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Commencement Celebrated Outdoors for the First Time in Five Decades

It will be an outdoor ceremony for the graduating Class of 2016, following the decision to move ahead with a groundbreaking new sports and wellness center about to rise up on the site of the Schuldes Sports Center. 

The sports center, the arena of which has housed Commencement since it opened in 1979, has been vacated to allow construction to begin on the new facility. 

Under sunny skies (!), the May 15 Commencement ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. on the Campus Center quad. The Baccalaureate Mass will also be held on the Campus Center quad starting at 9:15 a.m.

The new location offers:

  • A center-stage with two large screens adjacent to it and another screen visible from further down the seating area.
  • A procession route from the south exit of the Campus Center gym and up the center aisle towards the stage.
  • Guest seating for 2,200. Bleacher seating for 480. Festival seating area where guests can bring their own seats.
  • Three comfortable indoor overflow seating locations for both Mass and Commencement: Walter Theatre in the Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts; Fort Howard Theater in the F. K. Bemis International Center; and the first-floor presentation room in the library.
  • A live-stream link on the Commencement homepage for those wishing to view the event from elsewhere.

Commencement is not the only event that has been displaced to a new location due to the $26 million expansion and renovation of Schuldes that began last month. Sports coaches and trainers have moved to the Pennings Activity Center and temporary venues have been found for sports fixtures and practices as needed. 


  • Practices will be held at The Driveway, a private basketball court, in west De Pere.
  • Games will be held at the UW-Green Bay Kress Events Center.


  • Practices will be held in the Campus Center gym.
  • Competitions will be held at Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay.

Baseball and Softball

  • Practices will be held at Synergy Fields in Ashwaubenon and at the Sports Emporium in De Pere.

Track and Field

  • Running practices will be held at West De Pere High School.
  • The location for practices of throwing and field events is still to be determined.

Weight room

  • The weight room is being relocated to the PAC gym.

The much-anticipated amenities of the new sports complex will include:

  • A new fitness center for all students to enjoy.
  • A pool.
  • Improved locker rooms.
  • improved training rooms.
  • The ability to accommodate 10-12 different sports.

As the Schuldes project progresses, watch for more on what this significant reconstruction will mean for the college.

April 5, 2016