Commencement shifts to new venues in 2013

Dec 13th, 2012 | By | Category: 2012, Campus News, Dec. 13, Issue

The renovation of the Devaney Sports Center will shift UNL commencement exercises to three different locations in 2013.

The change is due to a $20 million project that will convert the Huskers’ basketball home since 1976 into a volleyball arena. The renovation is scheduled to begin shortly after the current NCAA basketball season ends. It will be the full-time home for volleyball starting in 2013. UNL has held commencement exercises in the Devaney Center since 1976.

“We will be in a different venue for every commencement in 2013,” said Jennifer Verhein, assistant director of Registration and Records who oversees commencement exercises. “It’s going to be very exciting and include lots of extra planning.”

Memorial Stadium will host spring commencement in May, while August exercises will be in Pershing Center, 226 Centennial Mall South. While negotiations are not complete, Verhein said commencement exercises are expected to return to the Devaney Center in December 2013.

“December and August commencement will fit in the revised Devaney Center,” said Verhein. “However, we will never return there for May commencement exercises. The new site for May will be the Pinnacle Bank Arena.”

The first use of the arena is expected to be in May 2014.

Verhein said her staff is focused on UNL’s graduation ceremonies this week. However, she said there is a buzz about gaining access to Memorial Stadium in May.

“As far as we know, graduation has never been held in Memorial Stadium,” said Verhein. “It’s going to be a real opportunity to do something very creative and give our graduates a very unique experience.”

Plans for May exercises are still being crafted. But Verhein said the initial idea is to have the stage on the east side of the field, graduates seated in front of the stage and in the stands, and graduate families and friends in the stands.

The ceremony will include presentation of both graduate and undergraduate degrees. The stadium screens will also be used. A special music option is also under consideration.

Overall, Verhein said her staff is excited about taking commencement to new locations in 2013.

“We have a whole year of innovation ahead and my entire staff can’t wait to get started,” said Verhein. “They do exceptional work and are always willing to step up because they know how important the spectacle of commencement is to our graduates, families, friends and administrators.

“No matter where we hold commencement, my staff will make it work.”

— Troy Fedderson, University Communications

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