Duke’s 2015 Commencement To Be Held At Durham Bulls Athletic Park

The move is necessitated by improvements taking place at Wallace Wade Stadium

Ladies and gentlemen, now pinch-hitting for Wallace Wade Stadium, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

With the usual site of Duke University’s commencement ceremonies unavailable because of an extensive renovation project, school officials have worked out an agreement with the minor league baseball team to use the Bulls’ home field (DBAP) to host the event on the morning of Sunday, May 10.

“We’re grateful to (Bulls owner) Jim Goodmon and his team for working with Duke to make it possible to hold commencement at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park,” said Richard Riddell, Duke’s vice president and University Secretary whose office is in charge of commencement planning. “It will be a unique commencement, introducing many parents and friends to a revitalized downtown Durham.” 

Riddell notified students of the venue change in an email sent Monday.

“DBAP has the necessary capacity, is designed to handle patrons with disability issues, and has well-established and tested parking and transportation plans to handle the number of people we expect to attend the event,” Riddell’s email read.

“Holding commencement at DBAP means that we will need to adjust the timing and locations of the many diploma ceremonies that follow the Sunday morning exercises in order to minimize disruption and traffic congestion. We will communicate these changes as they are confirmed,” the email continued.

Wallace Wade Stadium, the usual location for the university-wide commencement ceremony, will be a construction site next May, with renovations beginning soon after the last football game is played this month and continuing through August.

The Durham Bulls are on the road the weekend of commencement, which allowed an agreement to be reached between the team and the university.

The locations of Duke commencement exercises over the past 90 years reflect the growth and transformation of the university, starting with the Craven Memorial Auditorium (which no longer exists), then moving to Page Auditorium, the Main Quad, East Campus and, most recently, Wallace Wade Stadium.

“We worked hard to find a location that would provide our graduates with a memorable experience and we think we have done that,” said Terry Chambliss, director of Duke’s Office of Special Events & University Ceremonies. “The Bulls stadium will comfortably accommodate our usual number of attendees with plenty of parking and good accessibility.”

More information about commencement is available online at http://commencement.duke.edu/.