Organizers prep for severe weather threat ahead of Wichita State graduations

Published: May. 17, 2019 at 4:41 PM CDT
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The possibility of severe weather Saturday is on the minds of many, especially those organizing or planning to attend graduation ceremonies.

Wichita State University Commencement Coordinator Bayli Rindels is from Oklahoma and is well aware how severe weather can put a damper on big events.

"I remember one year on my birthday, there were three tornadoes surrounding my town, so I'm a little used to being around weather," she says.

Rindels is hoping weather won't play a role during any of the three graduation ceremonies planned Saturday at Charles Koch Arena where thousands are expected to attend while about 1,500 students walk for their diplomas.

Those graduating and attending ceremonies at Wichita state won't have to worry much about rain or hail because they'll be inside Koch Arena but organizers do have a contingency plan in case of severe weather

"We always hope for a beautiful day for our graduates, but we are prepared," says Wichita State Director for Workforce Professional and Community Education Kim Moore.

In 19 years she's overseen gradation ceremonies, Moore says weather has only played a minor role.

"Only once can I recall that there was an issue with weather. And that was during the spring and luckily, that was between ceremonies, so most of the guests had left and the scheduled ceremony had not yet started, so there were very few people in the arena," she says. "We evacuated them to shelter and then as soon as the tornado warning was over, the other ceremony began with a 10-minute delay, so it was not a problem."

Moore says anyone planning to attend a ceremony Saturday at Wichita State should rest easy, regardless of a severe-weather threat.

"I wouldn't be concerned. Just be weather aware and we have plans in place that we will get you to shelter if needed."

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