Parents: It’s Never Too Soon To Start Planning for Finals Weekend. Why Not Now?

March 22, 2024
An above view of Final Exercises

It’s time to start making plans for the University of Virginia’s 2024 Final Exercises, so you can celebrate the big events without any issues. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

Finals Weekend at the University of Virginia has been likened to the school’s Super Bowl, and with good reason.

During the course of the weekend, UVA will confer degrees upon more than 8,000 people, including undergraduate and graduate students who completed the requirements for their degrees in August and December of 2023, and who will complete theirs in May.

Final Exercises 2024, Learn More Final Exercises 2024, Learn More 

Finals Weekend dates are May 17, 18 and 19.

There are changes coming this year for the Class of 2024, one of UVA’s most unique.

UVA Is Moving to Electronic Tickets. Download Them When They Arrive

This year, graduating students will receive their tickets electronically. No later than May 9, they will be invited to log in and claim their six tickets. If students enter and win a lottery, they will receive one additional ticket.

Students will then need to distribute the tickets electronically to their graduation guests, and the sooner the better – attempting to download, distribute and re-download tickets just before walking the Lawn may lead to digital delays on Central Grounds.

On May 18 and 19, the two days of Final Exercises, staff will offer help with ticketing in tents near Minor, Randall and Warner halls.

UVA will augment its Wi-Fi capability, but officials highly recommend guests download their tickets to their phones well in advance of Finals Weekend, so their celebrations run as smoothly as possible. The e-ticket check-in system is identical to the one used at athletic events at UVA.

Why the Change?

Cecil Banks, UVA’s executive director for major events and external relations, explained the thinking behind moving away from paper tickets.

In the past, students were instructed to pick up their physical tickets at the University Bookstore a week ahead of Finals Weekend. The new, electronic ticketing will allow the University to distribute tickets sooner. It also makes it easier for students to transfer unused tickets to fellow graduates. “It makes it less complicated,” Banks said.

In a recent email to members of the Class of 2024 about Finals Weekend details, Danielle Stephens, the graduation committee chair for the Class of 2024 Trustees, wrote: “The selling or bartering of Final Exercises tickets is strictly prohibited and is considered an honor offense. If you are discovered to be selling or bartering Final Exercises tickets, the tickets will be voided, and the case will be referred to the Honor Committee.”

Recognizing a Class Like No Other

“We recognize that members of the Class of 2024 were devastated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Banks said.

“Many didn’t experience in-person high school graduations, proms or other milestones. We are truly looking forward to celebrating these students and having them experience the magic of walking the Lawn with tens of thousands of friends and family cheering them on,” he said. “It will be a memorable occasion.”

Friday’s Valedictory Exercises Begin One Half-Hour Later Than Usual, at 3:30

In years past, the ceremony started at 3 p.m. This year, it will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the John Paul Jones Arena. Class officers will present the class gift and other University awards will be given to students and faculty.

The graduating class has also invited a guest speaker, who will be announced soon.

There Are Changes to Which Schools Walk the Lawn May 18 and 19

Typically, graduates from the College of Arts & Sciences walk the Lawn on Saturday. This year, they will be joined by graduates from the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the School of Education and Human Development.

On Sunday, the Lawn procession will include graduates from the schools of Law, Medicine, Nursing, Architecture, and Continuing and Professional Studies as well as the schools of Data Science, Engineering and Applied Science, the Darden School of Business and McIntire School of Commerce.

All guest seating on the Lawn is first-come, first-served. Ushers will begin scanning tickets for entry at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The featured speakers will be announced soon.

Saturday and Sunday Remote Viewing Locations and Live-Streaming

Anyone can tune in to the livestream of the ceremonies. There will also be remote viewing locations at Alumni Hall (May 18 only), Newcomb Hall Ballroom and Newcomb Hall Theater –all wheelchair-accessible and climate-controlled. No tickets are required for admission to the remote viewing sites.

Inclement Weather Plan

Saturday and Sunday’s ceremonies on the Lawn will proceed in the rain if there is no thunder, lightning or high winds, but all school and department graduation ceremonies will be moved indoors.

In the event of severe weather, including thunder, lightning, high winds or other dangerous conditions, Final Exercises will be moved to the John Paul Jones Arena and school and department ceremonies will be held indoors.

It is important to note that if a ceremony is moved to John Paul Jones Arena, graduating students will be limited to three guests.

Staying Up to Date

To stay up to date and for additional information, you can visit the Finals Weekend 2024 web page.

Media Contact

Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications