“This is a historic occasion for the university, the city of Columbus and our graduates and their families,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “We are honored to have President Obama address our graduates at the university’s largest commencement ever. To be sure, this is a signal moment in the life of one of the most vibrant and vital universities in our nation.”
The ceremony will take place at noon May 5 in Ohio Stadium.
President Obama has begun his second term after making history when he was elected as the nation’s first African American president.
Obama is the third sitting president to deliver Ohio State’s commencement address. George W. Bush spoke to spring quarter graduates in 2002. Gerald Ford spoke to summer quarter graduates shortly after ascending to the presidency in 1974. In addition, both George H. W. Bush and Walter Mondale spoke to graduates when they were vice president. Bill Clinton spoke to graduates in 2007, after he left office.
This will be Obama’s fifth visit to Ohio State in the last 16 months. Previous 2012 visits occurred in March, when he delivered a speech on alternative energy and energy independence; in May, when he officially kicked off his re-election campaign; in August, when he briefly visited the Ohio Union; and in October for a campaign rally on the Oval.
Having the president as commencement speaker means additional security measures will be in place. Admission tickets will be required for all guests, though graduates do not need a ticket. Thanks to collaboration with the Department of Athletics leadership and their efforts to adjust planned stadium renovations, the university is offering each graduate up to six tickets.
There will be an online process for graduates to confirm their requests for up to six guest tickets and to indicate any interest in additional tickets as a means of getting a grasp on the demand for tickets in order to try to accommodate graduates and their guests. Graduates should watch for an e-mail soon with a link to the online ticket request system.
If all guests cannot be accommodated in Ohio Stadium for the spring commencement ceremony, St. John Arena, located directly across Woody Hayes Drive, will be made available with a live audio/video broadcast of the ceremony.
This is the university’s first spring graduation on the semester system. Approximately 12,000 students are expected to graduate, the largest class in university history.
Ohio State is unique among major universities in having one university-wide commencement each semester at which each graduate receives his or her actual diploma.