It takes a small army — or krewe — to seamlessly make the magic of the Tulane University Unified Commencement Ceremony come alive.
When the graduates march into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday, May 20, they’ll experience the sounds of a New Orleans secondline and be inspired by Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren, who is set to deliver the keynote address. [View video of the big day below]
But it’s the staff of volunteers, affectionately known as Krewe du TU, who will be behind the scenes ensuring that the long-awaited day is an unforgettable experience for the graduates and their families.
“My heart is with the students during the ceremony, and it’s very rewarding to see them cross the finish line.”— Candy Guedry, Krewe du TU volunteer for the 2017 Unified Commencement Ceremony
“Commencement is a moment that brings all Tulanians together,” said volunteer coordinator Aryanna Gamble during a luncheon honoring past, present and future commencement volunteers. “It is a huge undertaking to get all of the pieces of commencement day together, and it takes the force of this room to make that happen.”
The luncheon, held in the Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Family Club at Yulman Stadium, recognized the dedicated teams who do the “little things with a big impact” like hand out programs, guide families to their seats and help students put on their caps and robes.
“I participated in the individual school ceremonies last year and was told that the unified ceremony was a ‘can’t miss’ event,” said Megan Bishop, a project assistant in the Tulane department of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “I signed up to volunteer this year, because I wanted to experience it for myself.”
Participating in the Tulane tradition also provides networking opportunities in a team-building environment.
“Volunteering enabled me to come out of my shell and meet other people, establishing friendships with coworkers I normally would not have been able to meet,” said volunteer coordinator Roger Dunaway.
Though for some staff members, the motivation to volunteer is simply to help Tulane students make life-long memories.
“I was on the charter committee for the first unified ceremony in 1999,” said Candy Guedry, program manager for the School of Science and Engineering, who has volunteered every year since then. “My heart is with the students during the ceremony, and it’s very rewarding to see them cross the finish line.”
To register as a volunteer for the 2017 Unified Commencement Ceremony, click here.
Like this article? Keep reading: Actress Helen Mirren to speak at Tulane University Commencement