April 30, 1970.
On this day, the IUPUI Student Union Board (SUB) met and passed resolutions voicing their dissatisfaction with the way in which the upcoming commencement had been planned. They presented the statement to Chancellor Maynard K. Hine. The students noted that they had had no input in the selection of the date and venue for the commencement exercises, which would occur on June 9 at the Indiana State Fairground Coliseum. Both date and place were objectionable to students, as the semester would long be done by June 9 and the coliseum was associated with animal contests.
The student organization asked that, if possible, the upcoming commencement "be made more representative of the desires and wishes of the graduates." They added that if no changes could be made to the upcoming ceremonies, students be included in the planning for the 1971 and subsequent graduation exercises.
In a letter dated May 5, Chancellor Hine replied to the president of the SUB to express his understanding. "As I mentioned to you, this year it was very difficult to make these arrangements, and no one is completely happy with them," he wrote. The date arose because it was the first day that both the presidents of Indiana University and Purdue University could be in Indianapolis. Also, wrote Hine, "graduation cannot be held until a reasonable time after grades have been turned in to the registrar." Finally, the orchestra to play was to play at the Bloomington commencement, and "further delay would have been more costly."
Hine addressed the coliseum quandary by stating "there is no other building in Indianapolis large enough to accommodate a potential of 1500 graduates and their families and friends." An outdoor event would have been preferable, "but a sudden thunderstorm would really be catastrophic (and this has happened)," he added. He confided that "I agree that the Coliseum is not a very good place for a Commencement, but must point out that all three of my children were graduated from Shortridge High School in the Coliseum, and it has been used for many such functions for years."
Hine concluded by noting that he will inform the Alumni Association, who typically plan commencements, to discuss details with "representative students."
In the coming years, IUPUI commencements occurred in a variety of venues around Indianapolis.
All are welcome to visit IUPUI Special Collections and Archives to research IUPUI history. Please contact email@example.com for assistance.