Visitors planning to attend Southeastern Louisiana University’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday should anticipate heavy traffic and route changes affecting University Avenue between Interstate 55 and North Cherry Street.

Patrice B. Pujol, superintendent of Ascension Parish school system and a recipient of the Louisiana Superintendent of the Year Award, will speak at the ceremony, a news release said.

About 1,175 students will receive associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the 10 a.m. ceremony in the University Center.

Harold Todd, director of university police, said the section of University Avenue between West Tornado Drive and SGA Drive will be restricted from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. that day. Local traffic will be allowed to proceed on University Avenue for as long as possible but will be diverted through the campus as congestion increases.

“Traffic will begin to get heavy early in the morning,” Todd said. “We anticipate the parking areas around the University Center to be filled before 9 a.m.”

Additional parking spaces around the University Center will be set aside for vehicles with handicapped placards.

Vacant parking spaces in the Southeastern Oaks/Greek Village complex also will be used for the event. Residents are asked to use the back gate near the laundry facility and maintenance warehouse for entering and exiting between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Southeastern Lion Traxx shuttle buses will be in operation before and after the ceremony to accommodate those parking in outlying areas or needing special transportation assistance, Todd said.