Stanford prepares for Commencement; fountains to return briefly

Stanford's Commencement is held in Stanford Stadium, where there are plenty of seats for all who wish to attend.
Stanford’s Commencement is held in Stanford Stadium, where there are plenty of seats for all who wish to attend.

Stanford is preparing to welcome some 30,000 friends and families to Commencement Weekend, June 12 to 14.

Richard Engel, a Stanford alumnus and the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, will be the Commencement speaker. Stanford’s 124th Commencement Weekend will also feature a Baccalaureate address by Vernon Jordan, a civil rights leader and former adviser to President Bill Clinton.

Families who have not yet made hotel reservations are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Visit the travel and lodging website for ideas. Commencement will be held Sunday in Stanford Stadium, and there are seats for everyone who wishes to attend. Department diploma ceremonies follow Commencement and are held at sites throughout campus. Baccalaureate is held on Saturday morning in the Main Quadrangle.

Read the article on Richard Engel and Vernon Jordan.

Read the article called “Five things to know about Stanford’s Commencement.”

Visit the Commencement website.

Eighteen of Stanford’s fountains will be turned on for Commencement Weekend.

As part of the university’s preparations, campus fountains that were shut down and drained in response to California’s prolonged drought will slowly be brought back to operation beginning June 1. By June 9, 18 of the university’s 21 fountains will be operating. The fountains again will be shut off on June 15, after Commencement weekend.

The fountains’ brief return will require about 60,000 gallons of water, according to Jack Cleary, associate vice president of Land, Buildings and Real Estate. The fountains will continuously re-circulate the 60,000 gallons. When the fountains are again shut down, that water will be stored and used throughout the summer to perform already planned, routine tree irrigation.

All campus fountains have been off for more than a year as part of Stanford’s efforts to cut water use in light of the drought in California and much of the West. In January 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a declaration of emergency because of severe water shortage conditions.

“We were not required to turn them off as part of the mandated reductions,” Cleary said. “However, we elected to turn them off last year to conserve water from non-essential uses.”

The fountains are being briefly reactivated in celebration of Commencement, according to Cleary. But the brief reactivation also allows grounds crews to perform maintenance – especially leak detection – on fountains whose operations may have been affected by the shutdown.

“I think we all realized during the past year that a traditional celebration like Commencement is enhanced by having the fountains on,” Cleary said. “The fountains make our campus even more beautiful, and we know that makes a big difference for graduates and their families during a very special time in their lives.”

Since 2000, Stanford’s overall water conservation programs have reduced university domestic (drinkable or potable) water use by about 20 percent. The Stanford Energy System Innovations project, which went online in April, is further reducing potable water use another 15 percent.

In addition, from February to October of last year, water conservation measures resulted in a 4.5 percent reduction in domestic water use and an 18 percent reduction in non-potable use.