Bomb Threat on Commencement Day: Three Minutes Before Students March, Now What?


Keith Woodward
Quinnipiac University
Associate Vice President of Facilities Operations



In May 2014, roughly 14,000 people came to the three different undergraduate ceremonies on the Mount Carmel Campus at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT

With three commencements, at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m., on Sunday, May 14, 2014, the day was perfect and one last ceremony was to go. Then at 5:37 p.m. a person called in a bomb threat. There were 4,000 people on the quad along with 400 graduates and board members and the university president lined up for commencement.

Then there was a second call.

As co-chair of the emergency management team, co-chair of the commencement committee, and facilities operations AVP, it was Keith Woodward’s most stressful day of his career. This presentation provides an after-action report of the next four hours.



  • What went did well (teamwork/communication/and doing your job)
  • What protocol’s were in place (or were not)
  • Lesson’s learned for future


Full schedule