Excitement high, security tight at ASU for graduation

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Obama speaking to ASU grads

Obama speaking at ASU graduation

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azfamily.com will be streaming the commencement festivities and President Obama's speech starting at approximately 5 p.m.

TEMPE -- Thousands of Arizona State University students will become alumni Wednesday and this year graduation comes with a huge perk -- President Barak Obama is the commencement speaker.

The excitement was tangible just hours before Obama's commencement address.

"It's pretty amazing, just unreal," Byron Smith said.

"It's just very exciting," said Annalili Chacon, one of the first scholarship recipients named in the president's honor.

Seventy-one thousand people are expected at the ceremony inside Sun Devil Stadium.

But with Obama's visit, there is also tight security and a whole lot of preparation.

Security sweeps will be conducted inside the stadium.

"It's a lot like airport security," said Melissa Warner, director of University Ceremonies.

With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, sunscreen, hats and light-colored clothing are recommended. Fans will be handed out to the crowd.

"We're asking people to be hydrated, drink lots of water," Warner said.

Many hydrating stations will be available inside and outside the stadium. Guests are not allowed to bring their own bottled water as the Health Department still has concerns over swine flu.

Students will start lining up about 2 p.m. and they were told to expect to stand in security lines for up to 90 minutes.

Pre-ceremonies are set to begin at 5 p.m. The graduation ceremony should start about 7 p.m. with Obama expected to speak at approximately 7:45 p.m.

Veterans Way will be closed to traffic and there will be flight restrictions surrounding Sun Devil Stadium for all planes except commercial flights.

The light rail will not run in front of the stadium between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. There will be shuttles available.

For more information about the graduation, visit . For traffic information, visit . And for light rail routes, visit .


TEMPE -- Preparations are underway for another visit from President Barack Obama. He is set to give the commencement speech at Arizona State University on Wednesday night and crews are already getting ready for the big event.

And those preps are taking place right here at Sun Devil Stadium.

Typically commencement is held at Wells Fargo arena but you add President Barack Obama to the commencement and the university realized they needed a much larger venue.

In fact a venue that can hold 63,000 people.

That is 8,000 graduates who were allotted 6 tickets each, plus more than 4600 passes for faculty and staff.

When it's all said and done, graduation will have more than 5 times the amount of people who normally attend, so it's going to take that much more time to prepare.

The stage is already being set or built for the historic event at ASU and President Obama's preps are in motion as well.

This morning a huge carrier was spotted at Sky Harbor Airport delivering the presidential motorcade and all security vehicles.

As expected security will be at a premium Wednesday with graduates required to show up at 2pm for a 7pm commencement.

However, the people we spoke with say they don't mind the inconvenience.

For more information please visit, . For traffic information visit . And for light rail routes visit .


On Wednesday azfamily.com will be live streaming the commencement festivities and President Obama's speech here on the site.