Renee Jackson of Gary, Indiana, traveled about 6 hours to attend Saturday's commencement; her son earned his master's degree in statistics.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world," she said, adding that her family planned to head home sometime Sunday.
"I'm hoping we beat it out of here before it starts," she said.
Manning said it's visiting families like the Jacksons who contribute tourist dollars to keep communities like Cedar Falls thriving.
"That's brand new money that's infused into the local economy," she said.
She said between UNI's commencement and the weekend's wrestling tournament in Waterloo, the Cedar Valley would see extra tourists and extra spending despite the forecast.
"It's hard to say how the weather is going to impact events," she said.
"It can go the other way as well because sometimes people extend their stay rather than leave town right away because of a winter storm, so you have that side of it as well," said Manning.
She said the longer people stay, the more apt they are to spend money in the area; that's exactly what organizers of the "Battle of Waterloo" were hoping for, too.
"We try to use sports as a means to generate an economic impact in the community, and this is one of the major events that does just that for us," said Executive Director of the Cedar Valley Sports Commission Jim Marlin.
With wrestlers from 32 high school teams under one roof, in addition to their families, friends and wrestling fans, Marlin said the 4th annual statewide tournament is expected to dump upwards of $250,000 into the local economy over the weekend.
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