After multiple changes in ceremonial plans over the last week, UNL officials made the decision to cancel it early Saturday morning due to the weather.
Standing near the 50-yard line on an indoor football field, Abigail Peterson and her classmates threw their caps in celebration. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln graduate was excited and smiling even though the outdoor ceremony planned at Memorial Stadium was canceled due to weather.
"I feel like it doesn't really matter if I walked across the stage or not, I still graduated," Peterson said.
Thousands of students and their family and friends gathered inside the Hawks Championship Center for a makeshift commencement ceremony.
Many we spoke to say they're disappointed it was canceled, but were making the best of it.
"We were disappointed it wasn't nice enough to be at Memorial Stadium but this is a nice alternative," Abigail's father, Kurt Peterson said.
UNL officials made the decision just before 6 a.m. because the forecast showed rain, high winds and temperatures in the 30s.
The ceremony was to take place at Memorial Stadium for the first time ever. Previously, they've been held at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, but this year it was unavailable because it's under renovation.
UNL's back up plan brought students to the Hawks Center, where they picked up their diplomas and took pictures with their dean or associate dean.
"My family was still here to watch me get my diploma so we're positive about it," Laura Collins said. "They did the best they could. The chancellor I think he did a great job in being very communicative, he can't control the weather."
Under the red "N" overlooking the field, they stood in their cap and gowns on campus as an undergraduate for the last time.
"You put in four years and you just hope that this day comes and now that it's here, it's like wow, four years really does fly by," Collins added.
In all, there were 1,700 undergraduates who received their diplomas.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln officials have canceled the outdoor ceremony due to weather.
The announcement was made around 6 a.m. Saturday morning.
The outdoor ceremony was supposed to the be the university's first ever commencement at Memorial Stadium. UNL graduation ceremonies have taken place at the Bob Devaney Sports Center for several years, however it's under renovation for the Nebraska Volleyball team to use this fall and the Pinnacle Bank Arena is not yet completed.
UNL has moved to it's back-up plan where students and their families are invited to go to the Hawk's Center during a specific timeframe so each student can receive his or her diploma from their college dean or associate dean. Students will be photographed in caps and gowns, and family members can watch and take photos.
Parking will be available immediately west of the Hawks Center, in the stadium garage or at the Champions Club.
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources: 9:45 to 11 a.m.
College of Architecture: 8 to 9 a.m.
College of Arts and Sciences: 10 to 11:30 a.m.
College of Business Administration: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
College of Education and Human Sciences: 9:15 to 11 a.m.
College of Engineering: 9:45 to 11 a.m.
Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts: 8 to 9 a.m.
College of Journalism and Mass Communications: 8 to 9 a.m.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has had a tough time with graduation plans due to the weather that just won't seem to cooperate.
Originally, the masters and doctoral students were to graduate together in the stadium. But with the weather being so iffy, they were split up and the ceremonies were held inside.
When many students heard their names called today, they realized all of their hard work was finally recognized.
"I'm 35 years old and I'm finally going out into the real world to look for a job so it's a good feeling," Doctoral Graduate Robert Jordan said.
About 500 students received their diplomas. After weather got in the way, the students had to split the ceremony in two so they could all fit. The doctoral students at Kimball Recital Hall, and the masters students at the Lied Center.
"It's a lot of work, you have to have the motivation and drive to do it but it's well worth it in the end," Elizabeth Breitbach said.
But the headache isn't over for the University, as their largest ceremony is supposed to take place when there's a chance of rain. UNL has a backup plan in case tomorrow's graduation is rained out.
Right now the plan is Memorial Stadium. A final decision to go ahead with it or to cancel will be announced Saturday at 6 AM.
If it's rained out, graduates and family members will be invited to the Hawks Center, at designated times. See the news release below for more information on times and locations.
That would mean the students won't walk across a stage, so the University says they're hoping it doesn't come to that.
Lincoln, Neb., May 3, 2013 -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln officials are monitoring the weather forecast for Saturday's scheduled 9:30 a.m. undergraduate commencement in Memorial Stadium. A decision to go ahead with the planned, abbreviated ceremony or to cancel the outdoor event will be announced by 6 a.m. Saturday. It will be posted at http://www.unl.edu, shared on UNL social media channels and communicated to media.
"If we cannot proceed with the planned ceremony in Memorial Stadium, we will implement our backup plan that will still allow students and their families to celebrate this occasion as diplomas are formally presented to individual students Saturday morning in Hawks Championship Center next to Memorial Stadium," Chancellor Harvey Perlman said.
If the weather forces cancellation of the outdoor ceremony, graduates and family members are invited to come to the Hawks Center during a specific timeframe Saturday so each student can receive his or her diploma from their college dean or associate dean. This will allow each student to be professionally photographed in cap and gown, and for family members to see and take photos of their graduate.
This backup plan calls for diploma tables to be set up on the Hawks Center indoor field, with college banners to indicate where students will find their dean and be awarded their diploma. Parking will be available immediately west of the Hawks Center, in the stadium garage or at the Champions Club.
The diploma distribution schedule in case of a weather cancellation would be as follows:
- College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources: 9:45 to 11 a.m.
- College of Architecture: 8 to 9 a.m.
- College of Arts and Sciences: 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- College of Business Administration: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
- College of Education and Human Sciences: 9:15 to 11 a.m.
- College of Engineering: 9:45 to 11 a.m.
- Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts: 8 to 9 a.m.
- College of Journalism and Mass Communications: 8 to 9 a.m.
- College of Public Affairs and Community Service: 8 to 9 a.m.
For details on the planned, abbreviated ceremony that is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium, go to http://commencement.unl.edu.
An abbreviated undergraduate ceremony for Saturday is now planned. Saturday's ceremony will include graduates to walk across the stage. The details for the Saturday ceremony are as follows:
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has finalized plans for an abbreviated May 4 undergraduate commencement ceremony to be held in Memorial Stadium by making adjustments to the ceremony schedule so that graduates can walk across the stage during the ceremony.
University officials made the decision to shorten the ceremony earlier this week because of unseasonably cold and wet weather forecast for Saturday.
Saturday's ceremony is still set to begin at 9:30 a.m. at Memorial Stadium. Students are asked to be at the Hawks Championship Center, in cap and gown, between 8 and 8:30 a.m. to be issued identification cards by commencement staff. They will then enter the stadium for the ceremony -- but will not take part in a formal procession.
Graduating students may sit anywhere in their reserved sections, which are sections 3 through 7 in the East Stadium.
During the ceremony, deans will be introduced by college and degrees will be conferred to everyone in each college by UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman. University marshals will escort graduates to the stage, where each student will cross the stage and shake hands with university officials as they receive a UNL diploma cover. Each student will be photographed at this time.
"We understand the importance of family and friends seeing their loved ones be recognized on stage for their academic accomplishments," Perlman said. "This arrangement, while maintaining the abbreviated nature of the program, allows these important moments to occur on Saturday."
Former U.S. Sen. and Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson will deliver the commencement address. A Builders Award will be conferred to Lance Morgan, and recognition of ROTC commissions will take place. The ceremony will be live-streamed on the UNL website at http://www.unl.edu.
Following the ceremony, graduates will be asked to return to the Hawks Center to pick up their diploma. By eliminating the formal processional and distribution of actual diplomas on the stage, the actual diplomas will be protected by the weather and the ceremonies should be shortened by one hour.
Graduating students and attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather under their gowns and wear flat shoes to avoid injury in Memorial Stadium. Parking is available in campus parking garages. For details and directions, visit http://commencement.unl.edu/2013-parking-map.
The May 3 graduate degree ceremonies will proceed as announced in Kimball Recital Hall (doctoral degrees) at 4 p.m. and the Lied Center for Performing Arts (master's degrees) at 7:30 p.m. For more information, go to the commencement website, http://commencement.unl.edu, or see the May 1 news release announcing changes to those ceremonies at http://go.unl.edu/s4d.