Nearly 1,000 Students Invited to Bemidji State University’s 96th Commencement

Nearly 1,000 college graduates have been invited to celebrate the beginning of the rest of their lives at Bemidji State University’s 96th Commencement.

Commencement is Friday, May 8, at Sanford Center, located on First Avenue in Bemidji. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. Central time and is expected to last approximately two hours.

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Bemidji State’s commencement is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. Sanford Center seating is general admission, and there is no charge to park. While there are approximately 1,000 parking spots at the Sanford Center, based on previous attendance carpooling is encouraged to minimize overflow parking on the streets. Students and guests may park on campus in the Bangsberg Hall parking lot and carpool from there; no permits are required in university parking lots on that day.

Guest seating
Commencement guests should enter the Sanford Center through Gate 2, through the main concourse. Only the lower bowl of the Sanford Center will be open for seating. Seating in Sections U and V will be reserved for handicapped visitors and their families. Section W has been designated as the section for hearing-impaired guests and their families. Section X is reserved for international students and guests. Concessions will be available in the concession stand behind Section U. Parking and assembly information is available online.

Commencement Walk
Commencement will begin shortly before 2 p.m. when Bemidji State faculty and staff will partake in a traditional commencement march. Students will exit the Sanford Center through Gate 5 and walk between the center and Lake Bemidji before re-entering through Gate 2 and moving into the arena for commencement. In the event of inclement weather, the walk will take place through the Sanford Center concourse.

Streaming Video
Commencement will again be available through a live online video stream. The stream will be available beginning at 2 p.m. Central time on May 8; viewers are encouraged to visit the stream in advance to ensure that necessary plug-ins are present and properly functioning. Visit BSU’s commencement website for more information.

Commencement speakers
This year’s commencement address will be delivered by John McTaggart, president and CEO of American Public Media Group, a BSU alumnus and recipient of an Outstanding Alumni honor in 2007, and this year’s recipient of BSU’s Distinguished Minnesotan award.

Tom Reiner, chair of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees and a member of the board since 2004, will also provide remarks at commencement. Reiner served as president of the Northland Foundation since it was founded in 1986 until 2014.

Commencement Brunch
Each college and department on campus will kick off commencement day with a traditional pre-commencement brunch for graduates and their families. The brunch will be held in both the upper and lower Hobson Memorial Union from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

The upper union’s Beaux Arts Ballroom will host accounting; business; human performance, sport and health; and professional education graduates.

College of Arts and Sciences graduates gather in the lower Lakeside area, with mass communication grads meeting in Lower Lakeside-North. The lower union’s Scandanavian Room will host psychology grads, and criminal justice majors will meet in the Viking Room. Social work grads will gather in Lower Lakeside-South. Technology, art and design graduates will gather in the Crying Wolf Room, while the Bemidji School of Nursing will gather outside the Crying Wolf Room overlooking the lower Lakeside area.

Guest drop-off will be available along Birchmont Drive and accessible parking will be open behind the lower union. Wheelchair access will be provide through both the upper and lower unions. Guides will be available to provide assistance. No tickets are required for the brunch.

BSU’s visitors are reminded that our campus is tobacco-free.

Michelle Frenzel, BSU registrar; (218) 755-2020,

Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling nearly 5,000 students, Bemidji State offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate programs encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. University signature themes include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and global and multi-cultural understanding.