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SIU graduation to return to normal; Carbondale to feel financial impact

Friends and family of hundreds of soon-to-be graduates at SIU could impact the City of Carbondale financially.
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:01 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Lots of pomp and circumstance this weekend in Carbondale as hundreds are graduating and that means hundreds of dollars flowing into the city.

Nearly 1,800 students are expected to receive their degrees this weekend at Southern Illinois University (SIU).

And the city is set to feel the economic impact of many family and friends coming to town.

“We are very excited to have commencement back here in Shryock and at Banterra on Saturday,” said Jim Potter, chief marketing officer at SIU.

Potter tells me, compared to 2021 ceremonies, things will look as normal as they can be this year.

“This is obviously going to be a different sort of celebration that people are more accustomed to,” said Potter.

In 2021, graduation was held outside in Saluki Stadium and only a limited amount of family and friends could attend due to the pandemic. This years celebration is back to full capacity, with no limit on guests. It’s also first come first serve seating.

William Lo is the executive director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. He believes SIU graduation is going to bring quite a few more people into town.

“I think it’s going to be a big boom for the restaurants and, yes, it is hard to put a cash, a dollar amount but I think people are a little bit more comfortable eating out and the restaurants are ready for it,” said Lo.

As I called around, many restaurants and even local hotels are booked up for reservations. Lo believes Carbondale needs a few more places for folks to stay.

“We have a couple of hotels in town and I think it’s also a sign that we need to have more vacation rentals in Carbondale. That way we can have an option,” said Lo.

Potter is hoping the southern Illinois community will help honor the graduates.

“We are really excited to again be a thriving part of this community and hope that we see a lot of folks out to help these students celebrate,” said Potter.

Friday at 1 p.m. will be the school of law’s graduation. On Saturday, two celebrations will take place, the first at 9 a.m. and the last at 1:30 p.m.

The full list of exact schools and what time they will graduate can be found here.

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