College of Business Administration, will give the address at the graduate ceremony on May 3.

            Roberta Ramo, the first woman to serve as president of the American Bar Association (1995-96), will give the address at the College of Law ceremony.

            All ceremonies are free and open to the public and no tickets are required. The ceremonies will Web-streamed live on the UNL website, http://www.unl.edu.

            Public entrance to Memorial Stadium for the ceremonies will be through Gates 3 and 11 at the southwest and northwest corners. All seating will be in the East Stadium, with the graduates in the center sections. The stage will be set up at field level.

            Because of security concerns, parcels, handbags and camera bags will be subject to search.

            Commencement guests may bring individual seatbacks into the Stadium. Seatbacks will not be available for rental at the ceremony, and graduating students will not be allowed to carry in seatbacks. No umbrellas will be permitted in the stadium. Concession stands will be open to sell water. Closed captioning for people with hearing impairment will be provided through the HuskerVision screens.

            UNL parking lots in the stadium area will be open free of charge. Handicapped parking will be available in stadium Lot 4 at the south end of Memorial Stadium, T Street and Stadium Drive.

            The variable in all the stadium ceremonies, of course, is the weather.

            If weather conditions compel a delay or cancellation of ceremonies, an announcement will be made as soon as possible through traditional and social media outlets, according to Jennifer Verhein, director of graduation services in the Office of the University Registrar. Verhein said any weather delay will be limited to one hour. If weather precludes an outdoor ceremony, degrees will be conferred and diplomas will be distributed in the Hawks Championship Center, the indoor practice facility northeast of Memorial Stadium that will also serve as the marshalling area for graduates pre- and post-commencement.

            Verhein urged the public to check the UNL website and social media sites, and local media outlets on commencement day for information about possible weather-related delays or cancellations. Decisions regarding weather delay or cancellation will be made by the Office of the Chancellor.

            Detailed information about commencement plans can be found at http://commencement.unl.edu.

Writer: Tom Simons, University Communications, 402-472-8514