Rain or shine, construction or not, Kansas University's commencement will invoke the traditional walk down Campanile Hill and into Memorial Stadium.
Right now, a flurry of back-hoes, jackhammers and welders are throwing dirt, concrete and sparks through the guts of Kansas University's Memorial Stadium.
Prospective graduates and audience members preparing for this spring's KU commencement need not fret. The ceremony isn't going anywhere; it will begin at 2:30 p.m. May 17 in the stadium.
``Despite the construction work in the stadium, it will be a traditional KU commencement ceremony, with the students passing through the Campanile, down the Hill and into the stadium,'' said Jeff Weinberg, assistant to the chancellor. ``It will not be quite as convenient for some of our university guests, because the restrooms in the stadium will not be available.''
Portable restrooms will be available, he added.
But the construction is causing other setbacks. The confusion in the stadium is making it difficult to determine where everyone will sit.
``They're doing some massive construction work,'' Weinberg said. ``Some of the seats are being removed so the construction work can take place.''
As a result, maps printed on the pamphlets and sent to graduates and parents may not be current when May 17 rolls around. University Relations publications coordinator Julie Swords said that gateways for entering the stadium, and available concession spots, are changing.
This much they know: The platform party and band will be on-stage on the field, and students and audience members will be seated in the stands.
Prior to the ceremony, graduates are invited to a box lunch, planned from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway's residence, ``The Outlook,'' 1532 Lilac.
A special program involving the presentation of the class banner and class gift will be at 11:30 a.m.
The lunch replaces the usual commencement breakfast in the Kansas Union.
``We have made a significant attempt to make this new event an event attended by medical and law school graduates,'' Weinberg said. ``This will
See Commencement, page 6
give everyone an opportunity to bond.''
Parking for the lunch will be available between Naismith Hall and Robinson Gymnasium, on the south side of campus. Buses will run continuously starting at 10 a.m., taking people back to the lot after commencement.
A lift-van also will be available.
Otherwise, free parking is available throughout campus, and buses will run continuously from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Rain will move the chancellor's event to the Kansas Union.
In the event of inclement weather in the afternoon, graduation will be pushed back two hours, to 4:30 p.m. If it's still raining, the ceremony will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
The last rain postponement time after that is 9 a.m. May 18.
Announcements will be made via local radio and television stations, and through KU Information, (785) 864-3506.
Graduation information, including reservation of cap and gown, is also available over the Internet, www.urc.ukans.edu/commence/commencement.html.
``People expect it,'' Swords said. ``They get used to Internet access at the university.''
-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is email@example.com.