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Help reduce traffic on Commencement Day

Employees are encouraged to carpool, telecommute or work alternate or flexible schedules on May 9 to help ease Commencement traffic.

This year Commencement has been moved one hour later to begin at 9 a.m. instead of its traditional 8 a.m. start.

Those employees who must be on campus should do their best to avoid Clifton, Houston Mill, North Decatur and Briarcliff roads immediately adjacent to the Emory campus, according to Adele Clements, senior director of Transportation and Parking Services.

Roads will be extremely congested from about 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. as about 15,000 attendees are expected, explains Michael Kloss, director of the Office of University Events.

Kloss asks managers to identify staff members who do not need to be on campus on the morning of May 9 for mission-critical or Commencement-support roles.

"Every car removed from the streets, decks and lots makes a significant difference for the graduates and their families," Kloss notes.

Clements says the University's shuttle service will be modified to accommodate special Commencement guest shuttles.

Changes include the following:

  • B Route: No trips at 7:15 a.m., 7:45 a.m., 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. No service after 6:45 p.m.
  • DX Route: 5-9:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m.-12 a.m. Peavine – Woodruff Circle only. No service on Fishburne Drive or Dowman Drive.
  • D Route: 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. serves Peavine deck/lot, Woodruff Circle, Fishburne Drive and Dowman Drive.
  • Loop: No service until 3 p.m.
  • 1525-VA Route: No service until 3:10 p.m. from the Starvine Deck.
  • Executive Park: 1 bus 7 a.m.-11:20 a.m. & 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Normal service to these routes will resume at 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Service on other routes will remain on normal schedules, but may experience delays due to heavy traffic. For more information and for any possible updates to this schedule, see the routes and schedules information on the Commencement website.

Clements also notes that due to the increase in service on this day, “many of the buses serving our regular routes will not be visible on TransLoc."

For the latest updates on Emory's Commencement, including any changes in schedule due to weather, see

Gearing up for Commencement

Pulling off Commencement takes hundreds of hours, hundreds of people and a long lead time for planning.

“Campus Services literally start months in advance, in coordination with Michael Kloss’ office, in the planning for Commencement,” says Todd Kerzie, associate vice president of facilities management.

Kerzie calls it an “all hands effort to present the Emory Campus as a stage for Commencement,” involving the work of Campus Services departments including the Work Management Center, Roads and Grounds Shop, Staging and Auxiliary Services, Building and Residential Services, Transportation, and Public Safety.

“Our grounds crew actually starts in the fall preparing the turf and flower beds for Commencement Day,” he says.

The last couple of  weeks leading up to the special day, stage pieces are inspected and prepared, additional potted plants and flowers are ordered, chairs organized, recycling bins readied, and more.

The pace of preparations is “frenetic,” says Jimmy Powell, director of engineering and exterior services in Campus Services.

He describes the preparations: “Trees are inspected and pruned for safety, flower beds are changed out to summer annuals, shrubs pruned, walks cleaned, benches and patios are power washed.

“The paint shop touches up the painted exterior surfaces such as light poles, hand railings and bollards. The Staging department delivers and sets up hundreds of tables, chairs, recycling equipment and podiums to dozens of events in the days leading up to Commencement,” Powell continues.

“Then after the last diploma is conferred, a mass of Campus Services staff and volunteers from all units of the University come together to break down and clean up all reception sites and diploma venues on Monday afternoon,” he says.  “Amazingly, all diploma venues and receptions sites are broken down and cleaned up by 5 p.m. on Commencement Day.”

The effort encompasses hundreds of staff and volunteers, including Emory President James Wagner and his wife, Debbie, who "come out and help break down the Quad on Monday afternoon and personally thank all of the volunteers," Powell says.

Commencement is a point of pride not only for graduates, but for all members of the University community.

“This is one of our most favorite times of the year as we get to showcase how beautiful Emory is to all the family, friends, and others who have supported the students during their tenure at Emory,” Kerzie says.

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