Students will walk to the stage and accept their diplomas during commencement exercises at The University of Montana's Washington Grizzly Stadium. The 116th commencement ceremony is Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m.

University of Montana Registrar Ed Johnson said this week that commencement is always a great day for the university and a great day for the city, as well.

"We're expecting somewhere in the range of 8,000 to 10,000 people inside Washington Grizzly Stadium for the main commencement ceremony," Johnson said. "We'll have nearly 3,000 graduates  accepting their diplomas. After that, we'll have about 35 smaller ceremonies from noon to 2 o'clock from the various schools and colleges around campus."

Johnson said a University of Montana graduate who has accomplished much in the political arena will be the commencement speaker.

"Jim Messina has certainly been in the news recently," Johnson said. "He worked for Senator Baucus, then as deputy chief-of-staff for President Obama in his first term, and then was asked to chair his reelection campaign. Jim has degrees in journalism and political science from UM, so he has done very well."

Johnson pointed visitors to the University of Montana website to find the fastest transportation to and from the commencement exercises.

"We've got several documents on the website, we've got special parking arrangements for folks with any mobility issues, the whole nine yards," Johnson said.

Johnson said the university's Park n' Ride buses will be running every five minutes ferrying visitors to and from the campus to various parking areas to avoid traffic congestion.

University of Montana Registrar Ed Johnson