Class of '13 send-off feels 'like a concert'

6,000 UA grads get time on jumbo screen as commencement returns to the stadium
2013-05-11T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T11:21:39Z Class of '13 send-off feels 'like a concert'Becky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Every new University of Arizona graduate had a chance to see his or her smiling face on the Jumbotron on Friday night as commencement returned to Arizona Stadium.

The ceremony was last held in the stadium in 1972.

"At that time 'The Godfather' had just come out in the movie theaters, gas was 55 cents a gallon and the Star Pass Pool Party had yet to exist," student president Katy Murray said in her speech to the class of 2013.

Technology has also changed the way students graduate.

The ceremony felt "more like a concert than commencement," said student emcee Kyle Oman.

The event featured a huge stage, big screens, hip-hop music, live social media feeds, spotlights, food trucks, fireworks and fog machines.

Indeed, with a crowd of 22,000, the atmosphere was more like a sporting event.

A chorus of grads interrupted the proceedings at one point with a rowdy rendition of the "Bear Down" fight song. One family brought a giant paper cutout of their graduate's face, the way basketball fans do.

Presidential advice

"I hope you asked questions," UA president Ann Weaver Hart said in her speech. "I hope you found answers, both within and without. Those answers will change over time, but the questions should never stop."

Character in costumes

Newly minted mining engineers decided to pass up their mortarboards altogether in favor of hard hats covered in dirt and stickers. One even wore a lighted headlamp.

Martín Lopez, a systems engineering graduate from Rio Rico, was wearing at least six different sashes representing various engineering honors and organizations, but "it's the friendships you make here" that mean the most to him, he said.

Mortarboard mottos

Here's a sampling of the personal statements graduates made on their decorated head gear:

• "I survived engineering"

• "Memories of a lifetime"

• "Here's to never growing up"

• "Law school bound"

• "Thank you, mom and dad"

More on StarNet

• Check out StarNet's live blog of UA graduation activities at live.azstarnet.com where you can also send your photos via Twitter or Instagram with the #UAgrad tag.

• See more photos from the commencement ceremony at azstarnet.com/gallery

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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