There will be graduation gridlock around New Jersey in the coming week as colleges hold their commencement exercises.

A ribbon celebrating commencement at TCNJ (TCNJ)

Kean, Rutgers, Monmouth and Rowan universities will all hold ceremonies during the next week, attracting thousands of parents, friends and loved ones to roads that may be unfamiliar.

But a unique situation exists in Mercer County as the College of New Jersey in Ewing and Rider University in Lawrence, located about 4 miles apart, will host their respective ceremonies on Thursday night and Friday.

For years, both schools handed out diplomas on Friday morning, causing delays exiting off Interstate 95 to reach TCNJ via Route 31 and Rider by way of Route 206. But for the second year in a row TCNJ will hold its main ceremony on Thursday night inside Lions Stadium for its 2,100 graduates..

TCNJ spokeswoman Emily Dodd says the earlier date allows for a more "personal experience" and individual recognition for undergraduates and their families with smaller, departmental ceremonies scheduled for Thursday and Friday. It also offers a second chance at the main ceremony should Thursday night turnout to be stormy.

Rowan University, located along Route 322 Glassboro, holds its commencement on Friday and starts what is describe as a new tradition, as the ceremony moves from the University Green at Bruce Hall to Wackar Stadium.

"We struggled with the decision after years of tradition on the Green. The deciding factor was, however, our students and their guests," writes the university on its website, which explains that with 20,000 students and guests the stadium will accommodate far more people than the Green.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will be Rowan's undergraduate speaker.

Commencement at Rutgers in 2013 (Rutgers University)

Commencement at Rutgers University takes place at High Point Stadium in Piscataway for 16,431 graduates on Sunday afternoon, rain or shine. The school warns of delays on Route 18 and many local streets around the stadium.

Monmouth University holds its spring commencement on Wednesday, May 21 at 1 p.m. at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.

The Prudential Center in Newark hosts Kean University's commencement on Thursday, May 22 at 8:30 a.m.

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