Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
We are very pleased to announce an important change in the location of Clark’s Commencement exercises that will enhance the experience for our graduates and their guests.
Beginning with Clark’s 120th Commencement ceremony on Monday, May 20, 2024, we will now be holding our exercises in the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. We still anticipate holding other Commencement-related festivities on our campus.
Why are we making the move to a new venue?
It has become increasingly challenging to sustain our traditional practice of hosting Commencement on our campus green. Simply, the campus is neither large enough nor equipped to adequately handle the influx of as many as 6,000 attendees and provide the parking, seating, and bathroom facilities needed to accommodate them. We are especially concerned about ensuring that our ceremony is accessible for all who would like to attend.
In considering how we might proceed with future Commencement ceremonies, we sought the input of stakeholders throughout the Clark community — students, faculty, staff, trustees, and a number of alumni, whose valuable insights greatly informed and lent support to our decision.
The benefits of holding Commencement at the DCU Center are substantial and include:
- With the DCU’s seating capacity of 10,000 for Commencement, there will no longer be any restriction on the number of people who can attend the ceremony. In the past, due to space considerations, we have had to limit the number of guest tickets allotted to each graduate student, which meant extended family members and friends often were unable to attend.
- The DCU Center is climate-controlled, and holding the ceremonies indoors will eliminate the annual risk of inclement weather and occasional severe weather events. It is also ADA-compliant and fully accessible.
- There is ample parking in lots and garages around the DCU Center, including a garage directly across the street.
- All guests will have an unobstructed view of the ceremony and can watch their graduate walk across the stage on a giant screen.
Our first ceremony inside the DCU Center will be held on Monday, May 20, 2024, at 10 a.m. In the future, we hope to again make it a weekend event, depending on scheduling availability.
In addition to this change in venue and change in date, we also will be moving to a single ceremony combining the awarding of honorary, graduate, and undergraduate degrees, which previously were spread across three ceremonies. More information about Commencement logistics will be shared in the coming months. Anyone with immediate questions can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate how important “place” is to celebrations and traditions, and recognize that our campus green holds a special symbolic importance for many of our graduates, faculty, and staff. The Clark campus will continue to host events that honor the many accomplishments of our graduates, even as the needs for responsibly executing a large-attendance event demand that we make this change. We are confident we can carry with us to the DCU the spirit of joy and celebration and symbolism — including the international flags! — and in doing so, establish a new, enduring tradition.
David Fithian ’87