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Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 1:32pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — There are some big changes to this years' spring graduation ceremony at UTEP. Commencement ceremonies are usually held inside the Don Haskins Center, but this year the celebration is moving outside and will be held at Sun Bowl Stadium.
"This year, of course, is UTEP's centennial and we decided that we had to have a very special graduation," said University President Diana Natalicio.
The new venue is not the only change. Instead of three separate ceremonies, Natalicio said all 2,500 graduates will walk across the stage during one single ceremony.
"We're very concerned about not trying people's patience too much. We're looking at maybe adding maybe an hour to the whole ceremony, which would be 3 hours maximum," said Natalicio.
She said they will cut back on speeches and instead get straight to calling out each individual graduate's name, and handing out degrees.
Paulina Lopez, a graduating senior majoring in Corporate and Organizational Communication, said she understands the concern about how long the ceremony will be, but says the change will make it extra special.
"I think it represents the grandness of the university itself, and that we are united as a college," said Lopez.
Other UTEP students seem to agree the change is appropriate to mark the centennial celebration, if not convenient.
"I have friends in different colleges and that saves me time from going to three different ceremonies," said UTEP student Sofia Luna.
"We're celebrating our centennial year and it deserves a huge ceremony because we're accomplishing 100 years," said UTEP student Noraliz Casanova.
The last time UTEP held a single commencement ceremony in the Sun Bowl was in 1998. At that time, there were only 1,200 graduates. Then Texas Governor George W. Bush was the keynote speaker.
UTEP's spring graduation is Saturday, May 17th at 7 p.m. at Sun Bowl Stadium.