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2016 Commencement Statement

The purpose of this message is to confirm and to clarify the decision to relocate tonight’s Deree Commencement from the Stadium to the Deree Gym and to make you aware of special provisions that are being implemented based on recent communication with the Deree Student Government to address what we understand to be the primary student concern: the accommodation of as many guests as possible in the Commencement location. As I explained orally to graduates yesterday the reasons for the shift in location are:

  1. Personal Safety. Given the forecasted possibility of rain and thunder storms as well as the extensive electrical wiring under the outdoor carpet in the Stadium, we have both a moral and legal duty to assure the safety and security of our Commencement participants and guests.
  2. Assuring the Completion of the Ceremony. Even assuming the avoidance of an incident of personal safety, we learned from last year’s Pierce graduation that rain can destroy the event. Unlike last year’s Pierce graduation (one-third the size of Deree), a mid-ceremony shift of the Deree Commencement is not logistically possible.

We waited until the last feasible time (i.e. late Friday afternoon) to confirm that the latest weather forecasts still included the possibility of rain and thunderstorms. As of Saturday morning, we no longer have the physical and technical capability to relocate back to the Stadium. Therefore, tonight’s Commencement can only take place in the Deree Gym.

In communication with Philippos Saccopoulos, President of the Deree Student Government, we are taking the following steps to ameliorate this situation as much as possible:

  1. 400 Extra Seats. Beyond the four seats per graduate already distributed, we are making available an additional 400 seats to accommodate the needs of graduates with larger guest requirements. Priority will be given to immediate family members, elderly and individuals traveling from outside of Athens.
  2. Student Government Initiative. The Student Government will be reaching out to graduates this afternoon to coordinate requests for additional tickets for seats in the Deree Gym. As explained yesterday, we will also provide for viewing of the Commencement at several points throughout the campus (e.g. Upper Level Library, 7th Level Auditorium).

I appreciate very much the understanding of both graduates and guests under these exceptional circumstances.