Illustration of commencement cap

12 reasons why Loyola’s Commencement is better than Preakness

The Preakness Stakes is far and away the most popular event in the Baltimore area every year. Nothing else comes close. But we know the hottest ticket in town every third Saturday of May isn’t at Pimlico, but in the stands at Loyola University Maryland’ Commencement.

So break out your blanket of Black-Eyed Susans and get ready for the 12 reasons why Loyola’s Commencement is the true second jewel of the Triple Crown.


You should see the hats

A collection of commencement hats that have been decorated with various messages

And down the stretch they come!

It has taken four years for these graduates to strut across the stage. What could be more thrilling?

Students walk to their chairs before commencement exercises begin

Preakness is over in two minutes

Commencement? You’re looking at 200 minutes or more, depending on the number of graduates with long last names.

Horses racing on a dirt race course Commencement programs sitting on chairs
Photo on left from Flickr Commons | Jay Baker

The Noise

Our crowds cheer louder than a Preakness infield—even though they’re told to hold their applause until the end.

Students cheering at commencement

The Fashion

Contrary to what you might have heard, the crowd of Preakness patrons is not the epicenter of spring fashion. Our students are dressed in all the appropriate attire. They’re so confident, in fact, that they’re willing to cover up their lewks with a boring gown for half the day.

Close-up of polka dot dress Close-up of blue and white striped suit
Left photo from Flickr Commons | Jamie, right photo from Flickr Commons | Kent Wang

The Speakers

Loyola welcomes important and inspirational public figures to address our students and mark this momentous occasion. The Preakness welcomes equally important public figures, but they only get to address the horses. (In fairness, the Governor does get interviewed on national television during the trophy presentation.)

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo and Harry K. Thomas, Jr. Governor Larry Hogan petting a horse
2013 commencement speaker Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, president & CEO of Catholic Relief Services (left); 2010 speaker Harry K. Thomas, Jr., career member of the Senior Foreign Service and former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines (middle). Photo courtesy of the Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (right)

Loyola’s ROI is not a gamble

A Loyola education is a valuable investment—and we have the stats to prove it.

A view from behind of a student's head with tassel hanging from her commencement cap Horse race betting tickets
Right photo from Flickr Commons | Stacey Huggins

You can’t wear the Preakness trophy

President Brian Linnane at commencement wearing the presidential chain A Preakness trophy
Right photo from Flickr Commons | Maryland GovPics

Fact: Greyhounds are faster than horses

Dog running through field
Photo from Flickr Commons | Harley Marlow

Our graduates think the blimp is for them

And why wouldn’t they?

The Good Year blimp A student being interviewed by the news at commencement
Left photo from Flickr Commons | David Evans

We don’t need an official flower

But if we chose one, we’d make sure it bloomed in Maryland before June. (That Black-Eyed Susan blanket draped over the winning horse is made of Viking daisies.)

The winning horse at Preakness wearing a blanket of yellow flowers A close-up of Loyola's seal
Left photo from Flickr Commons | Jay Baker

Everyone is a winner. And they’ll have their Loyola diplomas to prove it.

Students walking across the stage during commencement

Photos by Nick Alexopulos, ’03, MBA ’16 (unless otherwise noted)