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.

What is Valedictory Exercises?

Valedictory Exercises is a ceremony hosted by the graduating class on Friday, May 17, 2024, at 3:30 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 Darren Kelly at [email protected] 

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

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 2023 or December 2023, you are welcome to participate in Final Exercises and your school/department graduation ceremony in May 2024. Please contact your school/department in advance to inform them of your intent to participate.

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. Glass water bottles are not permitted. 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.

Where can I find past Final Exercise programs, videos and news articles?

Under Traditions and Archives.

When Will I Receive My Diploma?

Diplomas will be mailed within six weeks of degree conferral to the student's identified diploma mailing address as reflected in SIS. For students receiving degrees in May, mailing address changes can be made up until May 1, in the SIS Student Center under Personal Information.

Replacement/Duplicate Diplomas

For information on how to obtain a replacement or duplicate diploma, please refer to the Office of the University Registrar's website.

Does my child need a ticket to attend the Lawn ceremony?

Children under two years old do not need a ticket to attend Final Exercises if they are sitting on someone's lap for the duration of the ceremony. All children three and older will need a ticket to attend.