"Last year we were at approximately 2,000, and at graduation practice . . . we had to add 200 chairs the night before to the student section," Cardona said. "That's why we're anticipating, we're giving ourselves a little bit of room."
Rowan expects about 2,500 undergraduate students to participate this year.
Thus, the move across campus: Coach Richard Wackar Stadium can hold about 13,000 people, Cardona said. Seats for 6,000 to 7,000 people will be available on the field itself, with the remainder fitting on bleachers or temporary seats brought in.
An initial plan to rent bleachers for the University Green would not have worked, Cardona said, because it would have added a net total of only 400 seats.
"This was a very hard decision, particularly for me, because I'm a three-time graduate, former student leader back in the day, so I know how special it is on the main green," Cardona said.
"But to stand by and just be like, 'Oh, we'll just let people stand,' you can't do that. When the numbers are staring you in the face, you can't accommodate everybody. You have to make the move," he said.
Rowan's graduate commencement will be at 10 a.m. May 15 at the stadium. The undergraduate ceremony, where Gov. Christie will be the speaker, will be the next day, also at 10 a.m.
After the main undergraduate ceremony, students are split up for secondary ceremonies, where they receive their actual diplomas. Each student receives three guest tickets to each ceremony, with up to three additional tickets possible. The ticket system is necessary, Cardona said, because of public safety issues - a volunteer was pushed out of the way last year by a student's upset family member.