Clemson graduation ceremonies to move to Greenville in August

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CLEMSON — Clemson University will move its graduation ceremonies to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville beginning with the Aug. 7 ceremony later this year and continuing through the August 2016 graduation.

Major renovation to Littlejohn Coliseum, the traditional location for the event, makes the move necessary.

“While Littlejohn Coliseum is undergoing renovation, we are pleased that the Bon Secours Wellness Arena will provide us with a top notch venue for Clemson graduation ceremonies beginning in August 2015 through August 2016,” said Robert Jones, Clemson’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

“Clemson is experiencing physical growth, and with that comes a few temporary inconveniences, but we will do what Clemson Tigers always do and make the most of the experience,” he said. “We are excited to bring the Clemson family east and turn Greenville orange for a few days.”

While the temporary change will pose a few logistical challenges for the school, administrators like Calvin Becker, Clemson’s associate registrar, emphasize that it still will be a Clemson graduation.

“Traditions that are uniquely Clemson, like walking across the stage to shake hands with the president, will not go away,” he said. “We will be working closely with the graduation ceremony committee, which consists of students, faculty and staff, to make it so.”

Bon Secours Wellness Arena was the nearest indoor facility that could accommodate the number of people who attend the ceremonies without limiting the number of guests each graduate can bring. Memorial Stadium was not considered because the graduation venue can’t be weather-dependent (a 2002 graduation ceremony in the stadium was rained out). Other venues on the Clemson campus were carefully considered, but none have sufficient capacity to accommodate graduates and their guests under one roof, even with multiple ceremonies.

Registrar Debra Sparacino added that holding the event in Greenville offers some exciting opportunities for the school.

“The ‘Well’ is recently renovated, has more than enough space to serve our needs and is convenient to guests traveling in for the ceremonies,” she said. “It will give us the opportunity to strengthen our ties in Greenville, particularly with our Greenville One, CU-ICAR and University Center students. Our graduates and their guests will have many options for lodging and may take advantage of more than 100 restaurants within the downtown Greenville area. Despite being temporarily away from our true Clemson home, we will work to ensure that our most important academic ceremonies retain the special traditions that bind our Clemson family.”

Clemson Athletics also announced Wednesday that the Clemson’s men’s basketball team will play its 2015-16 schedule at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The women’s basketball and volleyball games will be in Jervey Gymnasium.

Other Littlejohn Coliseum events will be moved by Student Affairs staff to appropriate locations.

The Registrar’s website will provide additional details about graduation as they become available.

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