UTSA hasdecided to relocate the venue of spring commencement on May 13 to theAlamodome. Previously, graduation ceremonies were held at the ConvocationCenter on campus.
TheAlamodome has a capacity of 65,000 people, compared to the 4,000 seats in theConvocation Center. UTSA is “graduating more students but the Convo isn’tgrowing,” Chief Communication Officer Joseph Izbrand stated.
UTSA’sGraduation Coordination and the Events Planning committee decided to change thelocation.
After theuniversity started surveying the graduation increase two years ago, resultsshowed that the number of graduates attending the spring ceremonies are doublethe attendance of the fall commencement.
Previously,the ceremonies were spread across a minimum of three days and were dividedbased on the amount of graduating students per college. Typically, each large collegesuch as the College of Liberal and Fine Arts held their own ceremony. Now, allcolleges will be represented in two ceremonies on the same day.
Thecommittee examined the various options regarding how to best suit the needs ofthe graduating students and their families. One option presented was to expandthe entire commencement time frame and to reduce the number of graduatesattending each ceremony. Lengthening the commencement would have extended theprevious three day time frame to a possible time frame of four or five days.This option was outweighed by the choice to condense the length and allow for alarger audience in the fewest number of days.
Toaccommodate a larger audience, a larger venue was the necessary solution.Because the Alamodome hosts UTSA football games, the decision to holdgraduation in the same venue was the logical conclusion.
The capacityof the Convocation Center limited the number of guests a graduate was allowedto invite. A lottery for extra tickets was held for students who wished toinvite more than the allotted number of guests, which varied depending on thecollege and semester.
Further,parking and traffic will now be a concern for some graduates. The event’sparking fee will cost $10 per vehicle. However, these fees are “outside of [UTSA’s]control,” Izbrand said.
Seniorhistory major and soon-to-be-graduate Alisa Hartsell walked the stage for herhigh school graduation at the Alamodome and believes that the venue isappropriate and accommodating.
“I have a really large extended family, and it wouldbe wonderful not to have to fight over tickets for them to be at the ceremony,”said Hartsell. “If we can shuttlepeople to and from football games, we can figure out something.”
Jose Carlos delaGarza Tamez, a senior history major, disagreed with the change and reconsideredhis decision to attend the ceremony.
“(I) attendedUTSA, not University of the Alamodome,” he said.
Tamez alsoexplained that the larger venue is a physical challenge for elder familymembers, and—ultimately—troublesome to make the needed arrangements.
Thesuccess of the May ceremonies’ relocation will influence the final changes toall future UTSA commencement ceremonies. The details of the two ceremonies are currently tentative.Following the Feb. 15 graduation application deadline, however, the final timeswill be announced.