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A Change of Venue for Commencement

Friday, September 20, 2019

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Dear Tulane Community:
 
This week, the Commencement Committee announced to students and parents that Tulane's 2020 Commencement will be held on May 16 in Yulman Stadium, rather than the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This move was necessary because the Superdome will be undergoing renovations and is unavailable for our annual celebration of academic achievement. I understand that there are concerns about this move – including the weather, accommodating elderly guests and more. I apologize for any inconvenience and distress this change may be causing. Rest assured, we are totally dedicated and focused on making sure this will be the best Commencement ever. The Class of 2020 and their families deserve nothing less.
 
As you might have guessed, we explored every possible alternate location in New Orleans, including the Smoothie King Center and the Convention Center, both of which were already booked. In addition, we want to continue to ensure that our graduates are able to celebrate their wonderful achievements with all of their families and friends. Other venues in the city are far too small for us to host a ceremony of this size, which would mean that we wouldn't be able to accommodate all of the family and friends who wish to join the celebration.   
 
Yulman Stadium is ADA-compliant for the elderly or those with special needs. We are also incorporating the best practices of other southern schools that regularly host outdoor graduations — including adopting a number of options in case of rain. Many of you have questions regarding the heat during the ceremony. We've looked at the average temperature and chance of rain in mid-May, and the weather should be manageable. Our ceremony begins when temperatures should be lower and the chance for rain is minimal.
 
Yulman Stadium is a wonderful facility and it offers many exciting possibilities. We plan to bring all of the tradition — the music, staging, second-lining and excitement of a Tulane Commencement home to campus. We have always had to recreate parts of Tulane's campus and images of the city of New Orleans in the Superdome for Commencement. Now, graduates and their families will celebrate in the very environment that helped shape our graduates as leaders and Tulanians.
 
I am hoping that our graduates will embrace this change and this opportunity with the same verve and spirit that earned them a place in the great Class of 2020 — a class that will also have the distinction of being the very first to graduate at Yulman Stadium in what promises to be the best and most memorable commencement celebration ever.

P.S. For more details, visit commencement.tulane.edu/FAQ.

Signature of Mike Fitts