May 9, 2019 : By Tobi Walsh-Laukaitis
With only two days to go before Liberty University’s 46th Commencement Ceremony, featuring keynote speaker Vice President Mike Pence, university staff has been hard at work to make sure everything is set before more than 45,000 graduates and guests arrive for the most exciting day of the year on campus.
Over two days, the Registrar’s Office helps execute 40 Commencement-related events that have been planned since fall.
Earlier in the week, university staff set up more than 20,000 chairs, prepared 40,000 rain ponchos in case of inclement weather, secured 80 golf carts, and set up the main stage on the field.
"Commencement is an exciting time for our campus and involves virtually every department," said Lori Baker, senior associate registrar and Commencement program manager. "This weekend involves so much celebration for not only the graduates, but their family and friends who have supported them during all of the hard work that they put in to complete their degree. Our staff and faculty come together to create events to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates. The weekend would not happen without all of their hard work."
Commencement is not only the biggest event of the year at Liberty, it is also the largest event to be held in the Central Virginia region, with almost every hotel and motel in the area fully booked several months in advance. Liberty expects a crowd of between 45,000 and 50,000 on Saturday.
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The main Commencement Ceremony starts at 10 a.m. at Williams Stadium. The stadium was renovated last year in preparation for Liberty’s FBS debut.
Gates open at 6 a.m. Only clear tote bags that do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12” and one-gallon plastic freezer bags will be allowed into Williams Stadium. In addition, small handheld clutch purses no larger than 4.5” x 6.5” will be permitted. All guests will be required to go through security checks prior to entry into the Commencement and Baccalaureate venues. (A list of prohibited items can be found online.) The procession will begin at 8 a.m. as graduates enter the stadium.
After the ceremony, the university will hold degree presentation ceremonies all across campus for graduates of individual schools and colleges. Graduates will be recognized by name and walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.
On Friday night, the Class of 2019 will gather for the annual Baccalaureate Service at 6 p.m. in the Vines Center. The time-honored service celebrates Liberty’s Christian commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Prolific preacher and Liberty Board of Trustees member Dr. Jerry Vines will deliver the message.
There are more than 6,000 members of the Class of 2019 who have military ties. As an institution that proudly supports our military, Liberty will honor service members, veterans, and their spouses with a number of events, including the Military Graduate Recognition Ceremony on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Vines Center (immediately following Baccalaureate).
Other special events include the Graduate Reception at 2 p.m. on Friday in the LaHaye Multipurpose Center and the Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony at 4 p.m. on Friday in the School of Music Concert Hall.
For more information about Commencement weekend, visit Liberty.edu/Commencement.
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