Virginia Tech preparing for Michelle Obama's graduation speech

Virginia Tech's graduation is at noon Friday.

May 09, 2012|Orlando Salinas | WDBJ7 Reporter

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Over the next several days, graduation ceremonies are taking place all over the country, including Virginia Tech.

But this year, the university will be hosting a very special commencement speaker, America's First Lady - Michelle Obama.

The First Lady is expected to speak at Lane Stadium, and it appears ready to go

Our crew was able to park right next to the stadium.  We were even able to walk right onto the field, but that's going to change by Thursday.

A good old-fashioned push lawnmower and strong legs, part of the preps at Lane Stadium as Virginia Tech gears up for another graduation.
But this year, for the first time, Virginia Tech will host a First Lady as a commencement speaker. Michelle Obama is expected to share the stage with commencement co-speaker U.S. Senator Mark Warner, if not steal the spotlight all together.

Will Mrs. Obama shake hands with graduates on Friday?

"We don't know exactly how that's going to be working out, we'll find that out on Friday," Virginia Tech Spokesperson Mark Owczarski said. "But what the First Lady will do, you'll have call the White House."

Wilson Murphy is working the front desk at his job. One of nearly 5,000 Virginia Tech seniors expected to graduate in a few days. Wilson says he's willing to put up with bad parking and long lines for one reason.

"I wasn't going to go to the commencement just because I know it's going to take a while, but now that I heard that Michelle Obama's coming, I'm definitely going," Wilson said.

As many as 30,000 people are expected, so parking will be a bear.

Security cameras you can and can't see will be in place, as well as Secret Service agents.  Police say they will be all over, but that's about all they'll say.

"And there's things we can't talk about that are going to be in place that we are working through," Virginia Tech Police Department Chief Wendell Flinchum said.

The gates at Lane stadium open at 7 a.m. Friday.

If you're planning on attending, you better show up a couple of hours early, and make sure you get a seat.

Umbrellas will be allowed inside Lane Stadium, but Virginia Tech is hoping they are not needed because they could be one more security headache. To see a list of security measures at Virginia Tech and Liberty University, click here.

Following First Lady Michelle Obama into our region, is GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  WDBJ7, Your Hometown News Leader has full coverage of both appearances. will have live streaming of Mrs. Obama's commencement remarks at Virginia Tech this Friday beginning at noon.

And then Saturday morning beginning at 10, we'll have live coverage on WDBJ7 and on of Mitt Romney's commencement speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg.


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