The Daily Gamecock

USC sets limits on graduation ticket numbers

Many students graduating May 9 are upset that family members who planned to attend commencement ceremonies months in advance may not get the chance to after it was announced that graduates are only guaranteed up to four tickets.

While there will be no tickets required for the May 10 ceremonies, USC decided to put the ticketing system in place in anticipation of a high demand due to the selection of Vice President Joe Biden as the speaker for the Friday afternoon ceremony, according to university spokesman Jeff Stensland.

Students will be able to get up to four tickets each from the Colonial Life Arena box office on April 24 and 25 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Additional tickets will be available to students free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis on April 28 beginning at 8 a.m. Students must go to the Colonial Life Arena box office to get these additional tickets. Students graduating on Saturday, May 10 may attend the ceremony on Friday, but they must get a ticket.

The ticketing limit affects between 1,400 and 1,500 graduates of the Darla Moore School of Business, College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, College of Nursing, South Carolina College of Pharmacy and the Arnold School of Public Health. This is the largest of the three ceremonies conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

If students are unable to secure enough tickets for family members and friends, those who cannot attend can watch a live stream of the ceremony online, according to Wes Hickman, USC’s director of communications and chief communications officer.

“We want to make sure Friday graduates have some access for their family and friends, and we want to make sure all graduates have access for themselves,” Hickman said.

That’s not enough for some students. Fourth-year marketing student Ann Taylor invited eight family members to her graduation ceremony early this year, and those who are coming from far away have already booked flights and hotel rooms.

“That’s their alternative?” Taylor said upon learning about the live stream. “What a joke. [My family] made plans months ago.”

Other students are the first in their families to attend college, and planned on having a large group to watch them walk across the stage and shake hands with USC President Harris Pastides.

“As a first generation college student on both sides, I am upset at the university’s decision on limiting the graduation tickets to four,” said Meghan Cudd, a fourth-year business management and marketing student. “I believe it is a shame to work so hard and not be able to share such a special day with the people who have encouraged me during these four years.”

More information about graduation ceremonies will be emailed to students “closer to the ceremonies,” according to the Registrar’s Twitter.

Students graduating on May 10 will not have a limited number of tickets for family and friends. Boeing President James McNerney will speak to graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the South Carolina Honors College at 9 a.m. and NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. will address those receiving degrees from the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computing, the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, the Fort Jackson Military Base Program, Interdisciplinary Programs, Palmetto College, the School of Music and the College of Social Work.


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