Le Moyne College will move its May 2019 undergraduate commencement ceremony to the new Exposition Center at the New York State Fairgrounds, which is located approximately 15 minutes and less than 10 miles from the College’s Syracuse campus. Le Moyne has held commencement outside at the Thomas J. Niland Jr. Athletic Complex on campus since 2011; prior to that it took place at the War Memorial in downtown Syracuse.

The College also announced that the 2019 commencement speaker will be Greg Boyle, S.J., the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, who has spent the past 30 years working with former gang members through one of the largest and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry programs in the world.

“Father Boyle will provide a compelling message to our graduates as it relates to issues of social justice and service to others in society,” said Le Moyne President Linda LeMura. “His life’s work and passion will be an inspiration to our students and all who attend.”

Father Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in 1988 to help former gang members find jobs, complete their educations, and escape life at the margins. Today more than 10,000 men and women seeking to change their lives walk through the organization’s doors every year. Father Boyle is the author of the New York Times-bestseller “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” named one of the Best Books of 2010 by Publishers. He was the subject of Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock’s 2012 documentary, G-Dog and has received numerous awards, including the California Peace Prize and induction into the California Hall of Fame. In 2014, Father Boyle was named by the White House as a Champion of Change.

He will deliver his address on Sunday, May 19 at the first-ever commencement to be held at the Expo Center, which opened in August 2018. The $63 million, 136,000-square-foot center is the largest expo facility north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland.

The decision to move the ceremony was made after careful consideration that involved input from a number of constituents, including students, administrators and faculty. “As we weighed the option of having the ceremony at the Expo Center versus remaining outdoors on our campus, the benefits of moving it were very compelling,” said Le Moyne Provost Joe Marina, S.J. “We are excited to start a new College tradition by holding the ceremony at this impressive facility.”

Among the reasons the decision was made to move the ceremony are:

· The Expo Center is a climate-controlled indoor facility, eliminating any weather-related concerns should it rain, or be unseasonably hot or cold on commencement day.

· The fairgrounds has several times the parking capacity as the Le Moyne campus, with parking lots located right next to the Expo Center.

· In the event of severe weather, the campus ceremony backup plan called for a move inside Le Moyne’s main gym, which would have limited to four the number of each graduate's family and friends who could watch the ceremony in person. With a total capacity of nearly 8,000 bleacher and floor seats the Expo Center has more than adequate seating for attendees.

· From a budget standpoint it is much more cost-effective to have the ceremony at the Expo Center versus remaining on campus.

“We are honored to host Le Moyne’s students, families and faculty for this ceremony. It’s particularly exciting for us because it’s the first commencement to be held in our brand new Exposition Center, and I’m sure it won’t be the last,” said New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner. “On behalf of Governor Cuomo, I want to welcome everyone to the Expo Center and congratulate Le Moyne’s graduates on their achievement.”

Besides the Sunday undergraduate ceremony, all other elements of Commencement Weekend will be held on the Le Moyne campus - the Friday graduate commencement ceremony and the Honors Convocation and Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday. The College will provide transportation to and from the fairgrounds for students on Sunday, May 19.