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Howard Moves Commencement Ceremony to D.C. Arena, Citing Weather Concerns

2022 Howard University Commencement Ceremony. Photo courtesy of Howard Magazine.

Howard University’s 155th Commencement Convocation ceremony will now be held at Capital One Arena, following concerns of inclement weather from the university. 

This Saturday’s commencement ceremony was initially scheduled to convene on the campus’ main Yard, welcoming United States President Joe Biden to deliver the keynote speech to 2,065 perspective graduates.

In an email to the Howard community on Thursday night, President Wayne A. I. Frederick shared that the decision to move the ceremony location due to forecasted rain was made “after much consideration” for the Howard community. Frederick added that in the case of rain and lighting, the traditional outdoor ceremony would be forced to end early. 

“The safety of all students, employees and guests is the top priority of the University,” Frederick said. “With current forecasts suggesting a 60 to 70% probability of thunderstorms, particularly in the morning, there are clear and present risks for our graduates and families.” 

Prospective graduates are now required to assemble by school or college starting at 6 a.m. at the Capital One Arena on Saturday. 

Capital One Arena, located in downtown D.C., is a 20,000-seat multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue, according to the company management website. While the capacity of Capital One Arena exceeds that of the Yard, which was expected to hold up to 15,000 guests for convocation, the university maintained its initial allotment of four guest tickets per graduate.

“Since the location change is a result of projections of inclement weather, and there remain in place heightened security protocols to accommodate President Biden as the speaker, the ticket allotment remains the same even though it will be based in a large venue,” Jarrett Carter, director of operations, strategy and communications at Howard, said.

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Carter explained that the university received more than 7,600 requests for tickets from students, employees and the general public.

“While the location may be different, we hope that the adjustment reflects the great pride we have in the class of 2023, and our commitment to a safe, in-person celebration worthy of the achievements of this graduating cohort,” Carter added.

In a subsequent email to the Howard community, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tashni-Ann Dubroy instructed all students, employees and guests to report to Cramton Auditorium on Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. for ticket pick up.  

“These tickets will be used for entrance into the Capital One Arena. No admission to the arena will be allowed without a ticket,” Dubroy said. “Please note that no transportation will be provided by the University to the Capital One Arena.” 

Updates regarding the 155th Commencement Convocation, as well as links to the live streams for the ceremonies, can be accessed on Howard University’s website.

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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