E-mail message to the
UW-Green Bay student community
March 19, 2003
In case of rain:
Chancellor Bruce Shepard shared the following
e-mail message with UW-Green Bay's 5,300 students concerning changes to one
of the foremost traditions at any university: spring commencement.
back. Hope, as you return from spring break and read this, that you have had
a good time, finding opportunities to relax and catch up with family and friends
even as, I know, many of you also have demanding employment and other obligations.
I am so proud of you, our UWGB students, and the dedication you bring to your
studies - I brag about you all the time - but I also am confident you know how
to have fun and sure hope you were able to do so over the break.
I am writing to update you on a question that several students
have raised with me. It concerns Spring Commencement. For years, the practice
has been to have Commencement outside in the spring. I am told (I have not actually
participated in an outside Spring Commencement yet) that it is a beautiful ceremony
and a beautiful time of the year to celebrate what is, in the life of a university,
our happiest day of the year.
Then there is the fly in the ointment. What happens if it
Past practice has been to move indoors to our Weidner Center.
It's a beautiful site but, once all graduates are seated, there is limited seating
for guests. Last year, each graduate was given 4 tickets for use by guests in
the event of rain. This year, because of an unusually large graduating class,
it looks like each guest would only get 2 tickets. That is not right.
The ceremony has been moved because of rain, I am told, twice
in 15 years. Six out of seven times, it's a great experience. But, about one
in seven times, there are some very disappointed family members who must watch
the graduation on big screen TV's. This would be particularly bad should it
rain this spring.
&nbps; What to do? We have been looking at many options: Resch Center,
Brown County Arena, Phoenix Sports Center, tents or awnings, ....
Some options were eliminated: Resch Center is not available,
Phoenix Sports Center does not really add any significant seating capacity beyond
that of the Weidner, tents and awnings would be quite expensive and would not
protect all the guests. That left two viable options:
1. Brown County Arena as the site rain or shine. (Using it
only as a backup for rain would create all sorts of last minute confusion in
getting everybody to the correct site and also would add greatly to the cost
since it is quite expensive to set up on campus and also rent the arena.)
2. Usual approach but with a new wrinkle. We would have commencement
outside if weather permitted. In the event of rain, there would be two identical
ceremonies in the Weidner. (Lots of bigger campuses use two or more identical
ceremonies.) Outside or inside with two ceremonies, we would still fit the ceremony
(or ceremonies) in the noon to 4:30 time slot. Advantage of the dual ceremonies
is that number of guest tickets would more than double (because seats that would
have been used by half the graduates would become available for guests). Each
graduate would receive 5 tickets for guests, and there would be a pool of additional
tickets available for those who needed them.
I consulted with SGA leadership. I have been strongly advised
that option 2 is preferred. Graduates want to be on their campus and, if at
all possible, outside. I heard of comments like: "Hey, I had my high school
graduation in Brown County Arena, and I don't want my feet sticking to the floors
We will follow this recommendation. The ceremony will be
outside and on campus. Details on plans in the event of rain will be sent to
each graduate but will include dual ceremonies in order to increase the number
of guest tickets available to each graduate.
Just wanted to let you know what was happening. Here's hoping
for good weather. And, for completion of the Sports/Events Center and the much
greater flexibility that will bring.
Again, welcome back
Office of the Chancellor
David A. Cofrin Library, Suite 810
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
Chancellor's Web Manager