For an event that lasts only a couple of hours, BU’s annual Commencement ceremony sure takes a lot of planning. How much? The logistics for the 2017 event started in earnest just one week after the 2016 Commencement. And could it be that this year’s ceremony went off without a hitch because of that yearlong planning process? Well, that and perfect weather and the dedicated support of hundreds of volunteers and staff. When it was all over, 6,530 degrees had been conferred before an estimated audience of 20,000 family members and friends.
Sunday’s 144th Commencement was the culmination of three days of celebration that saw 229 individual events, including 50 separate diploma convocations.
When you consider that the weekend’s festivities require 40,000 chairs, the planting of more than 150,000 annuals, 563 waiters and bartenders serving a total of 63,430 guests (the equivalent of the population of Framingham, Mass.) and enough tablecloths and napkins to cover Gillette Stadium’s football field 258.6 times, not to mention the food and beverages necessary to feed the celebrants, you’ll understand why organizers need to begin plotting strategy and drawing blueprints nearly a year ahead.
Phil Zekos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.