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Commencement weekend at Notre Dame provides boost to local economy

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 8:25 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It’s graduation weekend for students at the University of Notre Dame.

Commencement is a time when families come together and celebrate the academic accomplishments of their newest graduate. But it also means a lot to the local economy.

It’s a time for graduates to reflect on their schooling journey but also look forward to what is next to come.

“Commencement weekend is the ultimate event in the university calendar. We have lots of big events here, but this is what we’re about; is graduating students and sending them off into the world to make a difference,” said Dennis Brown, Assistant Vice President and University Spokesman for The University of Notre Dame.

But if you haven’t noticed, the roads are bustling, and the wait times for the restaurants can be lengthy. All this is due to May being what Visit South Bend calls “Graduation Month.”

“May is a great month for us. We refer to it as graduation month, actually. Indiana University South Bend, on top of Notre Dame, obviously. We have St. Mary’s College, Holy Cross, and Bethel all have graduations this month, so it’s a great kickoff to our summer season. We’re so glad to have graduation back with family and friends filling up the stadium, going out to eat, and staying at our hotels. It’s really exciting,” said Nicole Lawler, Director of Marketing and Travel Media for Visit South Bend/Mishawaka.

Students and their families will be treated to a slew of events on Friday and Saturday before the University’s Commencement Ceremony on 9 A.M. Sunday at Notre Dame Stadium, but that’s not the only thing a benefit this weekend.

The influx of families in town is a massive boost to the local economy and makes a big difference for many local businesses and workers.

“The opportunity for businesses of the community to welcome visitors again in a wholehearted way in a way that we haven’t been able to do as much for the last two years is really important for both the university/the colleges and the community as a whole,” said Brown.

Archbishop Borys Gudziak is this year’s commencement speaker. He is the president of Ukrainian Catholic University, an author, and part of the Notre Dame Family for 20 years. He was the recipient of The Notre Dame Award in 2019, which is “given to women and men whose life and deeds have shown exemplary dedication to the ideals for which the University stands: faith, inquiry, education, justice, public service, peace and care of the most vulnerable.” Notre Dame Award

The other speaker will be given by Environmentalist Sharon Lavigne, the Laetare Medal nominee. The Laetare Medal is the highest honor that Notre Dame presents, “given in recognition of outstanding service to the Catholic Church and society.” Laetare Award

For a complete list of events and a link to the live stream, click here.

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