Graduation ceremony moved off campus


Serena Davis, Assistant Lifestyles Editor (She/Her)

South Dakota State University’s Spring Graduation will be held off campus at the Swiftel Center for the first time ever due to construction on Frost Area.

“Our top priority with commencement is to ensure that every SDSU graduate has a great experience when they receive their diploma and celebrate their academic achievements with family and friends,” Dennis Hedge, SDSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said in a press release. “The spirit and tradition of SDSU commencement will be on full display in the Swiftel Center, and we will ensure many of the unique and special landmarks, places and spaces that make our university so special are represented.”

Jamison Lamp, university events coordinator, said many locations were considered when officials knew Frost Arena wasn’t going to be available, but it landed on the Swiftel Center, primarily because of its indoor location and opportunity for a consistent experience for all students.

The 2020 ceremony was held outdoors, but with the added stress of weather and temperatures, an indoor location was the way to go, Lamp said. He added that the ceremony and commencement day are going to be similar to when it was held in Frost Arena and that officials will be transparent with the plans of the ceremony as they develop and will keep students informed.

“We’re working really hard to have that next big set of details by spring break,” Lamp said. “We know that’s when families and students really start making plans.”

Attendance at ceremonies are limited based on capacity, and each student will receive up to six tickets for their guests. Before the renovations, Frost Arena could hold about 5,000 people, while the Swiftel Center has a capacity of about 4,500. Once complete, Frost Arena will have a lower capacity than before, Lamp said.

Mike Lockrem, director of University Marketing and Communications, said they don’t see any problems working with the city of Brookings to host the graduation ceremonies at the Swiftel Center.

Right now, officials are working on livestream plans considering the livestream has about as many people watching internationally as from the United States. University officials are committed to making it a “tremendous and wonderful day” for all graduates and families, Lockrem said.

“We’re talking about a number of ways that families and graduates can experience campus,” Lockrem said. “They are going to have a lot of unique and special opportunities for those graduates and those families to be on campus prior or after the ceremonies to really enjoy what the university has to offer.”

Graduating seniors have mixed emotions about the off-campus commencement.

Cora Harris, senior studio art painting major, said she feels like she’s losing out on tradition because all ceremonies have been on campus, including the 2020 outdoor ceremony.

Griffin Korbel, a senior communications major, said as long as he is able to walk it doesn’t really matter where the ceremony is. 

“To me it’s not about the location, it’s about the achievement,” Korbel said. 

Both Harris and Korbel thought restricting to six tickets was unfair to those with big families.


Graduation Ceremonies May 6: 

10 a.m.

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering 

2 p.m.

 College of Education and Human Sciences and the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions 

6 p.m.

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Nursing and the College of Natural Sciences