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All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

TCU to host three graduation ceremonies in one day

An evening ceremony is planned to accommodate grads
Nursing graduates celebrate in 2012 at the conclusion of commencement. (TCU360 archives)

TCU’s growth spurt has caught up to commencement. 

The university is expecting 2,500 to 2,600 graduates to cross the stage at Schollmaier Arena on Saturday, May 11. To accommodate the record-setting class of ’24, the university is planning three ceremonies — including one in the evening — rather than holding a Sunday ceremony like last year.

“It will be a long day,”  Daniel Pullin wrote in an email to senior leadership. “It’s our goal to respect everyone’s time.” 

Administration announced the 2024 commencement schedule.

Out with the old, in with the new

The outdoor garden party that replaced the traditional reception in December is expected to return. 

Brad Thompson, the Director of Student Activities, said the parties will be held after the first and second ceremonies.

Student Activities is still planning the celebration for the third ceremony, said Thompson.

A single, cohesive day of events will ensure a “better experience for out-of-town guests” and students alike, said Thompson.

Student Activities is adding brighter stage lighting and a new stage design to improve the livestreamed content and the in-person experience for every seat in the Schollmaier, Thompson said. 

Doors will open an hour before each ceremony, and Thompson said he is expecting a full crowd at each event.

Changing the two-day schedule

Last year’s commencement spanned a whole weekend to accommodate the growing student body.

Ashley Joyce, a sophomore strategic communication major, watched her sister graduate last year during one of the morning commencements.

“Grandparents do better in the daytime,” she said, noting that lighting would be better for graduation pictures at daytime ceremonies.

Austin Harper expects to graduate from the College of Fine Arts at the 6 p.m. ceremony. 

“It would be cool for it to be earlier, but it is what it is,” Harper said. “I feel very removed from the whole thing… I’m just happy to be graduating.” 

Thompson said he has not heard any pushback from colleges who have been assigned to the 6 p.m. ceremony.

A costly future

Thompson said Student Activities is considering what a ticketed commencement ceremony might look like.

Thompson said he wants to create “a vibrant experience that makes sense for our current size.”

TCU’s senior class has grown by nearly 500 students in 10 years, according to the department of Institutional Research. 

With a record-setting graduating class this spring, Thompson said his department is “thinking strategically” about providing tickets to commencement in the future.

Harper said he thinks commencement should move to Amon G. Carter Stadium. He graduated in 2020 on his high school football field, and said graduating in the stadium would be better than buying tickets to the traditional ceremony.

More information will be available on TCU’s commencement website soon, Pullin said.

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