A record graduating class and a high-profile commencement speaker has UTM administrators scrambling to accommodate the crowds.
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has been selected as the keynote speaker for spring commencement, which will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 13. The Elam Center arena and Skyhawk Fieldhouse will open at 9 a.m.
To control access to the Elam Center, each graduating student will receive up to six complimentary tickets to admit guests.
Chancellor Nick Dunagan said that the change was difficult, but nessessary.
“This is something that no one really likes that we’re having to do because of increased numbers of graduating seniors and grad students and the new seating configuration in the Elam Center,” Dunagan said.
Graduating students will receive their tickets at the Grand Finale Walk on Wednesday, May 3, and later that afternoon at the Student Commencement Practice in the Elam Center.
For more information about the Grand Finale event, contact Charley Deal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (731) 881-7610.
Tickets for graduating students will remain available in the Office of Academic Records until 5 p.m. Friday, May 12.
“We felt like if we didn’t improve the process, it could be very difficult to ensure that the parents of all the graduates would be able to enter the arena,” Dunagan said.
A limited number of additional complimentary tickets will be available to graduating students (up to an additional six tickets) and to the campus and general public (up to two per person) on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Wednesday, May 3, in the Office of Academic Records.
Any tickets not claimed by 5 p.m. Friday, May 12, will be distributed to the general public at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 13, at a designated area outside the Elam Center before the commencement ceremony.
Overflow seating with a video and audio feed of the ceremony will be provided in Skyhawk Fieldhouse for all guests without tickets. A reception will be held in the Fieldhouse after the ceremony for all in attendance.
Graduating students will receive information about tickets in the Senior Letter from the Office of Academic Records and in the Grand Finale Celebration Letter from the Office of Alumni Relations.