The ever-growing College of Engineering has announced that it would be hosting the 2017 commencement ceremony in Kyle Field. Reactions to the news have been mixed: while some students were excited to turn their tassels inside the Home of the 12th Man, others recognized that the venue was outdoors, making sweat a possibility not presented by the traditional venue, Reed Arena.
Chancellor John Sharp made clear his support of the new location on Thursday. Sharp emphasized the venue’s symbolic message for graduates to lower their career expectations as they have done for Aggie football.
“Kyle Field is a world-class football stadium, a vessel that holds memories of exciting beginnings and disappointing endings,” said Sharp. “Engineering majors, being optimists, should not forget that, halfway through every season, we always think it will be the year Texas A&M makes it to the playoffs.”
Sharp refers to the past four consecutive seasons in which the Texas A&M football team started strong enough to build hope for greatness before forcing fans to settle for mediocrity. As the job markets for engineering fields fluctuate, a graduation at the site of sporting disappointment reminds students that “$110,000/year out of college” and “11+ win season” are both possible yet improbable standards.
“My hope,” said Sharp, “is that a budding young nuclear engineer can walk across stage, look out into the iconic stadium, and think: ‘God, remember when we were undefeated hosting Alabama sophomore year and we thought we had a chance against them? The season never recovered! What if that’s what this ceremony is? Has senior year been my life’s Bama week?’ The moment they walk off stage, they should set out to face the future with the awareness that it could all end in the world kicking the crap out of them and leaving their mangled bodies for LSU to devour.”