"I write to apologize to all the parents, relatives and friends of our graduating seniors who could not be seated as a result of overflow crowds at commencement exercises in the UT Tyler Cowan Center this weekend. We regret that a number of people were turned away from the building in our effort to avoid greatly exceeding fire marshal safe occupancy limits for the 2,000-seat Vaughn Auditorium, as well as lobby occupancy.
We have experienced considerable growth and prepared for larger numbers of students graduating. Recently, we expanded commencement to include four separate graduation exercises-by college-in May and again in December, instead of having just one university-wide event at the end of each long semester. Obviously, we must do even more.
We know this is a special occasion for all our families and we regret that the day was spoiled for many. We pledge to correct the problem and are considering finding a larger venue, adding additional graduation exercises, and adding large movie-screen projection of the event in a separate setting for those people who would prefer to see up-close images of their graduate as they receive their diplomas.
Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience."