City of Auburn, local businesses gearing up for busy graduation weekend

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 8:52 PM EDT
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - The school year at Auburn University is coming to a close, and students and families are celebrating this weekend with spring commencement ceremonies. This comes after last year’s graduation saw lots of changes.

Auburn University senior Lindsey Sharman will be donning a cap and gown this weekend for graduation.

“I’m excited and I’m hopeful,” she said. “I’m ready to get to the new chapter.”

Last spring, commencement ceremonies were postponed and came with adjustments because of the pandemic. This weekend there will be full pomp and circumstance inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“I’m very excited about that,” Sharman said. “It’s going to be super cool. It’s in the football stadium. So it’ll be outside, which might be hot, but it’ll be fine. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

According to the university, having commencement in Jordan-Hare means fresh air and space for social distancing. It also means graduates can bring an unlimited number of guests.

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said this is good news for the city and its local businesses, especially after 2020′s limited celebrations.

“Graduation is one of the activities that sustains our community,” Anders said. “It keeps the doors open for many of our small businesses and our small restaurants.”

At Charming Oaks, general manager Shelby Cohan said graduations in years past have kept staff busy and cash registers full.

“Parents are here, they’re excited they’re spending money,” she told News Leader Nine. “It’s probably comparable to a good football weekend.”

Cohan said the clothing store saw 5 percent growth last year. She said she hopes that momentum continues this weekend.

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “I’m expecting large crowds.”

Sharman said she hopes this weekend’s commencement means we’re on the right track with the pandemic.

“I’m hopeful we’re moving forward and that we get to do the most normal things and the freshman coming in get to have their freshman year,” she said.

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