UofL commencements previously have been at either the Kentucky International Convention Center or the Kentucky Exposition Center, but UofL officials decided to move the winter graduation ceremony — which typically is much smaller than the spring event — to the new arena as a way to familiarize people with the facility.
“We thought this was a great opportunity to have commencement in a more intimate venue and showcase the arena and downtown — especially for people who don’t attend the basketball games and for our out-of-town guests,” said Phil Laemmle, who has helped plan more than 30 UofL graduation ceremonies as university ritualist.
Laemmle said moving the graduation ceremony has required some extra work to figure out such logistical details as using the arena scoreboards to broadcast the event, finding a suitable place for students and faculty to line up for the procession and determining the layout for the president’s reception.
“We visited the site four times for a walk-through,” said Laemmle. “The location is going to be great and it’s a fantastic facility, but we just want to be sure we’ve worked out all the kinks.”
There will be a mandatory commencement rehearsal at the arena Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. For both the rehearsal and the actual event, students and their families should enter the facility through the Main Street entrance. Parking in the arena lot is $10. Other nearby parking areas include the PARC lots on First Street and on Sixth Street and on-street metered parking.
The university’s doctoral hooding ceremony also will be at the arena. That event will be Dec. 15, at 4 p.m.
University officials haven’t decided if future commencement ceremonies will take place at the arena.