- Associated Press - Saturday, July 29, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - According to figures provided by Indiana University, the university spent $1.65 million on commencement ceremonies this spring.

The total doesn’t include the costs of ceremonies that were organized by individual schools or units, The (Bloomington) Herald Times reported.

The Bloomington campus ceremonies were the most expensive at more than $900,000, followed by more than $430,000 spent by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and almost $130,000 spent by IU Southeast.

More than $140,000 was spent on stage labor for the Bloomington ceremonies, said university spokeswoman Margie Smith-Simmons. That work included set-up and tear-down of stages, sound equipment, seating and the field covering in Memorial Stadium.

Travel accommodations for the undergraduate commencement speaker and the graduate commencement speaker cost about $25,000.

The money to pay for commencement activities comes from both university and individual campus accounts, Smith-Simmons said.

About 34,000 people came to Bloomington during graduation weekend, Smith-Simmons said. The Convention and Visitors Bureau of Monroe County is studying the economic effect of commencement. She said it’s expected to find that graduation generates up to $6 million in local economic activity.

Commencement recognizes years of hard work put in by students and the university wants to make sure the ceremony is appropriate, she said.

“It’s an important day for graduates and their parents,” Smith-Simmons said.

The spring 2016 commencement ceremonies at the Bloomington campus cost about $270,000 more than this year’s ceremonies.

The university is looking for ways to cut down on commencement costs such as creating annual contracts with vendors or purchasing equipment - including stages, chairs and lighting - instead of renting it, Smith-Simmons said.

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Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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