Motorists and visitors planning to attend Southeastern Louisiana University’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 18, should anticipate heavy traffic and route changes affecting University Avenue (Hwy. 3234) between Interstate 55 and North Cherry Street.
More than 1,000 students will receive associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees at 10 a.m. in the University Center. Former Louisiana House and Senate member Ben Nevers will be honored with a Southeastern Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree before providing remarks at the ceremony.
Harold Todd, director of University Police, said the section of University Avenue between West Tornado Drive and SGA Drive will be restricted from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. that day. Local traffic will be allowed to proceed on University Avenue for as long as possible, but it will be diverted through the campus as congestion increases.
Prior to commencement, the University Center parking areas are expected to fill early, and all traffic on University Avenue will be diverted to the main campus via North General Pershing Street and SGA Drive.
Eastbound commencement traffic will be diverted to West Tornado Drive for parking at the University Center, and westbound commencement traffic will be diverted to the campus at SGA Drive.
“Traffic will begin to get heavy early in the morning,” Todd said. “We anticipate the parking areas around the University Center to be filled before 9 a.m., as the doors to the University Center will open at 8 a.m.”
Additional parking spaces around the University Center will be set aside for vehicles with appropriate handicapped placards. Individuals requiring handicap accommodations should try to arrive as early as possible, as handicapped parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Vacant parking spaces in the Southeastern Oaks/Greek Village complex will also be used for this event. Residents are requested to use the back gate near the laundry facility and maintenance warehouse for entering and exiting between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Southeastern Lion Traxx shuttle buses will be in operation before and after the ceremony to accommodate those parking in outlying areas or needing special transportation assistance, Todd said. Shuttle stops will be marked with signs and/or canopies.
Drivers not attending commencement are asked to use U.S. 190 (Thomas Street and Morris Street) or Natalbany Road (Hwy. 1064) to avoid University Avenue traffic.
Southeastern students wishing to return rental textbooks that day should wait until after 2 p.m. to do so.