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  • Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Arkansas State University prepares for spring commencement

Updated: May 12, 2021

JONESBORO, Ark- Update: According to the Arkansas State University Twitter account, commencement will be moved back an hour to 11 A.M. The change is due to heavy rain in the area.

In under 24- hours, Arkansas State University will welcome a new set of alumni into their community.

Arkansas State is putting the final preparations in place; inside Centennial Bank Stadium as 1,100 soon-to-be graduates will walk across the stage tomorrow.

The university says commencement will include multiple changes compared to years past.

“One change for our spring [commencement] is we will have one event starting at ten A.M. in the [Centennial Bank] stadium,” said Arkansas State chief communications officer Bill Smith. “And we are looking forward to it because it’s an exciting place to have commencement. We’re wanting folks to come in and enjoy the celebration of their graduates. But also, to remain aware of the need to keep some Covid precautions in place.”

This is the second commencement to take place inside the university football stadium due to the Coronavirus.

As the event typically occurs inside First National Bank Arena.

The university will not require tickets for the ceremony, a policy they put in place during the last two commencements due to social distancing and capacity regulations.

Smith says attendees will not be able to park on the grass near the stadium; however, all residential parking lots on campus will be open.

“With our students having seen the end of the spring semester, all of the residential parking areas that normally wouldn’t be accessible for [a] football game, will be open,” he says.

A-State is asking attendees to wear a mask in congested areas when coming in or out of the stadium; and when around those not in your family group.

They are also asking attendees to space out when sitting inside the stadium.

One first-generation student and graduate says they’ve been waiting a long time for this moment.

“I am so ecstatic to be graduating tomorrow. I’m so thankful we don’t have the capacity numbers in place; so, I can celebrate with all my family and friends that will be attending,” says Wanya Strickland. “Being a first-generation college student has made me overcome many obstacles and challenges, so I’m really excited for tomorrow.

While there is a chance of rain in the forecast, Smith says they have a backup plan that would move graduation to Sunday.

However, they will only postpone the event if there are thunderstorms and lightning.


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