A limitation on support

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Six tickets per person causes concern for friends and family of future grads

Story by Ashley Traylor, Staff writer

With the growing number of students walking at graduation every semester and not enough capacity at the CFSB Center, Murray State will now require tickets to enter commencement.

Wendy Tudor, director of graduation requirements, said she is excited more students are choosing to walk. She said there were commencement ceremonies in the past where only 600-700 students walked, and now that number has increased to one thousand or more.

“It is a good problem to have, because it shows that the students care more about just getting that piece of paper,” Tudor said. “They want to put on that cap and gown; they want to show everyone what they’ve accomplished.”

Shelley Todd, director of the CFSB Center, said the venue can hold 9,638 people total. She said 8,378 of the available tickets are reserved for friends and families of the graduate and faculty and staff who want to watch the ceremony.

Todd said recent graduations were pushing capacity in the CFSB Center, so she knew the next graduating class would hit capacity. Therefore, ticketing was the best option to keep everyone safe and comfortable.

Students who apply for graduation online will receive an email with a participation link survey, through which they can select whether they are participating in the ceremony and can indicate how many tickets they need.

Through the survey, students can select up to six guaranteed tickets, at no charge. Two additional tickets can be requested but are not guaranteed.

Once all the surveys have been completed, the university will know how many students are walking, how many guests they are bringing and how many tickets are available.

Students who are requesting additional tickets will be given a randomly generated number from the lottery. Additional tickets will be filled beginning with number one.

Megan Gibson, senior from Paducah, Kentucky, said the downfall of the lottery is that some students may not receive extra tickets, and she said it is important to have all friends and family there for support at graduation. 

Emmy Meinschein, senior from Fayetteville, Georgia, said she is concerned with the new system because she has a large family, and she is afraid her siblings won’t be able to come. Meinschein said she believes this is the best system for Murray State.

Tudor said most schools who do ticketing and offer additional tickets do a lottery to ensure everyone is treated fairly.

Tickets are generated and printed through Ticketmaster, but there will not be assigned seating in the CFSB Center. It is general admission.

Mary Ann Gardner, Provost executive assistant, said a small group from the Registrar’s office, Provost office and CFSB Center worked to implement the new system.

Tudor said they did a lot of research and debated whether to divide graduation or ticket the event. She said they modeled Purdue University’s ticketing system.

Tudor said they wanted to make sure that if someone has a ticket, then they are 

able to get through the door.

Todd said they will do their best to get as many individuals in the venue, if space is available.

Other changes to commencement include meetings for seniors, which will be held at the end of September, instead of during finals week. The meetings will be recorded, so students who cannot attend will have access to the information, Tudor said.

Gardner said commencement will begin at 9 a.m. this year, instead of 10 a.m.

“We want to encourage people to come,” Gardner said. “We want to encourage attendance for the graduates and their guests.”