University administrators are expecting a record turnout for Monumental Celebration this year after it came close to extinction as a way to cut costs for Commencement weekend.
The Commencement Committee recommended suspending University support for Monumental Celebration in January, to offset the costs of graduation on the Ellipse. However, GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg pledged to find University funding to host the gala on Commencement-eve at Union Station.
“President Trachtenberg has made it possible to hold the party this year in addition to holding the Commencement ceremony on the Ellipse,” said Lynn Shipway, director of University Special Events.
Shipway said she expects a record turnout this year as a response to increased publicity for the event.
“We have seen a record-setting increase in ticket sales, and reservations continue to come in,” she said.
She said the event may sell out for the first time in recent memory.
“We will make every effort to accommodate everyone, but even Union Station has its limits,” Shipway said.
This year’s turnout will affect the future of Monumental Celebrations at GW, according to Trachtenberg.
“In the event that we do not see a substantial increase in participation at the party this year, we will either have to raise the ticket price to cover actual costs, or cancel, or reconfigure the party in future years,” Shipway said.
Seniors who purchased tickets before March 31 paid $30 per ticket. 1998 graduates who purchase tickets now will pay $40 for themselves and $45 for guests. Shipway said the price is slightly higher this year, but is still substantially less than the cost of the party.
Senior Stacey Miller said she doesn’t mind the price.
“I’m okay paying that much for a one-time event,” she said. “I just think it will be a nice event to remember about GW.”
The celebration will be held from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. The Main Hall and East Hall of Union Station will be closed off for the party.
The gala will feature live music and dancing. Other entertainment will include magicians, face-painters, fortune tellers, caricature artists, balloon sculptors and “some other surprises,” according to Shipway.
“I have planned to attend this celebration since my freshman year,” said senior Jessica Lee. “It will be my last chance to party with all of my college friends before leaving GW.”
Seniors may reserve tickets by returning the Monumental Celebration invitation in their graduation materials package. Tickets also can be reserved at Rice Hall room 504 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or at the GW Bookstore during regalia pick-up.