Crowd at First Lady's commencement address expected to generate - - Jackson, MS

Crowd at First Lady's commencement address expected to generate millions for city

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

An estimated crowd of 55,000 will be in the Capital City for Jackson State's commencement and the keynote speech, given by First Lady Michelle Obama. That prospect makes business owners and tourism officials very excited.

"The hotels are full. The occupancy is over the roof," said Yolanda Clay-Moore with the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

We're told that also holds true for most hotels in surrounding cities like Ridgeland and Madison.

Clay-Moore said typically between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors come to the city for JSU's graduation.

This year's crowd nearly triples that figure and translates into millions more in tax dollars for the city, an estimated $4.8 million this weekend alone.

"That's a great deal of people, a lot of family and friends coming in for commencement exercises, and then a lot of people just coming for the First Lady's commencement speech. We can kind of piggyback off that, and I think it just piques an interest for the city of Jackson. People will want to know, 'Why did she pick Jackson? Why Jackson State University?'" said Clay-Moore.

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