USD graduation ceremonies multiply; Dome roof replacement moves commencements to Slagle Hall

USD graduation ceremonies multiply; Dome roof replacement moves commencements to Slagle Hall A man operates a tractor and loader to help build up an ever-growing stockpile of gravel west of the DakotaDome. The gravel will be used by Harris Construction Company, Lawrence, KS, and other workers involved in the DakotaDome roof replacement project. "In order to get the cranes close enough to the building, they (Harris Construction) need to build seven or eight platform ramps out over the moat and up near the building so the cranes can run out on that and get close to the building and set the steel," said Ken Schmidt, director of planning and construction in The University of South Dakota's Facilities Management Department. Schmidt said workers will get full access to the DakotaDome in early April. Harris Construction may begin some preparatory work outside the building in March. by M. Jill Karolevitz Traditional pomp and circumstance will surround graduation ceremonies at The University of South Dakota this spring � not once, but four times � on May 12.

Because the DakotaDome will be closed from April through August as its roof is replaced, university officials have chosen Slagle Hall as the venue for spring commencement. Its size, however, has also forced a change in scheduling.

Slagle Hall has 2,221 seats, compared to 10,000 in the DakotaDome, �so we will have four 90-minute graduation ceremonies this year at USD,� said University Vice President Roger Kozak. �We will also have two speakers, USD alumni Jim and Jeanne Gustafson, to share the responsibility of addressing the graduates.�

Master�s and doctoral degree candidates, along with students from the School of Medicine and School of Law, will cross the stage at 8 a.m. Later in the morning, at 10 a.m., graduates from the College of Fine Arts and School of Education will receive their diplomas.

Afternoon commencement ceremonies begin with the College of Arts and Sciences at 1 p.m. The day will conclude with the awarding of diplomas to students in the School of Business and associate degrees at 3 p.m.

Slagle Hall�s size limitations will also affect the number of guests students invite to the culmination of their college days.

�All students participating in graduation will initially be allowed up to six tickets for friends and relatives,� Kozak said. �After we determine the number of seats we will need, and if there are any left, students who need more tickets can request them on a first-come, first-served basis.

�If we fill all the seats, we will broadcast the ceremony to Farber Hall and two large classrooms in Old Main,� he added. �The people will not witness the ceremony firsthand, but they will hear all the contents.�

Kozak noted that despite the challenges of finding a suitable graduation site and scheduling difficulties, it is important that USD students graduate on the USD campus.

�We could have held the ceremonies in Yankton, or Sioux Falls, or Sioux City, but graduation is the culminating moment of our students� four years on campus, and it was important that their degree be awarded at The University of South Dakota,� he said.

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