Summer Commencement Advisory

Dragon Boat Races downtown may make parking at the St. Pete Times Forum for graduation ceremonies a challenge.

By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (July 29, 2011) – Forewarned is forearmed. The University of South Florida’s summer commencement ceremony will be competing with Dragon Boat Races this year.


The Dragon Boat Championship competition begins Aug. 1 and continues through Aug. 7 on the Seddon Channel in downtown Tampa, overlapping USF’s graduation celebration on Aug. 6. 

With the Sun Dome under renovation, USF is using the St. Pete Times Forum. With estimates of thousands of people in town for both, parking could be the greatest challenge.

USF estimates 1500 graduates will be on hand along with between 12,000 and 14,000 guests. As many as 3,000 competitors from 26 countries (20 paddlers in each boat) are taking part in the races with an unknown number of spectators. 

University officials recommend that graduates and their well-wishers arrive as early as possible to ensure a smooth and non-stressful afternoon. Forum doors will be open to students and guests at 12:30 p.m. The program is set to begin promptly at 2 p.m.

“It might be a good idea to have breakfast or brunch in the area or take pictures ahead of time in the area so that everyone is seated in time,” said Entela Balliu, USF commencement coordinator. 

For more information about commencement, visit and for parking options visit

Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.