Chicago Theatre to host graduation

By Alexandra Kukulka

As previously reported in The Chronicle, there have been many changes at Columbia this year, such as prioritization,  a faculty salary freeze and a shortened academic year. Columbia’s latest modification is graduation.

The location of the graduation ceremony for May 2012 has been moved from the usual University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave., to the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St. This change is the result of the adjustment in the academic calendar because of the G-8 and

NATO summits.

“[The Chicago Theatre] is a gorgeous setting, and it will speak of who we are, of our values and our connection to Chicago,” said Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs. “I think that everyone will be thrilled with the setting.”

The Chicago Theatre is smaller than the UIC Pavilion, so there will be six separate ceremonies instead of the usual three held in the Pavilion, according to an email sent to faculty from President Warrick L. Carter.

“[The] ceremonies will be just a bit more intimate,” Kelly said. “Instead of 800 students crossing the stage, it’ll be 400. The faculty will [also] be on the stage.”

Because of the smaller volume of students on stage, the ceremonies will be shorter, but still have an impact, Kelly said.

According to Kelly, every possible venue in the city and suburbs was considered for the new graduation location, such as College Convocation Centers and other theaters in the district.

However, the college plans on returning to the UIC Pavilion for graduation next year,  said Diane Doyne, associate vice president of Public Relations.

“We love the Pavilion,” Kelly said. “It has served us incredibly well. We have to look at the question of availability going forward.”

As reported by The Chronicle on Sept. 12, the G-8 and NATO summits will be held in the Loop in May 2012, which caused the school to make changes to the 2011–2012 academic year. These changes shortened the end of the year, which

affected graduation.

However, this is not the first time  the college has had to move the graduation location.

“[Two] years [ago], we had to go to Navy Pier [for the graduation ceremony],” Cohen said. “There was some type of scheduling conflict UIC had.”

This year’s graduation ceremonies will be highlighted with a sign that reads, “Welcome Columbia College Graduates,” which will be displayed on the marquee of the theatre, Kelly said.

There will be a Graduate Block Party on Nov. 16 that will have more information regarding commencement and all things that impact graduating students.

“I am sure the ceremonies will be impressive, as all of ours are,” Cohen said. “[Graduation] is really a production. ”