The commencement party is about to start in the Triangle, as area colleges and universities send thousands of new graduates into the world.
The festivities begin this weekend at Meredith College, St. Augustines University, William Peace University and Wake Tech. The cap-and-gown parade will culminate next weekend with Duke, N.C. State and Shaw universities and UNC-Chapel Hill.
If you want to take Mom out to dinner for Mothers Day next weekend, do not delay in landing a reservation. Thousands of graduates and their families will clog Triangle roads and businesses next Saturday and Sunday.
Lets hear it for the grads. And their parents.
The schedule of commencement ceremonies:
When: 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 11, at Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham
Speaker: Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs
Notable: Erskine Bowles, former UNC system president and Clinton White House chief of staff, will receive an honorary degree.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at Dorton Arena, State Fairgrounds, Raleigh
Speaker: Susan Mboya, philanthropist and Coca-Cola executive
Notable: Mboya is president of Zawadi Africa Educational Fund, which provides scholarships for women in Africa to attend U.S. colleges, including Meredith.
N.C. Central University
When: 8 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at OKelly-Riddick Stadium, Durham
Speaker: Lezli Baskerville, president and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
• Graduate and professional students
When: 3 p.m. Friday, May 9, McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium
Speaker: John Ruffin, former NCCU professor and retired director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for the National Institutes of Health
Notable: Expect a mention of the MEAC champion Eagles mens basketball team, which went to the NCAA tournament for the first time this year.
N.C. State University
When: 9 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at PNC Arena, Raleigh
Speaker: David Ferriero, archivist of the United States and former Duke librarian
Notable: The university will have 134 valedictorians who earned a perfect 4.0 during their academic careers.
When: 11 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at Dorton Arena, State Fairgrounds, Raleigh
Speaker: Gloria Bongi Ngema-Zuma, first lady of the Republic of South Africa
Notable: Shaws website cautions that the event is joyous, yet solemn: No signs, no fireworks, no bottles, no beach balls, no cans, no noisemakers, etc.
St. Augustines University
When: 9 a.m. Sunday, May 4, at the University Quadrangle
Speaker: Darryl Scriven, author and documentary producer
Notable: After a tumultuous year that included the ouster of the former president, Dianne Boardley Suber, St. Augs graduates will be in the spotlight.
When: 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 11, at Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill
Speaker: Atul Gawande, surgeon and best-selling author
Notable: Honorary degree recipients include former N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue and Tales of the City writer Armistead Maupin.
Wake Technical Community College
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3, at Raleigh Convention Center
Speaker: Phil Matthews, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners
Graduates: 1,400 (About 800 are expected at the ceremony)
Notable: Any Wake Tech employee who has a child graduating will join President Stephen Scott in presenting the diploma.
William Peace University
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3, on the Main Green, Raleigh
Speaker: Nancy McFarlane, mayor of Raleigh
Notable: Tradition at Peace is for graduates to toss roses into the fountain in the center of Main Lawn.