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Office of Major Events

Finals 2020: Frequently Asked Questions

When is the virtual celebration and degree conferral for the Class of 2020 and what does it include?

The University of Virginia is excited to host a Virtual Celebration and Degree Conferral for the UVA Class of 2020, including August and December 2019 graduates, on Saturday, May 16, at 1 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time.  This celebration marks the conclusion of the academic year and allows those who earned degrees to graduate on time. A traditional, in-person Final Exercises ceremony will be held on Grounds at a later date.

Our virtual celebration will feature remarks from President Jim Ryan, the conferral of degrees by Deans of all 12 UVA schools, and surprise musical performances to honor the graduating class. Tune in May 16 to find out who provides special musical messages unique to the UVA Class of 2020.

Students and their families and friends across the world can join the celebration live or access a recording afterwards.  As in previous years, you are encouraged to use the #UVAGrad hashtag on social media in the days leading up to the event – and during the May 16 celebration – to share your UVA-related and celebration moments and memories. 

The Virtual Celebration and Degree Conferral for the UVA Class of 2020 will be streamed on a variety of University-affiliated platforms including:

The celebration will also be available on a special UVA Class of 2020 celebration website scheduled to go online on May 11. Each of the University’s 12 schools also will post celebration-specific pages, which will feature video remarks from school Deans and additional content honoring their graduating students.

When and where will Final Exercises for the Class of 2020 take place?

Given the continued uncertainty about COVID-19, the University has identified October 9-11, 2020 as the dates for Final Exercises on the Lawn for the Class of 2020. If the University is unable to hold Final Exercises on October 9-11, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Final Exercises for the Class of 2020 will take place on May 28-30, 2021.

Should we make travel arrangements for Final Exercises for the Class of 2020?

We recommend against making travel plans for October until we know more information regarding COVID-19 and the impact to the University's Fall operations.

When will my student's graduation ceremony take place?

The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will participate in Final Exercises on the Lawn at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 10, 2020 (backup date: Saturday, May 29, 2021). All other schools will participate in Final Exercises on the Lawn at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 11, 2020 (backup date: Sunday, May 30, 2021). The full schedule for Finals Exercises for the Class of 2020 will be announced at a later date and will be available here.

Will schools and departments still hold their own in-person ceremonies?

Details regarding school and department ceremonies, including possible dates, are still being worked out and will be shared at a later date.

How many guest seating tickets for Final Exercises will my student receive?

Each graduate will receive six tickets for guest seating on the Lawn.  If the ceremony is moved to John Paul Jones Arena in the event of severe weather, graduates will be limited to three guest seating tickets. Graduates will not receive guest seating tickets for both Final Exercises ceremonies Saturday and Sunday. They will receive tickets for the day in which his/her school is invited to participate. Information regarding ticket distribution will be provided at a later date.

My graduate is a double major. Will I receive tickets for Final Exercises for each major?

No. Guest seating tickets are distributed to graduates evenly based on the number of degrees (diplomas) awarded in the class. Graduates with double majors receive one degree (diploma) with two concentrations and are allocated six guest seating tickets. Graduates in a dual degree program (receiving two diplomas) are allocated six guest seating tickets for each degree awarded (six tickets per diploma).

Do children require tickets to attend Final Exercises on the Lawn?

Children two years old and younger do not require a ticket if sitting on someone's lap. All children older than 2 years old are required to have a guest seating ticket.

When may I pick up my cap and gown?

More information regarding cap and gown distribution will be communicated at a later date.

What happens if it rains during Final Exercises?

Final Exercises takes place on the Lawn rain or shine.  The ceremony will be moved indoors to John Paul Jones Arena in the event of severe weather (e.g. thunder, lightning, or high winds).  If the ceremony is moved to John Paul Jones Arena, then each graduate will be limited to three guests. More information regarding the weather plans is available here.

What should I wear to Final Exercises?

Final Exercises is held outdoors.  Attire is a personal preference, but guests are encouraged to dress respectfully for the occasion and appropriately for the weather, and to wear comfortable shoes given the considerable amount of walking involved. Graduates and faculty will wear their caps and gowns which will provide them access to the Lawn and to John Paul Jones Arena (if the ceremony is moved inside). The grass, as well as ramps and steps located on the Lawn may be damp or slick during Final Exercises. Graduates and faculty are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes with low heels to avoid falling or tripping during the Procession.

Can my child/children participate with me in the Academic Procession on the Lawn during Final Exercises?

For safety reasons, children are not allowed to participate in the Academic Procession.  Only faculty members and graduates are allowed to participate in the Academic Procession during Final Exercises on the Lawn.