With near-perfect weather for a second day in a row, the final group of the University of Virginia’s roughly 7,800 Class of 2023 graduates strolled the Lawn on Sunday to cap the University’s 194th Final Exercises.
On Sunday, architectural historian and Vice Provost of Academic Outreach Louis Nelson urged the graduates to “see the gap” between the ideal and the real when it comes to the historic treatment of minorities. And, he implored the students, “have to courage to tell the truth about who we have been” and to “have the courage to close the gap.”
On Saturday, keynote speaker and Director of Athletics Carla Williams encouraged students to be willing to fight for themselves, but also quick to extend empathy to those in need of it.
On Friday at Valedictory Exercises in John Paul Jones Arena Jacqueline Novogratz, a 1983 alumna, implored the students to take chances and to accept failures as both inevitable and as valuable teachers.
President Jim Ryan closed the weekend Sunday morning by telling the class not to forget the hardships they overcame, including COVID-19 and the shooting deaths of three classmates in November.
“Carry with you how it felt to be part of a community that faced a pandemic, and how, together, you helped each other through. Remember, because of this, that you can do hard things, together,” Ryan said. And then, referring to the jersey numbers of Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry, he said, “Carry with you the numbers 1, 15, and 41, and what they mean to you.”
On this page, meet some of the members of UVA’s Class of 2023. And check back here frequently as we’ll be updating those stories and posting up-to-the-minute details for the University’s biggest weekend of the year.