A look at the KU football stadium about 36 hours before graduation

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As of Friday evening, KU’s commencement is set to begin in just more than 36 hours.

Per tradition, students will make their way through the campanile and head to the football stadium to celebrate their accomplishments.

That’s going to look a little different this year for many of the same students whose 2020 high school graduations were upended by the COVID-19 pandemic:

We checked in last week to ask about commencement plans amid the ongoing multimillion-dollar reconstruction of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. (Read that article at this link.)

Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, a spokesperson for the university, said via email Friday afternoon that there are no updates to commencement plans.

“We know it will look different than past years — namely the guest seating on the east side of the stadium only — but our graduates will get the same KU commencement experience as previous years’ graduates,” she said last week.

The university is advising students to limit the number of guests attending at the stadium to six, but there should be enough space for everyone. Barcomb-Peterson said the seating on the stadium’s east side will be closer together than usual this year, but it will accommodate all guests.

Much of the stadium’s seating has been torn down for the first phase of the construction project. Typically, about 17,000 family members and guests attend graduation. The stadium’s capacity when it wasn’t under construction was 47,000; currently, there are 17,668 shoulder-to-shoulder bleacher seats available.

Chairs had been placed on the covered field as of Friday evening. Barcomb-Peterson said last week that setup such as placing of the dais and chairs on the field typically begins the Friday before the ceremony.

Commencement is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 12. It will be held rain or shine, though severe weather could cause delays. If there are any weather delays, they’ll be announced on KU’s social media accounts and commencement website.

The event will be livestreamed at the Kansas Union and at the Jayhawk Welcome Center this year, Barcomb-Peterson said. There will also be a screen on the hill for guests who don’t want to enter the stadium. The livestream will be accessible online.

KU’s website at commencement.ku.edu includes an Attend page with details about parking and more an FAQ page with further details about the ceremony and logistics.

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August Rudisell (he/him) has been a photographer and videographer for The Lawrence Times since March 2021. He is a former dispatcher, he avidly consumes and creates local news, and he would love to meet your dog when out and about at a community event.

See more of his work for the Times here. He can be reached at arudisell (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com.

This post is by the Lawrence Times news team.

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Gray coneflower, Ratibida pinnata, is a long blooming native perennial whose name refers to the gray cone under the brown disk florets, here being visited by a bumblebee interested in their sweet nectar.


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