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Here's what you need to know about the start of spring in Ohio State

School districts across Ohio canceled graduation ceremonies in the spring of 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Four years later, some of those students will finally get the chance to have their academic progress publicly recognized when they receive their college diplomas this weekend during Ohio State University's spring semester.

More than 12,000 graduates will receive their diplomas at the ceremony at Ohio Stadium on Sunday.

Here's everything you need to know to get started:

When does The Ohio State University graduation take place?

The ceremony officially begins at 12:00 p.m., but Ohio Stadium will open to guests at 10:00 a.m

The start usually lasts between two and a half and three hours.

How many guests are graduates allowed to have?

There are no restrictions on the number of guests graduates can host at Ohio Stadium. No tickets are required for guests.

Will there be security?

Ohio State said “enhanced security measures will be in place during commencement ceremonies and events” to ensure the safety of guests and graduates.

Guests will be asked to enter through designated gates at Ohio Stadium to participate in the ceremony. They are:

  • Gates 7, 9, 11, 13, 23 and 25 on the west side;
  • Gates 8, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 on the east side.

Security measures are similar to attending an Ohio State football game. All items and persons entering the stadium will be subject to security screening and inspection by a metal detector and/or a hand-held metal detector.

Prohibited items include:

  • alcohol
  • cooler
  • Bags of any type larger than 5 x 8 x 1 inches
  • Noise-producing devices
  • Mace, pepper spray, aerosol cans or similar substances
  • Banners or signs
  • Sticks or poles
  • Weapons or items imitating weapons, including but not limited to: lighters, matches, firearms (including concealed carry permit holders), fireworks, pocket knives, knives, spiked bracelets, brass knuckles, martial arts weapons, stun guns, squirt guns, super vacuums, Ropes and chains

Guests who need to bring a medical bag should use the press entrance on the west side of the stadium or the belt entrance on the east side of the stadium.

Where should I park?

With an estimated 60,000 people attending Sunday's inaugural event and construction still ongoing on Cannon Drive, heavy traffic is expected around Ohio Stadium and on campus.

Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis in the Sisson Hall parking lots and in any permit zones around the Ag Campus, Schottenstein Center or student residence halls. No approval is required. The Arps, Ohio Union, Neil Avenue and Lane Avenue garages are available free of charge.

Disabled parking spaces are available on the East Stadium site on a first come, first served basis.

Since the parking garages will fill up quickly, we recommend guests use the West Campus parking lots and take a free shuttle bus to the stadium.

Shuttle buses will run from the West Campus parking lots to the Coffey Road fields from 9:00 a.m. until one hour after the ceremony. The Coffey Road fields are about half a mile or a 10-minute walk from Ohio Stadium.

Are you planning on taking Uber? Guests arriving via a rideshare service should be dropped off at the Schottenstein Center. Post-ceremony pickup will be at Neil Avenue and 19th Avenue.

What will Ohio State do if it rains during graduation?

The weather looks a bit changeable for the start on Sunday.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington is forecasting a chance of showers and thunderstorms before 8 a.m., a chance of showers between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11 a.m. under partly sunny skies with a high near 79 degrees. The chance of precipitation is 50%.

Commencement will only be canceled if the ceremony cannot take place at Ohio Stadium due to inclement weather. Because no indoor facility on campus can accommodate the graduating class and 60,000 guests.

If it rains at the start of the course or rain is forecast, graduates and guests should be prepared with appropriate rain gear. Ponchos, raincoats and something to cover the wet stands are recommended. Umbrellas are permitted at Ohio Stadium, but use of them during the ceremony is discouraged.

Who will give the opening speech?

Chris Pan – a social entrepreneur, musician and inspirational speaker – will be the opening speaker.

Pan, a 1999 graduate of Ohio State University, worked for PepsiCo and Facebook before starting his own company, MyIntent. “MyIntent creates bracelets with a customer-chosen word that helps the wearer remember to live consciously,” the university said.

Pan's umbrella organization, SpiritLab, promotes spiritual health and growth through experimentation.

“Chris Pan is an incredible example of using everything you learn at Ohio State to find solutions that make the world a better place after graduation,” said Ohio State President Ted Carter. “As we celebrate graduation, I am confident that Chris will inspire our graduates to make their own contributions along their journey as lifelong Buckeyes.”

Pan posted a draft of his opening statement on his social media accounts on Sunday and asked for feedback.

A draft of the speech shows that he wants to invite everyone to sing parts of “What's Up?” by 4 Non Blondes and “This Little Light of Mine,” and he plans to take his shirt off at some point.

After the musical interludes, Pan moves on to talk about the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza and the solution to the conflict.

“I learned that there is so much pain and trauma in both communities. Pain causes hatred and violence. Hurt people hurt people. “Healed people help people,” says his draft speech. “When we heal ourselves, we heal the world. World peace begins with inner peace.”

Sheridan Hendrix is ​​a higher education reporter for The Columbus Dispatch. Sign up for Extra Credit, their education newsletter, here.

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