Is the tassel worth the hassle?

Opinions differ on the new time and location for graduation

At Jones, graduation previously occurred in an evening ceremony at the Auditorium Theatre, but it will now take place at Credit Union One Arena (UIC Pavilion) at 2pm on June 4. 

Troy Hilbrands, Jones’ Director of Development, expects a positive reception to these changes. 

“[UIC Pavilion] is a modern facility,” said Hilbrands. “Sunday afternoon also will hopefully be better for families, because they can make time for graduation, then go to dinner, and have the rest of the night be how they want.”

Some students disagree, arguing that besides a disruption of tradition, UIC Pavilion might not be the best place for the senior class. 

“I’m disappointed because I’ve been looking forward to graduating at the Auditorium Theatre for a very long time,” said Maizie Hirsch ‘23. “For schools like Jones that aren’t ridiculously big like Lane, UIC Pavilion doesn’t really make sense. I feel like we should’ve picked a smaller and more intimate space for our class.”

Given CPS’ early start, the June 4 date is later than many seniors expected. 

“I’m glad we aren’t graduating any earlier,” said Hirsch. “I feel like by the end of the year, we will be savoring our last moments with each other so dearly that we’ll be glad for the extra time.” 

Some students contest the utility of a later graduation date. 

“The summer before college is important,” says Sage McHugh ‘23. “We have a lot of packing and cleaning to do, and we all want to spend time with friends before we leave. It would have been nice to have graduation at the same time as it has been before.”

Another change from the Auditorium Theatre is the seating capacity for families of the graduates.

“Potentially, we have the opportunity to have each family bring up to 10 people,” says Hilbrands. “We may not even do a ticketing system, so [families] just show up and whatever room is available is available.”

Students question the efficacy and fairness of an open seating plan.

“I think 10+ tickets are fine, as long as they’re restricted. The more the merrier, I guess,” said Hirsch. “If they’re first-come-first-serve, I worry there’ll be parents who camp out early to bring an insane number of people, and people who don’t have the privilege to spend their entire Sunday waiting for tickets will end up with terrible seats with low visibility.”

There are also questions about whether or not Jones really needs the space that UIC Pavilion offers.  

“A lot of us don’t really have that many people to bring to graduation,” said McHugh. “For what proportion of the senior population is this a real benefit?”

There is some excitement about the later graduation, and appreciation that the administration did what they could given issues with the Auditorium Theatre. Despite this, students remain critical of the new arrangements, especially given that it is no longer easily accessible by most train lines. 

“Ultimately, as is often in this school, this does a disservice to those who do not live in the South Loop,” says Hirsch.