UC Davis Plans for Traffic for Weekend Commencements

Three male undergraduates wearing graduation stoles outside
Three students don graduation stoles for photographs before their commencement this weekend. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The University of California, Davis, is working to promote safe and timely traffic flow as thousands of students, their guests and members of the campus community gather to celebrate three undergraduate commencements Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12.

A total of about 7,000 students have registered to participate in the undergraduate commencements, and about 12,500 students and guests are expected at each ceremony.

Most attendees are expected to travel on Interstate 80 and Highway 113 to get to the early morning commencements. Entrance gates to UC Davis Health Stadium are scheduled to open at 6 a.m., and the ceremonies are scheduled to start at 8 a.m.

The campus is coordinating its traffic management and communications with the California Highway Patrol, Caltrans and the city of Davis Police Department.

Lt. Doug Voska of the UC Davis Police Department, who oversees patrol services for the campus, said the dynamic traffic management plan focuses on helping drivers exit the highways and continue to move to designated parking areas. “We want to help graduates and their guests safely and conveniently get on campus to enjoy the big day and then exit when they’re ready.”

Larger ceremonies

The special traffic arrangements and broader communications come as the campus consolidates what had been seven undergraduate commencements into three and moves them outside to the stadium.

The ceremonies are part of the university’s first full, in-person commencement season since the pandemic began. The first of 10 ceremonies was held May 13, and the four weekend ceremonies — including the Graduate School of Management at 3 p.m. Saturday — are the last.

Transportation and parking

Advance communications through the commencement website,  a video, social media messages, direct emails to graduating students and other announcements are providing transportation and parking information.

Among the elements of the traffic management and parking plan:

  • On each commencement day, overhead electronic signs on I-80 at Davis and Dixon will help commencement-goers find the right exit: Attendees traveling westbound will be directed to use the UC Davis exit, and those traveling eastbound will be directed to take Highway 113 north and use the Hutchison Drive exit.
  • Signage on southbound Highway 113 will direct attendees to exit at Russell Boulevard.
  • Four color-coded tracks on campus will help those traveling by car to find their way to and from the stadium.
  • The campus is partnering with the Highway Patrol, and tow trucks will be on standby to assist any disabled vehicles. 
  • The campus is also encouraging carpooling, promoting other means of getting to the ceremonies and offering free shuttles serving about a dozen downtown and south Davis hotels.
  • Volunteers will assemble at a remote location on campus and be bused to the commencement area.
  • The campus is asking employees not involved with commencement to consider working remotely on Friday, if possible.

With a livestream of each ceremony, the University Credit Union Center will offer seating for graduates’ additional guests without tickets or those who prefer to be inside.

New format announced in 2019

The campus announced its new plan for undergraduate commencement in May 2019, with the change to take effect in the spring of 2020. The new format is being implemented for the first time after the pandemic changed graduation plans in 2020 and 2021.

Previously, colleges had held undergraduate commencements in University Credit Union Center, and the number of graduates had grown such that there were three ceremonies for Letters and Science, two for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and one each for Biological Sciences and Engineering.

Media Resources

News release about commencement season and guest speakers

Media Contacts:

  • Lt. Doug Voska, UC Davis Police Department, is available for advance interviews about traffic management. Please contact Julia Ann Easley to schedule.
  •  Julia Ann Easley, News and Media Relations, 530-219-4545, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu

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