Class of 2022 takes the stage at Summerfest

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Photo by Josh Meitz

Zac Brown Band performs at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater at Summerfest. Friday, September 10, 2021. (JOSH MEITZ/Marquette Wire)

What does Marquette’s Class of 2022 have in common with Justin Bieber, Halsey, Gabby Barrett and Jason Aldean?

They will all take the stage at Summerfest’s American Family Insurance Amphitheater this year. Marquette’s class of 2022 will have their names read as they walk across the Summerfest stage at commencement May 22.

“Graduation at Summerfest is an awesome idea. With COVID-19 still sadly being a very large part of our lives, Summerfest gives us a great location to allow a mask free (hopefully) graduation for more than just ourselves and one or two guests. This location is also at one of Milwaukee’s best and most iconic venues,” Max Voboril, senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Last year graduates could only invite a maximum of two guests to graduation at American Family Field. In addition to a change of venue, there is also no limit to the amount of people a graduate can invite.

“It might be too crowded, but graduation is a big deal. I think whoever wants to come should be able to come to see someone that they know graduate,” Anuhya Kakumanu, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, said.

Though the change of venue brings a ticketless aspect, there are still some concerns for graduation. The university has said that graduation will occur May 22 “rain or shine.” While the American Family Insurance Amphitheater is partially covered it does not have a retractable roof like American Family Field. 

“The only other comment I have relates to rain, the main question mark I’ve heard amongst friends with regard to graduation. If the weather holds, I assume graduation will be a hit. If it pours, that may make the day much less enjoyable, and raise questions as to why Amfam wasn’t again used as the location,” Voboril said.

Two ceremonies will be hosted, one at 9 a.m. for undergraduates and one at 2 p.m. for the Graduate school and the Graduate school of management. This replaces the all-university ceremony and college-specific ceremonies that have been held prior to this year.

However for some of the graduating Milwaukee Brewers fans, there is some sadness over not being able to graduate on the same field where Christian Yelich and other Major League Baseball stars take the field.

“The ticketless aspect is one that I really enjoy, as my last graduation only allowed three guests. I am a massive Brewer fan, and would’ve loved to have graduation there as well, but this has to be a close second and one I’m excited for nonetheless,” Voboril said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Summerfest 2021 was rescheduled to September from it’s normal June start time. However this year Summerfest will take place over three different weekends: June 23-25, June 30-July 5 and July 7-9. Marquette commencement will take place May 22.

“I think it’s really amazing to graduate there at the scene of such a large music festival. I’ve never been to Summerfest, so I’m hoping that as a graduation gift I can go to Summerfest,” Kakumanu said.

However, for university officials, the prospect of an outdoor ceremony is fit to host graduation for Marquette’s Class of 2022.

“We are excited to celebrate our graduates’ important milestone in the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater at Summerfest. It is an excellent outdoor venue that not only will our graduates and their families enjoy, but it also provides us with a safe environment so that we may celebrate together in person,” said Provost Kimo Ah Yun in a news release

Currently, the Baccalaureate Mass is scheduled to be held the day before graduation on May 21 at the UWM Panther Arena. The university has said that the site is subject to change based on appropriate COVID-19 precautions.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at [email protected]