Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Graduates search for additional commencement tickets

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Each graduating senior attending the Spring 2021 commencement ceremony has been limited to six free guest tickets. Some graduates with more than six family members are asking other graduates for tickets.

Social work student Hailey Hampton said she has family traveling from Las Vegas to watch her graduate. Her brother and uncle have been planning to attend the event for months, but Hampton said there were not enough tickets for them.

“Every event my brother and I have had, it is a whole group of people — my family just wants to be there to support us,” she said.

Hampton was one of the many students turning to Living at Southeast, a Facebook group for Southeast students, to find additional tickets for her family members.

“I was thinking of begging if no one reached out, but luckily, a very kind student gave me two tickets for free,” Hampton said.

Many students are offering to pay for additional tickets. The prices vary, depending on the student selling them.

Business administration student Marshell Renee needed an additional seven tickets for her grandparents, aunt and other family members. So far, Renee has only found two of those tickets and paid $12 a piece for them.

“I’ve given up looking for the rest of the tickets,” Renee said.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southeast divided the original commencement ceremony into five ceremonies. There will be two ceremonies May 14 and three ceremonies May 15.

The May 14 ceremonies will consist of some of the College of Education, Health and Human Studies at 2 p.m. and the Holland College of Arts and Media and the rest of the College of Education, Health and Human Studies at 6 p.m. The May 15 ceremonies will consist of students from the Harrison College of Business and Computing at 10 a.m., the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at 2 p.m. and the College of Humanities and Social Studies at 6 p.m.

“[Limiting tickets] is not fair at all, especially with the vaccine coming out and dividing the ceremony up,” Renee said.

Seating for the ceremony is arranged in six-person pods. Each student gets six tickets, with designated seats right next to each other. The six-person pods were developed by the Show Me Center to follow social distancing guidelines.

In previous years, students were asked to limit their number of guests “to no more than six guests in the spring ceremony and eight in the fall ceremony,” Director of University Communications Kathy Harper said. There was no set limit, but students were asked to be courteous of others by limiting their number of guests.

In a way to allow more guests to watch the ceremonies, Southeast will livestream every ceremony for family members and friends who are unable to attend. All commencement ceremonies will be live streamed at