By Jonathan Bradley
Ryerson’s convocation ceremonies will be held in the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) from now on, The Eye has learned.
Students used walk in a procession around the Quad before going into the Ryerson Theatre in Kerr Hall North for their graduation ceremony—a tradition dating back to 1990. Afterwards, they convened in the green space to take pictures with friends and family.
That all changed last spring, when Ryerson’s convocation ceremonies were moved to the MAC due to construction scheduled in and around the Recreation and Athletics Centre and the Quad.
The university has since announced they have no plans to return to the Ryerson Theatre. The move to the MAC was inevitable, said Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi. The construction in the Kerr Hall Quad simply sped up the process.
“We got a lot of positive feedback, mainly from students who were very happy because this space was so much bigger,” Lachemi said.
Mahirah Ahmed, a business management graduate, attended a convocation ceremony in the MAC in the spring. She said she was excited to learn the MAC was being used for her grad.
“I loved it. This time around, there was a lot of extra space during the ceremonies. It was not crowded at all,” Ahmed said. “The robes matched the seats and walls, and that co-ordination was really nice to see.”
The Ryerson Theatre can seat 1,200 people. The MAC can seat approximately 3,000 people—if seats are set up on the covered ice surface in addition to the spectator seating for sports games. Last year, students sat in the rink area and their guests sat in the stands.
Having a larger space allows students to bring more guests, Lachemi said.
“We used to have two tickets just for mom and dad. We increased that to four tickets, and we can tell you the response was overwhelmingly positive,” he said.
Some students, like 2018 nursing grad Melissa Roberts, said it made graduation easier to navigate than in Kerr Hall.
“I get lost in Kerr Hall, and I can only imagine my family would too. It [the MAC] was so spacious, never cramped and super organized,” Roberts said.
The MAC’s bigger capacity meant there were five fewer ceremonies last spring compared to the previous year. However, they needed more volunteers to help out with each ceremony since the space was bigger.
Despite all the positive feedback, not everyone was happy to graduate in the MAC.
Josie Mills, a 2018 journalism graduate, said there was no air conditioning during her ceremony.
“I had my graduation in Mattamy this summer, and there was no AC for some reason. It was awful,” Mills said. “Everyone was sweating and sticky.”