Commencement conversion for Coach Richard Wackar Stadium
A different kind of team took to the field at Coach Richard Wackar Stadium this week and their aim wasn’t goals, but graduates.
The team, led by a massive effort from Rowan’s facilities and grounds personnel, included students, faculty and staff volunteers who converted the football stadium into a sprawling Commencement grounds complete with seating for more than 10,000, signage, bunting, speakers, and a stage and truss system befitting Bon Jovi.
Finished Wednesday, the stadium was outfitted with row upon row of seating for the roughly 2,500 undergraduates expected to walk in undergraduate Commencement Friday morning and about 140 during graduate proceedings on Thursday.
“I’m proud of everyone’s effort and, I must say, it looks really good,” said Senior Vice President for Facilities, Planning & Operations Donald E. Moore.
Moore, who oversaw the installation of a bronze Rowan owl outside the John Green Team House Wednesday, said a temporary conversion of the stadium into Commencement grounds simply made sense.
“With Rowan’s largest graduating class walking on Friday we’ve outgrown University Green,” Moore said.
In addition to greater room for graduates and guests, the stadium provides better access to parking and is more proximate to secondary commencement ceremonies, Moore said.
He said the football field turf, installed last year, is tough and beautiful but cautioned graduates to not wear high heeled shoes as they could catch on the artificial surface.
With heavy rains forecast for Friday, Moore urged graduates and guests to visit the Rowan web site and check its Facebook page for possible changes to Commencement plans.
“We look forward to holding Commencement here,” he said. “But if weather does not cooperate we have alternate plans and we’ll be well prepared for next year.”
Rowan’s 2014 Graduate Commencement is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday and Undergraduate Commencement is planned for 10 a.m. Friday, both in Coach Richard Wackar Stadium.