Clark University has announced that beginning in 2024 the annual Commencement exercises will be held at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. Students will receive their degrees at the University’s 120th Commencement on Monday, May 20, 2024, at 10 a.m. Undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred in a single ceremony.
President David Fithian and Provost Sebastián Royo announced the venue change in a September 11 message to students, faculty, staff, and Clark families.
Fithian and Royo noted that it has become increasingly challenging to sustain Clark’s traditional practice of hosting Commencement on the campus green. “The campus is neither large enough nor equipped to adequately handle the influx of as many as 6,000 attendees and provide the parking, seating, and bathroom facilities needed to accommodate them,” they said. “We are especially concerned about ensuring that our ceremony is accessible for all who would like to attend.”
Other Commencement-related activities will be held on campus, but relocating the main ceremony to the DCU Center will “enhance the experience for both graduates and their guests,” they said.
The DCU Center has a seating capacity of 10,000 for the Commencement ceremony and is fully ADA-compliant and climate-controlled, with ample parking at area lots and garages, President Fithian and Provost Royo noted in their message. All guests will have an unobstructed view of the ceremony — and can watch their graduate walk across the stage on the jumbotron.
“We appreciate how important ‘place’ is to celebrations and traditions, and recognize that our campus green holds a special symbolic importance for many of our graduates, faculty, and staff,” they said. “We are confident we can carry with us to the DCU the spirit of joy and celebration and symbolism — including the international flags! — and in doing so, establish a new, enduring tradition.”
Clark joins other area schools that hold their commencement exercises at the DCU Center, including Worcester State University, the College of the Holy Cross, Anna Maria College, Assumption University, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Nichols College.