Long feathers, pearls, flapper fringe dresses, headbands and sequined gowns took over the BankUnited Center’s Fieldhouse Saturday night for the 2016 Commencement Ball, “A Gatsby Affair.” The ball was a part of this year’s lineup of Senior Send-Off events.
The event, which was organized by the UM Alumni Association with partnership from Student Affairs, Student Government, Office of Commencement, School of Business and School of Architecture, sold 625 tickets. The Gatsby theme was one of several options that seniors could vote on in an online poll, according to Student Government President Brianna Hathaway.
When the doors opened at 7:30 p.m., a long line of seniors and alumni dressed in 1920s fashions waited outside. Once guests stepped into the room, they could take photos with dates or friends against a UM backdrop before proceeding to the party, which had a checkboard dance floor, feather decorations and crystal-bead spheres. Two large screens featured content posted on social media with a hashtag for the event, #UMBall16.
“I’m really impressed; decorations are gorgeous. It’s a classy way to send us off,” said Allie Hussey, a graduating senior.
Senior David Colbus expressed a similar sentiment. He admired the effort put into decorating the room and adhering to the Gatsby theme.
“I’m so impressed. I would have never thought they could turn this room into such a beautiful place,” Colbus said.
Hathaway gave a small speech for the class of 2016 during the event. Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely did as well, commenting on all of the changes the class has witnessed during their time at UM, including the construction of the Shalala Student Center, the inauguration of President Frenk and the hiring of a new Hurricanes football coach. Along with Dean of Students Ricardo Hall, the speakers proposed a toast to the seniors for their time at the institution.
“I’m glad it’s come into fruition because this was just a little idea we had when we were planning Brianna’s campaign for president,” said Renee Perez, Student Government director of communications, on the smooth execution of the event.
As the graduating seniors topped off a night with their fellow Canes and Sebastian, everyone came together for a “Canes spell-out” before watching a video that highlighted their four years at UM. The video showed clips of traditional events from Homecoming to sports games.
Correction, April 5: This article originally stated that the dance was organized by Student Government in partnership with Student Affairs, the Office of Commencement and the Alumni Association. This is incorrect. The dance was organized by the UM Alumni Association with partnership from Student Affairs, Student Government, Office of Commencement, School of Business and School of Architecture.