In-person commencement returns this spring

Photograph courtesy of Lewis & Clark

Lewis & Clark’s 149th Annual Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for May 7. This year’s commencement will be held in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, located next to the Moda Center. According to the Undergraduate Registrar’s office, 419 students have applied for Spring 2022 graduation or have already graduated in Fall 2021.

Director of Student Engagement and Special Events Tamara Ko is responsible for coordinating commencement activities.

“This will be our first in-person commencement since 2019, and our return to the Moda Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum since 2018,” Ko said via email. “We hope that it will be very similar in celebratory nature to previous commencements while still being respectful of people’s comfort levels in regards to COVID-19.”

According to Ko, the pandemic is still at the forefront of the institution’s minds as they plan the event.

“We are doing our best with working with our students and colleagues, and just keeping an open mind and always trying to plan ahead for different scenarios,” Ko said.

In accordance with the Oregon State mandate, neither masks nor vaccination will be required for attendees. However, the graduation webpage states, “While they are not required, we strongly encourage attendees to be vaccinated and wear masks for the betterment of the community.”

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, graduates are allowed to distribute up to eight tickets, unlike students pre-pandemic who were given unlimited tickets. The graduation planning committee, comprised of Ko and Graduate Assistant Jasmine Torres ’19, sent out a Google Form in March which allowed students to transfer tickets to one another.

Commencement will feature two speeches, one from a notable figure and the other from a student representative. The Office of the Dean of the College and representatives of the senior class select potential speakers a year in advance and invite them to campus for the upcoming commencement. When a decision is reached, the President will publicly announce the selection. Former commencement speakers include Dr. Anthony Fauci in 2004, Michele Norris, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” in 2017 and author Maria Semple in 2019.

Student speakers competed for the chance to be selected on March 14 in Smith Hall. The senior class was invited via email several weeks earlier to submit a speech. Speeches were given in random order based on a number drawing to a panel of eight to 10 faculty and other members of the community. After speaking, participants were able to listen to the other candidates. The student speaker is also expected to be announced later this month.

Additionally, the “Senior Social” will be held on April 23 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Punchbowl Social in Portland and the “Last (Senior) Supper” will take place on April 28 from 3 to 5 p.m. The location of the supper is still to be determined. Additionally, many departments are hosting their own senior celebrations near the end of April.

On May 6, the Phi Beta Kappa induction will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Smith Hall, the Baccalaureate Ceremony is from 1 to 2 p.m. in Agnes Flanagan Chapel and finally the Honors Convocation is from 3 to 5 p.m. in Agnes Flanagan Chapel.

The Veterans Memorial Coliseum is a 12,000-seat arena located on the east side of Portland. Opened in 1960, the Coliseum is the current home of the Western Hockey League’s Winterhawks and the original court of the Trail Blazers. It was also the location of President Obama’s first campaign rally in Portland. The Beatles, Ray Charles, Cher, Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Queen and Jimi Hendrix are among some of the performers to grace the venue’s stage.

Cap and gown pick-up is on April 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Smith Hall. All graduates must arrive at the venue at 1 p.m. Bags are not allowed into the venue. For all other security concerns, visit the Veterans Memorial Coliseum’s website. LC’s commencement website features lineup instructions.

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