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JMU News


Important Commencement Traffic and Transportation Information

From: Public Affairs

James Madison University will host its annual spring commencement festivities from Thursday, May 5 through Saturday, May 7, 2011. Heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic are expected at times during the weekend. The following information is provided in an effort to help graduates, their families and friends, and the Harrisonburg / Rockingham County community travel safely throughout the weekend.

Commencement Ceremonies

Individual college ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 7. The ceremony locations are as follows:

Getting to East Campus Ceremonies

For those traveling on Interstate 81 and attending ceremonies on the East Campus (College of Business, College of Integrated Science and Technology, College of Science and Mathematics), take exit 247A - U.S. 33, East Market Street toward Elkton. Once on U.S. 33, turn right onto University Boulevard.

Getting to Bluestone Campus and Godwin Hall Ceremonies

Visitors attending ceremonies on the west side of campus (College of Arts and Letters, College of Visual and Performing Arts, College of Education and University Studies) should consider exiting Interstate 81 at exit 243 and following Route 11 (S. Main Street) north to campus.


Unreserved general parking for commencement ceremonies can be found in any lot displaying an orange "Graduation Parking" sign. All other lots on campus are reserved for special use and require a parking permit. Parking is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Lots will fill up quickly on Saturday morning.

For those attending East Campus ceremonies, parking is available on a first come, first served basis in campus parking lots along Carrier Drive and in Convocation Center lots A and F.

East Campus satellite parking is available in the Kmart parking lot immediately on the right and the Regal Cinemas parking lot further on University Boulevard also on the right. Shuttle bus service will be available from these lots to the individual college ceremonies.

For those attending Bluestone Campus and Godwin Hall ceremonies, parking is available in the Warsaw Avenue and Champions Drive Parking Decks and throughout the west side of campus. Satellite parking for Bluestone Campus and Godwin hall ceremonies is available in the Memorial Hall parking lots located at the intersection of Cantrell Avenue and South High Street. Shuttle bus service will be provided to all ceremonies.

Handicapped parking for those with the appropriate license or permit is available in the following areas (parking map):

  • Godwin Hall area: G Lot and the Champions Drive Parking Deck
  • Quadrangle area: A Lot, L Lot
  • Duke Hall Lawn area: M Lot, V Lot
  • Convocation Center area: Convo B/E Lot
  • Soccer/Lacrosse Complex area: D3 Lot across from the Festival Conference and Student Center
  • East Campus Library Lawn area: East Campus Libary Lot, D3 Lot

Motor homes and oversized vehicles should use the lower section of R2 Lot across from the Port Republic Road entrance to campus or the R4 Lot near Blue Ridge Hall on University Boulevard.

Pedestrian Safety

Due to the high volume of pedestrian traffic associated with Saturday's commencement ceremonies, Bluestone Drive between Port Republic Road and Carrier Drive may be closed periodically throughout the day to accommodate the pedestrian traffic.

Pedestrians who need to cross South Main Street in the area of the Quad will be directed to use the pedestrian tunnel near the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts.

Moving Around Town

James Madison University will be providing free shuttle bus service from most of the hotels in Harrisonburg and the off-campus apartment complexes. These services will start at approximately 7 a.m. and will operate continuously during and after the commencement ceremonies until about 12:30 p.m.

Each route will be color coded for ease in making your return trip. Schedules are available at Brochures are also available at the front desk of many local hotels.

Please take the earliest shuttle bus that you can reasonably take. The last buses before the ceremonies usually operate at capacity and may not be able to accommodate all passengers.

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May 3, 2011