Though graduates are allotted six tickets for Sunday’s Commencement ceremony on the Mall, University officials said they are not necessary unless the event is moved indoors.
The graduation ceremony for all of GW’s schools is held on the Mall because it can accommodate more than 20,000 people – the expected turnout for Commencement.
“There are schools across the country that only hand out two or three tickets, so we’re lucky we have a venue this large,” said Kathryn Bugg, executive director of University events.
Bugg said tickets would not be checked at the National Mall unless seats filled up very quickly, but added that people should still carry them in case the event is moved.
“I think it’s safe, (but) don’t leave your tickets at home,” she said.
If Commencement is moved indoors to the Verizon Center, only four of the six tickets allotted to each family will be accepted, Bugg said.
“Commencement is on the National Mall so it is a public venue,” University Spokesperson Tracy Schario said. “We have people who are walking by visiting the Smithsonian museums that stop and watch our Commencement for awhile.”
The ceremony is generally held outside, rain or shine, and is only moved to the Verizon Center in the case of life-threatening weather or an emergency, University officials said. The University pays about $250,000 to rent the Mall for the day.
The Commencement ceremony was revived in 1992. It has been held indoors once, when it was moved due to life-threatening weather in 1995. At the time, the Verizon Center had not yet been built and there was no backup location, prompting a much smaller ceremony in the Smith Center.
Between four and eight tickets are given to each family for the individual school graduations earlier in the weekend. Schario said tickets are especially important for the larger schools, like the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. These ceremonies are held in Lisner Auditorium and the Smith Center, where tickets are checked at the door.
Those who do not have tickets to the smaller ceremonies can watch live feeds of the events on television screens in the Jack Morton Auditorium and Duqu?s Hall.
Bugg said, “People sweet-talking the ushers could potentially be unfair for those who actually have tickets.”
This article has been changed to reflect the following correction: (May 12, 2008)
The Hatchet erroneously reported that Kathryn Bugg said, “I think it’s safe to leave your tickets at home.” Bugg actually said, “I think it’s safe, don’t leave your tickets at home.”