UMKC prepares for spring commencement at Kauffman Stadium

UMKC will be holding its spring commencement ceremony at the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium. (UMKC)

Kelsey Van Buskirk

“Commencement at the K” will return to UMKC for the second consecutive spring semester. Home to the Kansas City Royals, Kauffman Stadium will host two ceremonies for graduating students on May 15.

“We’re proud to host and honor the next class of UMKC graduates,” said John Sherman, the Royals Chairman and CEO since 2019. “We congratulate them and look forward to seeing them become leaders in our community.”

The 10 a.m. ceremony will include graduates from the Bloch School, the School of Dentistry, the School of Law, the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the School of Pharmacy.

The second ceremony, at 2 p.m., will include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, the School of Computing and Engineering, the Conservatory, and the School of Education.

Commencement will be held rain or shine. If it’s anything like last year’s commencement, the ceremony may include a rainstorm.

“If the weather is nice, I personally don’t mind being outside,” said Sigma Alpha Epsilon member Sam Snyder. “If it rains, I will still be excited to walk across the stage, but also just as excited to get home and change.”

Snyder, who will be participating in the 10 a.m. ceremony, said he was looking forward to graduation at the K. 

“I would also love to have it at UMKC,” Snyder said. “But it feels kind of cool to get our diplomas at a huge stadium. I will be able to have more friends and family come and watch.”

Kauffman Stadium has a capacity of 37,903 and is a part of the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex. The three-tiered park includes a 322-foot-wide fountain that features lighted cascades between innings and a 30-by-40 foot Sony JumboTron video display board.

The weather isn’t the only concern. Some students are also worried about mobility issues for family members entering the large stadium.

“I have my grandparents who want to come to my graduation, but the K doesn’t make it very easy for them,” said one Bloch school senior. “It is a long walk, and there isn’t a convenient way to get to your seat.”

Although some students have concerns, the university has been proceeding with enthusiasm. 

“Commencement at the K in 2021 was so exciting and successful that it was always going to be our first choice for this year,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal in a statement

In the past, the university has held commencements at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the T-Mobile Center, the Kansas City Music Hall and UMKC’s own Swinney Recreation Center.

No mention has been made regarding COVID guidelines. At this time there is no limit on the number of guests, and the university will announce additional details, such as the speaker, in the coming weeks.

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