Frequently Asked Questions
When and where is Final Exercises?
The 191st Final Exercises will be held on the Lawn at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17, 2020. Final Exercises will end between 11:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.
When does my student graduate?
The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will participate in Final Exercises on Saturday, May 16. All other schools will participate in Final Exercises on Sunday, May 17. The schedule for Finals Weekend 2020 will available here as soon as it is confirmed. School and department graduation ceremonies are held during the afternoon, following Final Exercises on the Lawn. A list of locations and times for each school and department ceremony will be available here in late Fall 2019.
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 in which 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.
What do you suggest I do regarding lodging, as I am finding all of the hotels are booked?
The University provides on-Grounds housing in the new Alderman Road residence area, during Finals Weekend. For details, please contact Conference Services at (434) 924-4479 or visit their website. For 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 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 to include designated parking and shuttle buses from/to the John Paul Jones Arena, seating on the Lawn and at Newcomb Hall during Final Exercises, and sign language interpreters and open captioning on the LED screens during Final Exercises. For additional information, please contact Melissa Oliver, Coordinator of Services for Persons with Disabilities, at (434) 924-3095. Please note that the University does not supply wheelchairs; however, they may be rented from local companies, and their contact information is available 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 the Final Exercises 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 and will be presented a ceremonial scroll. A list of ceremony locations and contact information is available here.
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 I need a ticket for the school and department ceremonies?
There are over sixty school and department ceremonies during Finals Weekend, and each is different based on the number of graduates, venue, and ceremony. For questions related to these ceremonies, please contact the school or department directly. Contact information is listed here.
What time should I arrive to Final Exercises?
Guests should be seated on the Lawn by 8:45 a.m. to prepare for the procession. Please allow time to park and shuttle over from the John Paul Jones Arena or Scott Stadium, if applicable. The ushers will begin seating guests on the Lawn at 7:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. The doors to the Remote (Indoor) Viewing Locations open at 8 a.m.
Where am I allowed to park during Finals Weekend?
Parking is available in many locations during Finals Weekend. Please see the Parking & Shuttle Service section of the website for a list of parking areas, as well as parking tips to help plan your visit. Guests staying in On-Grounds Housing should park in the S6 Parking lot at Scott Stadium, nearest the Student Activities Building (no permit is required).
What is Valedictory Exercises?
Valedictory Exercises is a ceremony hosted by the graduating class on Friday, May 15, 2020, at 3 p.m. on the Lawn. The ceremony will feature the presentation of the class gift and university and class awards and remarks by a keynote speaker. 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, recognizing 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@example.com.
When may I pick up my cap and gown?
With a valid photo ID, graduates may pick up their caps and gowns at the University Bookstore during Fourth-Year Week (Dates TBD), Graduate Week (Dates TBD), and Finals Week (May 13-17), as applicable.
As an August or a December graduate, can I participate in the graduation ceremonies in May?
If you receive your degree in August 2019 or December 2019, you are welcome to participate in Final Exercises and your school or department ceremony in May 2020. Please contact your school or department in advance to inform them of your intent to participate. Also, visit the "For Students" section of this website for important information regarding preparations for Finals Weekend 2020.
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.
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.
Where can I pick up a Final Exercises Program?
Programs will be placed in the seat of each graduating student; hence, students do not need to pick up a copy prior to the Academic Procession. Programs for guests will be available at the Information Booths, at select points on the Lawn, as well as at all remote (indoor) viewing locations. The program will also be posted online in the History & Archives section of the website.