Weather forecast ushers changes to commencement plans

With inclement weather in the forecast, UNL is changing plans for May 3-4 commencement exercises in Memorial Stadium.

The graduate commencement exercises for master’s and doctoral candidates on May 3 will be held separately indoors. The May 4 undergraduate ceremony will be abbreviated but remain in Memorial Stadium.

Doctoral hooding and commencement will be at 4 p.m. May 3 at Kimball Recital Hall. A separate master’s degree commencement ceremony will be at 7:30 p.m. May 3 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

Both ceremonies will be live-streamed at Each student will be photographed as they receive their degree.

For the doctoral ceremony, students are asked to check in at 3 p.m. in 132 Westbrook Music Building. The procession, under the direction of university marshalls, will begin at 3:50 p.m. for the 4 p.m. doctoral hooding and commencement in Kimball Hall. Because of space limitations, graduates are asked to limit attending guests to no more than five. Doors open at 3 p.m. for guest seating in the Kimball Hall auditorium. Tickets are not required.

For the 7:30 p.m. master’s ceremony, students are asked to check in to the Johnny Carson Theater on the west side of the Lied Center under the red awning at 6:30 p.m. The doors of the Lied Center auditorium also open at 6:30 p.m. for guest seating. No tickets will be required.

Parking permits for UNL parking lots, including yellow commencement parking permits, will be valid in any “A” (red) parking lot or garage on the UNL campus beginning at 1 p.m. May 3 as a convenience for those attending the graduate ceremonies. Shuttle buses will be running from the 17th and R Streets and Stadium parking garages to 12th and R streets for guest drop off and pickup. UNL parking maps are available at

The undergraduate commencement will begin at 9:30 a.m. May 4 in Memorial Stadium.

Graduating students are asked to check in wearing their cap and gown at the Hawks Championship Center between 8 and 8:30 a.m. After checking in, students will receive their diplomas from their college deans. Each graduate will be professionally photographed as they receive their diploma. Unfortunately, space limitations will not allow guests to accompany graduates into the Hawks Center.

Graduates will then be seated in the reserved areas of sections 3 through 7 of Memorial Stadium by 9:15 a.m. for official conferral of degrees by college. Students will be shown on the HuskerVision screens as degrees are conferred by college.

Former U.S. Sen. and Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson will deliver the commencement address. A Builders Award will be conferred to Lance Morgan, president and chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk Inc. UNL ROTC students receiving military commissions will also be recognized.

The undergraduate ceremony will be live-streamed on the UNL website at

The May 2013 graduating class will recess through the “Tunnel Walk” gates together -- the same gates through which they entered the university for the first time as freshman students at New Student Convocation.

Coffee and hot chocolate will be provided between 8 and 9:30 a.m. for guests, who can enter Memorial Stadium through Gates 3 and 11 to attend the ceremony. Following the event, families are welcome to take photos on the field or the commencement stage.

Graduating students and attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather and wear flat shoes to avoid injury in Memorial Stadium.

UNL officials explored every possible option for an alternative indoor venue for undergraduate commencement, but no venue in Lincoln could accommodate such a large event. Many colleges and universities across the nation routinely hold outdoor commencement ceremonies – this year just happens to include challenging weather as a factor.

“There is no other available venue large enough to accommodate the 1,713 attending graduates and their 14,000 expected guests, even if we divided into two ceremonies,” Chancellor Harvey Perlman said. “This is an unusual circumstance. This may be the only time UNL commencement is held in Memorial Stadium, and this weekend’s weather is forecast to be unseasonably cold and wet.”

Parking is available in campus parking garages. For details and directions, go to

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