Ready to wave

April 26, 2001

Carol Schlueter

Sylvester Johnson will have a double reason to make sure that the Wave Goodbye party on May 18 is a big success. While he will have one ear tuned on his radio, ready for any problems that arise for his staff of plumbers, electricians and maintenance employees who will be standing by, he will also be there to celebrate the graduation of his daughter.

"It's particularly gratifying for me because I'm there as a parent and as facilities services representative," said Johnson, who is executive director of facilities services. It's a familiar feeling. At last year's inaugural Wave Goodbye send-off for grads, he was also celebrating his son's commencement.

Celebration will be the order of the evening for the huge event, which will take place on the uptown campus' Gibson Quad on commencement eve and feature Louisiana food and music by the Radiators and the Funky Meters. This year, all Tulane employees have been invited to join in the festivities. Two free tickets to the event are available for each employee but tickets must be picked up ahead of time

Staff members from a dozen Tulane departments are helping make the event a memorable one for the graduates and visitors, from printing tickets and grooming the grounds to providing electricity and cleaning up until the wee hours Saturday. Event coordinator Vicki Herman Amann says good planning makes it all work. She praised the cooperation and talents of Tulane staff members who provide critical support.

"We started planning as soon as Wave Goodbye was over last year," Amann said. "This year we have added the tickets, to get a better handle on things and to be sure there's enough food and a nice environment for everyone."

Sylvia Major, senior program coordinator, calling herself the "ticket master" for the School of Medicine, is in charge of handling ticket distribution there.

"We'll be checking IDs and giving out tickets for faculty, staff and student at the Medical School," she said. Meanwhile, Johnson's staff is gearing up for many different tasks for the party, expected to draw more than the 8,000 people who attended last year. "One of the most important things we do is to arrange for the portable toilets," he said seriously.

Bringing sufficient water and electrical service to the party site for caterers and others is critical for his shop. It will be a long day for numerous workers, including electrician Mack Lyons, assistant supervisor of facilities services, who will be among many who will start work on Thursday, May 17, supplying power to caterers' tents.

Then on Friday, "it's an all-night deal" to be on hand during the party in case any problems arise, and when the party ends at 10:30 p.m. it means "picking it all up before the next morning because there's a commencement ceremony" for the architecture school on that quad on Saturday. As Johnson says,

"We're the ones behind the scenes, back there making sure they all have the basic necessities. We want to do whatever we can to help make it a success."

The officers reporting to Ken Dupaquier, public safety director, also will be out in force for the event, doing everything from answering questions, to directing traffic, to handling any emergencies that might arise. The TEMS (Tulane Emergency Medical Service) ambulance will be standing by if needed.

"It went very well last year," Dupaquier said. "This year, we will be providing additional security for the ticket operation that will be in place at entrance areas leading to the Gibson quad."

Parking will be available on neighborhood streets surrounding campus. Tulane and Loyola universities, which are both celebrating commencement-related events that week, have reached an agreement with the city to post signs along St. Charles Ave. and adjoining streets to reserve on-street spaces for people attending Tulane and Loyola events.

The Diboll Complex garage also will be available, as will be campus parking spaces. Finally, as space becomes available in the Loyola parking garages Friday evening around 8 p.m., Wave Goodbye guests will be allowed to park in those facilities. Picking Up Tickets All Tulane faculty and staff members are invited to the Wave Goodbye party: which begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 18, on the Gibson Quad.

Each Tulane employee will receive two tickets by presenting an employee ID at the following locations: University Center: Information Desk, noon to 6 p.m. on May 8, 9, 10, 11 and May 14, 15 and 16 School of Medicine: Room 1525, noon to 5 p.m. on May 8, 9, 10, 11 and May 14, 15 and 16 Tidewater Building: Room 2460, noon to 5 p.m. on May 8, 9, 10, 11 and May 14, 15 and 16 All tickets must be obtained before the event.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000