University of Virginia Final Exercises — By the Numbers

Number of commencements

  • 2006 marks the 177th year that Final Exercises (U.Va.’s traditional way of describing Commencement Exercises) have been held at the University of Virginia.

Degrees being awarded

  • 3,423 baccalaureate (44 of these were earned in three years and two were earned in two years)
  • 514 first professional degrees
  • 2,100 graduate degrees, including 301 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, 24 Doctor of Education degrees and one Doctor of Juridical Science degree
  • 572 graduates are international students

Another 244 students are earning master’s degrees, nine doctoral degrees and 34 education specialist degrees after completing work at centers around the state through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

  • Total number of graduates in the Class of 2006: 6,037

Oldest degree-earners

  • Undergraduate: Donna W. Farnum, 63, of Palmyra, Va., will receive her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
  • Graduate: Nancy Pagliaro, 64, of Arlington, Va., received her master of education degree from the Curry School of Education in January 2006.

Youngest degree-earners

  • Undergraduate: Sarah Helen Nie, 18, of Ashburn, Va., will receive a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Graduate: Gregory R. Smith, 16, of Keswick, Va., will receive a master’s degree in mathematics from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Who’s counting?

  • Chairs: For about 6,000 graduates, their families and guests, approximately 45,000 chairs, at 50 sites, including 20,000 on the Lawn, are set up for Finals Weekend.
  • Fencing: About 1,000 feet of fencing is installed to protect guests from slipping down the steeper inclines of the Lawn and to maximize safety.
  • Food: U.Va. Catering operates food stands on the Sunday of Finals Weekend; this year, they plan to serve 17,000 petite gourmet cookies; 4,000 bakeshop cookies; 400 gallons of lemonade, 200 gallons of iced tea; 4,000 bottles of water; 400 pounds of golden pineapple; 400 pounds of cantaloupe; 400 pounds of honeydew; and 400 pounds of strawberries.
  • Sound Systems: Sound systems are provided for more than 30 U.Va. venues.
  • Stages: Workers install 12 stages of various sizes around Grounds and furnish them with podiums, tables, stairs, ramps or lifts, skirting, rails and sound systems.
  • Stakes & ropes: To demark sections of the Lawn, hundreds of stakes are driven into the ground, painted white and attached to about a half-mile of roping.
  • Staffing: Prior to Finals Weekend, approximately 40 full-time Facilities Management employees work around the Grounds to ensure that the Lawn and other areas are in impeccable condition. About two weeks prior to the event, between 80 and 100 facilities staff members engage in additional preparations for the event. Thousands of labor hours are expended to make sure that the minutest details have not been overlooked.

Final Exercises consist of valedictory exercises on Saturday, May 20, and “Finals,” or commencement exercises, on Sunday, May 21.