General Information

Frequently Asked Questions

When and where is Final Exercises?

The 194th Final Exercises will be held on the Lawn at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, 2023. Final Exercises will end between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. To see the complete schedule of events, please click here.

What is the difference between Final Exercises and School and Department Graduation Ceremonies?

Final Exercises begins with an academic procession of the graduates and faculty down the Lawn. The ceremony includes the conferral of degrees by school, greetings by University officials, and remarks by a keynote speaker.

The School and Department Graduation Ceremonies take place throughout the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday after Final Exercises.  At these ceremonies, graduates will be recognized individually.

When does my student graduate?

The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will participate in Final Exercises on Saturday, May 20. All other schools will participate in Final Exercises on Sunday, May 21. School and department graduation ceremonies will be held during the afternoon, following Final Exercises on the Lawn. A list of locations and times for each school and department ceremony is available here.

What do you suggest I do regarding lodging, as I am finding all of the hotels are booked?

The University offers on-Grounds housing in the first-year dorms located in the Alderman Road Residence Area for guests attending Finals Weekend. Reservations are limited and provided on a first-come, first-served basis. This is not a hotel option, but an economical, no-frills alternative with no minimum stay requirement. These hall-style accommodations include two lofted twin beds and a shared common area and gender-specific communal bathrooms on each hall. Compostable sheets and pillow are provided, but guests must provide their own towels, toiletries, and other amenities. For more information or to make your reservation, visit the Conferences@UVA website or contact them at (434) 924-4479 / [email protected]. 

Information on hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts, contact the Charlottesville Albemarle Visitors Bureau toll free at (877) 386-1103 or visit their website. To reach the Visitors Bureau Reservations Hotline directly, call (800) 253-1271

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, 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 his/her school is invited to participate.

Additional guests are welcomed. Guests without a Final Exercises seating ticket can watch a live stream of the ceremony in one of our climate-controlled, Remote (Indoor) Viewing Locations. Tickets are not required for these venues. In addition, both Final Exercises ceremonies will be streamed live on the University of Virginia live webcast page.

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. Guests with children are also encouraged to take advantage of the Remote (Indoor) Viewing Locations. These locations are climate-controlled and located near indoor restrooms. In addition, these locations are less crowded than the seating area on the Lawn, allowing for more space for children to move around. Tickets are not required for these venues.

My graduate is a double major. Do they receive Final Exercises guest tickets 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).

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.

What time should I arrive to Final Exercises?

Guests should be seated on the Lawn by 8:15 a.m. to prepare for the procession. Please allow time to park and shuttle over from the John Paul Jones Arena, if applicable.  The ushers will begin seating guests on the Lawn at 7 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.  The doors to the Remote (Indoor) Viewing Locations open at 7 a.m.

As an August or a December graduate, can I participate in the graduation ceremonies in May?

If you receive your degree in August 2022 or December 2022, you are welcome to participate in Final Exercises and your school/department graduation ceremony in May 2023. Please contact your school/department in advance to inform them of your intent to participate.

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. Details regarding the weather plans are available here. In the event of inclement or severe weather, shuttle bus service will be extended until the conclusion of all school/department graduation ceremonies.

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.

What is Valedictory Exercises?

Valedictory Exercises is a ceremony hosted by the graduating class on Friday, May 19, 2023, at 3 p.m. in the John Paul Jones Arena. The ceremony will feature the presentation of the class gift and university and class awards and remarks by a keynote speaker, who is selected by the graduating class. Tickets are not required for this ceremony, and it is open to the public.

What is Donning of the Kente?

The Donning of the Kente is a ceremony that recognizes the accomplishments of graduating black students. During the ceremony, students receive stoles made of kente cloth, imported from West Africa. The ceremony is sponsored by the Office of African-American Affairs, and tickets are required.   For additional information, contact Michael Mason at [email protected]

When may I pick up my cap and gown?

With a valid photo ID, graduating students may pick up their caps and gowns at the University Bookstore during Fourth-Year Week (February 20-24), Graduate Week (February 27- March 3), and Finals Week (May 17-21), as applicable. Please visit the cap & gown section for the Bookstore’s hours and additional information

What services do you provide for guests with limited mobility and/or disabilities?

A variety of services are provided for guests with limited mobility and/or disabilities, including: designated parking and shuttle buses from/to the John Paul Jones Arena, accessible seating on the Lawn and at Newcomb Hall during Final Exercises, as well as sign language interpreters and open captioning on LED screens during Final Exercises. Though the University does not provide wheelchairs, they may be rented from local companies listed on the services for persons with disabilities webpage.

I'm graduating. Is my child/family member/signficant other allowed to walk the Lawn with me?

No, only graduates in their academic regalia are allowed to walk the Lawn during Final Exercises. In the seating section on the lower tier of the Lawn, there are only enough seats to accommodate the total number of graduates for that particular day.

Can I bring bottled water to Final Exercises?

Guests are allowed to bring unopened beverages to Final Exercises. Half-full (or half-empty) bottles will not be permitted. They must be factory SEALED. Guests can also bring empty beverage containers (i.e. refillable water bottles) and get complimentary water from the various water filling stations available on the Lawn. Bottled water/sodas will also be available for purchase at concession stands located on Central Grounds and on the Lawn. For graduating students, complimentary bottled water will be available in the graduating students’ assembly areas and in their seating section.