CLINTON - Ashford University will use the i wireless Center for its graduation ceremonies on October 14th.
The university decided to do this after a big storm canceled the Spring 2012 commencement at Ashford's South Campus. The ceremony was traditionally held outside but the possibility of bad weather was always a downside.
"We decided we didn't want to take that risk again," Vice President John Ballheim said. "The storm tore up our graduation stage, and it caused major havoc in our graduation plans."
The i wireless Center provides a roof, so it rules out any chance of bad weather. Some students think moving the ceremony to Moline is a good idea to rule out any weather cancellations. As many as 10,000 people could sit in the arena as well.
"Potentially, it would be more comfortable being in a closed environment," Ashford student Brandon Lambise said. "With the school definitely getting a lot bigger, I can see why they would move it there because it's a bigger place for the graduation ceremony to be."
The downside is that the ceremony will not be on Ashford's campus in Clinton. The i wireless Center is about an hour south of Clinton on River Drive in Moline.
"It will take away from the atmosphere of being in Clinton," Ashford student Ivan Chino said. "That's where you come to school at."
To make up for the lost aspect, the university will still be housing its before graduation festivities at Ashford University Field in Clinton. That way, parents can come up and still see their children in Clinton. The Ashford Campus only serves about 900 students. Many more are enrolled online across the country.
"We really hope we're going to be doing enough here in Clinton," Ballheim said. "There will be enough involvement from everybody that wants to be involved."
The university plans on having buses to take children and parents down to Moline if they don't want to drive themselves. Ballheim says that many of the online students who get their diplomas have to fly into the Quad City International Airport if they want to attend the ceremony. The switch to the i wireless Center should make it easier on those students who fly to the area.