This marks the third year in a row Knox has managed to land a high-profile commencement speaker. In 2005, Sen. Barack Obama, himself now a candidate for the presidency, delivered the commencement address, while last year Comedy Central’s political satirist Stephen Colbert was the man of the hour.
Heartlein said the crowds have steadily increased. The college has estimates of attendance for 2005 and 2006, because tickets were not needed.
“It has averaged in the past around 4,000,” Heartlein said of commencement attendance. “Of course, last year we might have gotten close to 4,500, but that is kind of a guess.”
Heartlein said about 4,500 tickets were issued to students, family, faculty, staff and trustees this year. Everyone with tickets will have a chair.
“But after that it’s all guesswork,” she said of the possible crowd size.
“We actually had to increase the size of the platform,” she said. “A good number of our faculty (typically) leave just shortly after their grades are turned in for summer trips, for research, many go to conferences; their summers are packed.”
Many of those faculty members and trustees will attend this year’s commencement.