Skip to main content

Commencement set for May 9

May. 9, 2003, 9:37 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Approximately 2,400 students, including one of the largest undergraduate classes in the history of Vanderbilt, will receive diplomas at the University’s Commencement May 9 on Alumni Lawn. The number of undergraduates expected to walk across the stage is around 1,400. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. with Chancellor Gordon Gee delivering the commencement address to the 2003 graduates. This event marks the completion of the 128th year of classes at Vanderbilt and the 130th year of the school’s founding.

For the sixth consecutive year, Vanderbilt will broadcast the main ceremony live via the Internet. Viewers can access the ceremony via a link on the Vanderbilt home page at Six cameras and a production truck will be used to send pictures of the ceremony to people throughout the world. The School of Medicine’s ceremony will also be taped and placed on the Internet for viewing approximately one week later. Last year approximately 1,000 people viewed the webcast of Vanderbilt’s graduation. Also, two jumbo video walls will be placed on Alumni Lawn so those sitting away from the stage can get a better view of the ceremony.

Approximately 2,900 students completed requirements for degrees during the past year. Some students who completed degrees in August and December 2002 may elect not to return for commencement exercises. The night before Commencement, the University will host The Big Exuberant Commodore Graduation Party on the Hill Student Center Lawn. More than 4,000 graduating students, parents and friends are expected to gather on the Peabody campus to dance to the music of the band Chic. Tickets are required for this event.

Commencement begins at 9 a.m. Friday with the procession of graduates on Alumni Lawn, located near the Old Gym/Fine Arts Building just off West End Avenue at 23rd Avenue North. If it rains, the event will be moved to Memorial Gymnasium. Last year was the first time the event had to be moved to the gym since 1970.

The top scholar in each of the University’s undergraduate and professional schools will be awarded a Founder’s Medal during the ceremony. Faculty members who are retiring will be honored with the title “emeritus” or “emerita” in recognition of their years of distinguished service.

After Chancellor Gee’s address, the deans of the graduate and professional schools will award diplomas in separate ceremonies.

Mary L. Schapiro, vice chairman of the National Association of Securities Dealers and president of its Regulatory Policy and Oversight Division, will deliver the keynote address to the graduating class of the Owen Graduate School of Management. That ceremony starts at 10:45 a.m. on Magnolia Circle Lawn, located on the Peabody campus at Edgehill Avenue and 21st Avenue South.

A Strawberries and Champagne Celebration for the Class of 2003 and their guests is scheduled at Bishop’s Common after the main ceremony around 11:30 a.m.

Media Parking:A limited number of parking spaces for print and television photographers will be available in Lot 1, which fronts West End Avenue and 23rd Avenue North (across from Blockbuster Video). Reporters can park at Terrace Place garage, at 21st Avenue South and Terrace Place just off West End Avenue. All media must show valid news identification to park. If it rains, photographers/TV news crews can park at Kensington Garage on 25th Avenue South next to Memorial Gym.

Media Credentials:News photographers who want access to the graduates’ seating area and the grounds immediately in front of the stage must have media credentials from the Vanderbilt News Service. Credentials can be picked up at Lot 1 between 8 a.m. and 9: 30 a.m. on Commencement day. To request credentials, call Emily Pearce at 322-2706. On Commencement day, call 322-NEWS to reach a member of the News Service. (A mult box will be available stage left.)

Media contact: Ann Marie Owens, 615-322-NEWS,