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UArizona Graduation boosts business

Spending surge before summer lull
Posted at 5:30 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 20:30:58-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It’s graduation time at University of Arizona—and before they graduate students—and their parents will add a parting boost to the local economy.

Photos at Old Main —-with proud parents standing by—-are a prime part of UArizona graduation traditions. The University will grant about eight thousand bachelors, Masters and PH.Ds.

It’s the end of a long road to a degree and the beginning of a road through life. Parents who’ve been paying at least part of the bills are okay with the costs of coming to Tucson for such a big event.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked UArizona parent Ernest Johnson: “When you come here for something like commencement, how much of an investment is that?

Johnson: “Investment is everything because it's my son. It's a life investment, knowing that all this school took care of him to get everything right. So I gotta support the school and support him.”

Businesses along University have a ready made clientele of thousands of students but take eight thousand students getting degrees, add parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters and that’s some serious cash flow.

Parent John Palumbo says, “I can't even tell you. The wife did all the planning, the restaurant for afterwards to get us someplace that would accommodate everybody, you know the right hotel at the right place and of course, making sure we had gas before we left.

Craig Smith: Now, if you had to put a price tag on that..?

Palumbo: “It was a little bit yeah, a few grand for sure.”

Visiting families need a place to stay, so that means a business boom for hotels like the Tucson Marriott University Park. General Manager Jill Nghiem says 250 rooms are full.

“Business goes crazy. The hotel is full. It's been full since almost Monday. But people are dining in the restaurant. They're hanging out in the lobby. They're celebrating. It's just a great feeling in the hotel.”

After the blast of business for graduation business will slow down for the summer, until things pick up in August as new students move in.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.