CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University crews are getting ready for this weekend’s visit from first lady Michelle Obama. She’ll deliver the school’s commencement address this Sunday.
This year’s commencement will be the largest commencement ceremony in OSU history.
University officials say because Michelle Obama is the commencement speaker, the ceremony will also be much different than in the past.
For starters, you can expect to go through airport-level security screening before entering Reser Stadium.
“Imagine what can you take on a plane, and that’s the kind of practice you should follow here,” said OSU VP of University Relations Steve Clark.
You’ll want to get there early. This is the first year OSU is using tickets–nearly 33,000 of them–but seating is first come, first serve.
“If you want to see the first lady, come early, sit as close to the north side of the stadium as possible,” Clark said.
That’s because this year the stage will face south instead of east. Don’t worry if you’re seated in the back though. OSU is bringing in two large screens in addition to the jumbotron.
“We’re talking about a digital video monitor that’s approximately 20 feet by 16 feet, and you’ll be able to see, as if you’re sitting close–the commencement, the first lady and graduates,” Clark said.
Mrs. Obama’s commencement address is expected to last around ten minutes.
“Once in a lifetime in a sense, having the first lady speak, it’s an honor,” said OSU senior An Nguyen.
“The fact that Michelle Obama is going to be the speaker makes it really memorable for commencement. I know she’s really big on child healt, and I know that’s something that OSU does, and I’m just excited to hear what she has to say,” said OSU senior Samantha McClure.
In addition to Mrs. Obama’s visit, university leaders say there will be another special feature at this year’s commencement ceremony. There will be a military jet flyover to honor veterans and the OSU graduates.