May 13 – USC’s 128th Annual Commencement
It takes the better part of a year to plan USC’s main commencement celebration and 31 satellite ceremonies, but preparations really ramp up in the last few weeks as workers scurry to get the campus ready for 40,000 graduates, family members and friends.
Here are some behind-the-scenes facts about what goes into putting on the annual event and the graduates who will be receiving degrees:
44,000: Number of rented chairs set up by about 300 workers
22 minutes: The time it takes for about 5,000 graduates to fill their seats
637: The number of graduating students from India (second only to the United States as country of origin)
72 degrees: Forecasted temperature for Friday’s ceremony
Last commencement day rainfall: 1996 (.04 inches)
For the ages: The youngest student receiving an undergraduate degree is 19 years old. The oldest is 73.
A touch of class: Business administration is the Class of 2011’s most popular undergraduate major.
Carrying the Torch – Designed for the inauguration of C. L. Max Nikias as USC’s 11th president, a baton will be carried by every marshal (typically chosen from the ranks of the faculty) in the official procession this year. The batons are carved from walnut with the university seal mounted in gold at the top. The fluted shape evokes the torch of learning.
Early Birds – USC first released doves at Commencement in 2006 to celebrate the university’s 125th anniversary. The doves (white rock pigeons, to be precise) will arrive at the University Park campus around 7 a.m. Friday carried in five wicker baskets. Once released, the feathered friends are trained to fly back to their home in Hacienda Heights, a trip of about 25 miles. They fly at speeds averaging 60 miles per hour and use the sun to guide them home.