Ticket prices for Monumental Celebration have been raised by $10 as University officials work to finalize plans for the event.
Prices were increased from $30 to $40 because of budgetary constraints, administrators said. The price hike was attributed to an overwhelming demand by students to hold Commencement on the Ellipse instead the MCI Center, a more expensive option.
“We are trying desperately hard not to change the party,” said Lynn Shipway, director of University Special Events. “We are trying to make the party pay for itself this year, but there is a small budget for subsidizing the cost of tickets.”
The price of tickets, which includes the cost of food and entertainment, is $40 for graduating students before March 1, after which the price will be $45. Guests pay $55.
The Commencement Committee advised canceling the celebration last year as part of budget cuts needed to keep the ceremony on the Ellipse, but it was overruled by GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.
“We always save the best party for last,” Shipway said.
The annual event is held the evening before the Commencement ceremony on the Ellipse. Shipway said she hopes the Monumental Celebration will be a “party for everyone at the University,” including faculty, staff, students and their families.
“We try to make each year slightly different so that the party will appeal to everybody,” Shipway said.
The black-tie optional party, expected to draw 2,000 guests, will be held at Union Station.
Jessica Carlson, assistant director of Special Events, said the Monumental Celebration “gives a chance for parents to meet other parents, and for students to celebrate together before graduation.”
“The Monumental Celebration is the last night students have to celebrate together before graduation, so the event is always special,” Carlson said.
Carlson, who is also a Commencement weekend coordinator, said graduating students look forward to the event as a GW tradition.
Musical entertainment for the evening will feature Odyssey, a local band popular for its dance music. Magicians, caricaturists, balloon artists and fortune tellers also are scheduled.
Softer live music will be played in the dining area where an extensive dessert buffet will be provided, Shipway said.
Shipway said she hopes the ticket cost will not interfere with attendance. Students are encouraged to purchase tickets early to take advantage of the reduced price and aid coordinators in anticipating attendance numbers, she said.
Tickets can be purchased in Rice Hall 104 or by calling 994-1600 for credit card purchases.