It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I noticed this out on the quad on Monday morning and my spirits immediately lifted. It’s like the first robin of spring.
In no time at all, it looks like this:
Every year, I wait for it to be finished, then have my friend Jim Pomerantz take my picture while I stand at the podium and give a short oration (or sing a chorus of Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina).
Since this is a history blog, here’s some history. Looking at pictures of graduation over the years, it’s apparent that there have been many changes in the arrangement. What really jumps out is how much bigger the platform has become. When I have some time, I’ll see if I can put together some pictures that demonstrate this. (I’m in Chicago for a wedding tomorrow, so I can’t do it right now.) In the last few years we’ve contracted out the assembly of the commencement stands, but back in the day our own guys put them together. Here they are building the platform for the inauguration of George Rupp in 1985:
One more thing: I’m putting out a Code Orange on one of the Italian cypresses!
When I graduated in ’84, the ceremony was on the outside of Lovett Hall on the lawn, not in the quad.
My graduation ceremony in ’85 was also on the lawn … I think it was moved into the quad in ’86.
Graduation in 1976 was also on the lawn outside Lovett Hall.
Billy, nice punt return against cougar high! We’ve only had one since.
The best stories about the Commencement setup are the inevitable police reports in the Thresher about some drunk senior wandering through the quad who decides that the stage would be an excellent place to take a restroom break. I swear, this happens every year.
Is it a long-running joke among my fellow Rice/theatre alumni about how long it takes these contractors to get the graduation stage set up. We always used to say we could handle it in 24 hours in exchange for beer. I mean really — think about what the road crew people for rock bands set up and strike within just a few hours!
Your cypress photo brings me to ask: will you eventually cover the history of the Quad landscaping? The hedges were mowed down and removed in the spring of my senior year (1982) and it was controversial at the time. I seem to remember the administration said they were returning the look of an earlier time, but we didn’t believe them.