Scorching celebration: heat leads to early exit for some at Boston University commencement

BOSTON — Boston University soccer coach Nancy Feldman was serving as a volunteer at Sunday’s commencement ceremonies, and her job was an important one: handing out bottles of water to graduates, families and guests.

“People are very grateful,” she said. “And they ask for more than one. And we say take as much as you need.”

With temperatures edging towards 90 degrees, many needed multiple bottles of water, with the graduation taking place at Nickerson Field – a stadium wide open to the sun. The uncomfortable – even possibly dangerous – conditions led BU to staff the event with EMTs.

It also prompted some graduates to head for the exit shortly after the proceedings began.

“As you can see, a lot of people are leaving already because it’s just a little hard to bear right now,” said one graduate. “It’s just really hot under the sun and there’s no ceiling to cover anyone. So it’s just direct sunlight and we’re all just kind of dehydrated.”

Another added, “It’s nice. We got to hear one person speak and I think that’s enough for me.”

Though some grads bagged out of the stifling stadium early, Feldman, who knew seven student-athletes graduating Sunday, saw the Class of 2022 as a resilient bunch.

“Normally, I think the growth and development over the course of four years is terrific,” she said. “But, given the pandemic, I think it’s extra special what these kids have persisted through.”

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