Academics Research Offices Sports Arts Map & Tour
ArchiveExpert AdviceThe Education of Jenny GrendelProject ClosureFrom the Front LinesDriving Motivation
Ohio in Focus
Commencment Countdown
  < Back to Front Door
Related Links/Info


Past Commencement Speakers
Video of Past Commencement Speakers


Giving to Ohio

Over the Phone:
1-800-592-FUND (3863)


On the Web:
Campaign Giving

By Mail:
The Ohio University Foundation
P.O Box 869
Athens, OH 45701-0869

Extra, Extra!

A special commencement edition of Outlook celebrating the class of 2003 and this year's outstanding faculty and staff will hit the streets on June 13. Included will be a message from President Robert Glidden, the year's top stories and profiles of several notable students. Commencement ceremonies will be June 7 (Osteopathic Medicine), June 13 (graduate) and June 14 (undergraduate).


June 13, 2003
Ceremony takes months of planning for proper execution
By Breana Krotz

The commencement ceremony not only concludes a chapter of Ohio University students' journeys, but it also signals the start of new adventures. Some graduates are filled with the excitement and anticipation a job far from home brings. Others search for the same answers sought the first time they walked across the College Green.

Wherever their diploma may lead them, graduates leave the University better prepared for whatever follows. Often overlooked, however, are the myriad steps taken to ensure the rite of passage that is commencement takes place without a hitch.Video - Click to Play

Preparation for an event of this magnitude begins well before the joyous day. The planning process occurs over the course of the previous school year; however, the two weeks prior to commencement becomes crunch time for many University constituencies.

Two weeks Prior to Commencement

Over the next two weeks, staff from Athletics, Custodial Services, Public Occasions, Baker University Center Catering, the Ohio University Police Department, a moving crew and many other departments will work together planning the event. Workers clear many areas within the Convocation Center to store of tables, chairs and other items used for the ceremony. They also lay green carpet on the arena floor, beginning additional preparations.

One-and-a-half Weeks Prior to Commencement

Many Ohio University departments begin to erect several vital pieces inside The Convo. The carpentry shop sets up stages and hangs green drapes along the bleachers. The moving crew sets up choral risers, stairs, commencement thrones and Ohio University banners. After the stage is in place, the carpet and tile shop lays and then presses its carpeting. The Office of Public Occasions then sets up the event office, the ceremony's control room. Then, technical staff works to adjust lighting and sound.

Five Days Prior to Commencement

The moving crew has a full day ahead of itself, setting up a variety of tables, chairs and other props. They will also place the president's table and podium, as well as the Ohio University seal. Workers also position each of the approximately 1,450 chairs used for the ceremonies. The Office of Public Occasions helps dress the stage with furniture and props.

Four Days Prior to Commencement

With most of the furniture and settings in place, the moving crew and various officials begin to focus on other details, such as band instruments and music-stand lights. Outside vendors begin to trickle into The Convo to install decorative features. Finally, the upholstery shop begins the large task of steaming drapes and stage skirting.

Three Days Prior to Commencement

Steaming continues, while platform rehearsal and production work continues.

Two Days Prior to Commencement

Countless vendors continue to stock the Convocation Center, installing tents, outdoor restrooms and flowers. Music and technical rehearsals, as well as production work, keep various departments busy. The custodial staff rope off various seating areas, while 7,000 programs are delivered to the Convocation Center as ushers are being trained. Baker University Center Catering begins their preparation.

One Day Prior to Commencement

Friday runs a bit differently than the other days of preparation. In the morning hours, the University's graduate students march as officials smooth out any final details. Ohio University's police department erects parking barricades at 6 a.m. Baker University Center Catering arrives to station water and diabetic kits at two entrances. Caps and gowns arrive, as do both the tech crew and ushers. The doors open at 8:45 a.m.; the graduate ceremony begins at 10 a.m. After the graduate ceremony, preparation for the undergraduate commencement continues. Workers distribute programs equally between the entrances and seating within the arena.

Commencement Day

The time of celebration has finally arrived! The day begins early for event organizers and, after the first ceremony is finished, they must regroup for round two. Ohio University has two commencement ceremonies. Each college is assigned to either the morning or afternoon processions.

2:10 a.m. Workers transport caps and gowns

6 a.m. OUPD erects barricades

7 a.m. Baker Center Catering arrives to once again set up water and diabetic kit stations, ushers arrive and staff check-in begins

8 a.m. Doors open as Ohio University Police officers are posted inside the Convocation Center

9 a.m. Wind ensemble arrives

10 a.m. Morning commencement

1 p.m. Preparation for the second ceremony begins, including cap and gown transportation, program placement and overall cleanup

1:30 p.m. Doors reopen

2:30 p.m. Afternoon commencement

A large portion of planning and preparation goes into a day that quickly ends; however, commencement creates a lasting imprint in the minds of proud students and their families. Many attendees do not realize the tremendous amount of hard work and dedication Ohio University staffers put into the event.

Whether students feel it's the final page in their college scrapbooks or the doorway into a world filled with opportunities, commencement celebrates their successes and prepares them for life's next adventures.

Breana Krotz is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing


  Ohio University - Athens, Ohio 45701 - Tel: (740) 593-1000


Please send your questions or comments about this Web site by going to

Copyright © 2008 Ohio University. All Rights Reserved.