SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Seton Hall University announced that its 2017 Baccalaureate Commencement ceremony will now be held at the PNC Bank Arts Center on May 15 at 11 a.m.

This is a change from an earlier announcement that stated that Seton Hall's graduation ceremony would be held on campus, because the Prudential Center where the commencement ceremony had been held in prior years, was not available this year.

This move to a larger and off-campus venue was in “response to the overwhelming desire of the undergraduate student body,” according to an official statement by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President of Seton Hall University.

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Instead of the three separate ceremonies that were previously planned for the on-campus commencement, now there will be one ceremony for all of the graduating seniors, according to the statement from the Provost’s office.

Each graduate will also now receive four guest tickets for seating in the covered amphitheater at the PNC Bank Center and unlimited guest tickets for seating on the lawn.

The change in location for the graduation ceremony has garnered positive reactions from graduating seniors.

Journalism major, Katelyn Fatzler, said that she was upset when the university originally announced that the graduation was going to be held on campus. When news of the venue change circulated around the college, she said that she and two of her senior friends were surprised and overjoyed.

“It was a relief to know I could invite more family and friends to my graduation… My boyfriend, who goes to the Stillman School of Business, texted me right away when he saw the email. We are both so happy that we get to graduate together now,” Fatzler said.

“I'm just glad they finally found a real solution to our graduation. I think the PNC Bank Arts Center is a much better option than on campus. I know there may be issues depending on how the weather is that day, but I've been to concerts at the Arts Center, so I'm finally looking forward to graduation again.”

Another senior, Margarita Williamson, who expressed her concern a few weeks ago that the graduating class would not walk together, and her disappointment in being unable to invite as many people as she would like to the ceremony, said that she is also pleased with the securing of an off-campus venue.

“I'm very happy about the graduation changes,” Williamson said. “I was not at school when the announcement was sent out but I think it's safe to assume that students are happy with the changes.”

Class of 2017 student, Macarena Solis, said that although she is still concerned about splitting her numerous family members up with such a small number of guest tickets, she said that having ceremony at the PNC Arts Center is much better than having the graduation on campus.

“I don’t know how many guest tickets have been given out in the past year but I have a lot of family members going. It’s going to be tough to separate them and figure out who will be in the venue and who will have to be in the lawn. But I still think this is so much better than having our graduation split into three ceremonies,” Solis said. “When I heard the news I thought it was a joke, I couldn’t believe it.  I have been to a few concerts at PNC and it’s an awesome venue. I’m really excited to have graduation there.”

When the initial announcement was made in November that graduation would be on campus, not all of the graduating seniors saw the on-campus graduation as negative.

“I think I’m in the minority of those graduating this year when I say I’m actually excited to graduate on campus,” Jenna Pearsall said last month. She also said that the on-campus venue allowed for a more intimate setting and a smaller ceremony.

The PNC Bank Arts Center, located at Exit 116 on the Garden State Parkway in Holmdel, has a seating capacity of 17,500 and can hold as many as 10,500 people on their grass lawn, according to their official website.

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