University of Virginia Prepares for 182nd Final Exercises, May 21 and 22

May 19, 2011 — Just weeks after President Teresa A. Sullivan's inauguration on the Lawn, the University of Virginia community will again gather there May 21 and 22, this time in honor of the Class of 2011.

It will be U.Va.'s 182nd Final Exercises, and Sullivan's first as president. "Graduation is the University's most joyful occasion of the year and a milestone moment for our students and their families," she said. "I have participated in many graduation ceremonies at many colleges and universities, but there is a unique spirit to the Final Exercises here.

"I was in the audience for last spring's graduation, so I was able to see the spectacular ceremony for the first time then. Because this is my first graduation as U.Va.'s president, I have been looking forward to it with a keen sense of anticipation."

The University's 11 schools will award 6,248 degrees. That total includes 3,668 bachelor's degrees, 1,615 master's degrees, 420 doctoral degrees, 377 law degrees, 136 medical degrees and 32 education specialist degrees.

Between 30,000 and 35,000 people are expected to descend upon the Grounds during the weekend.

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell will give the commencement address on Sunday. He will speak from the south end of the Lawn following the traditional academic procession from the Rotunda, which begins at 10 a.m.

Alumnus J. Brady Lum, president and chief operating officer of Special Olympics, will give the valedictory address. The Class of 2011 Valedictory Exercises will be held May 21 at 11 a.m. on the Lawn.

Other public events, all on Saturday:

•    The School of Nursing Hooding Ceremony, 1 p.m., McLeod Hall auditorium.
•    The Curry School of Education Hooding Ceremony, 2 p.m., Culbreth Theatre.
•    Joint Commissioning Exercises for Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force ROTC candidates, 3 p.m., Old Cabell Hall Auditorium. Army Maj. Gen. Richard C. Longo will speak.
•    The School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.
•    The Donning of the Kente ceremony, sponsored by the Office of African-American Affairs, 7 p.m., Culbreth Theatre. (Tickets required; call 434-924-7923.)
•    The Virginia Glee Club Finals Concert, 8 p.m., Chapel. (Free, donations accepted.)

For information on Finals Weekend, visit  


• Bob McDonnell was elected Virginia's 71st governor in 2009. The son of a U.S. Air Force officer, he spent most of his childhood in Fairfax County before heading to college at the University of Notre Dame. He attended college with the help of an Army ROTC scholarship. After graduation, he served in Germany and at Fort Eustis in Newport News, retiring from active and reserve duty in 1997 as a lieutenant colonel.

With his business degree, McDonnell went to work in Atlanta for American Hospital Supply Corp., but felt compelled to complete his education. He returned to Virginia, where he enrolled in Regent University in Virginia Beach, simultaneously pursuing degrees in public policy and law while serving in the Army Reserves and working in the circulation department at The Virginian-Pilot. "The years of no sleep," he calls that period.

After law school, he served as a commonwealth's attorney in Virginia Beach and was elected as a delegate to the Virginia General Assembly in 1991 to represent that city's 84th district. Working with then-Gov. George Allen, he sponsored legislation aimed at reforming drunk-driving laws, judicial evaluations and juvenile justice.

In 2005, he became Virginia's attorney general and led initiatives to strengthen Virginia's mental health laws, establish a "senior alert" system to assist in locating missing seniors with mental deficiencies, create a state-of-the art sex offender registry and provide new law enforcement tools to investigate online crimes.

Since his election as governor, McDonnell has made higher education a priority, launching a commission that made recommendations to improve college accessibility for Virginians and, by 2025, to increase by 100,000 the number of degrees granted in the commonwealth, particularly in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.

McDonnell and his wife Maureen have five children. Their two youngest sons, twins Bobby and Sean, are rising second-year students in U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences.

• J. Brady Lum, who graduated with honors in 1989 from the College of Arts & Sciences with a degree in government and foreign affairs, was a high-ranking executive at The Coca-Cola Company in January 2008 when the CEO Muhtar Kent – a member of the Special Olympics board – called him into his office, told him of the CEO job opening at Special Olympics and suggested that he apply.

"Before I had time to respond, Muhtar proceeded to speak passionately about his nearly 25 years of involvement with Special Olympics," Lum recalled later. "It was then that I realized that this was more than a corporate nicety – that Muhtar was not just fulfilling a board role to help, but really was interested in the best for Special Olympics and for me."

Four months later, Lum was introduced as Special Olympics' new president and COO.

A Houston native, Lum was a Jefferson Scholar at U.Va. He earned a Luce Scholarship to study in Asia, and was a research associate at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur (and remains conversationally fluent in both Spanish and Malay).

He later went on to earn a master's of business administration from the Harvard University School of Business. In the Jeffersonian tradition of lifelong learning, he is currently pursuing a master's degree in music from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Lum has maintained his ties with the University, serving on the Jefferson Scholars National Selection Committee and the Mead Endowment Advisory Board. He also has served as chairman of the board of the national Hands On Network, overseeing its merger with the Points of Light Foundation.

He lives in Chevy Chase, Md., with his wife, Jill Morehouse Lum, daughters Perry and Sandy, and son Wiley.

Inclement Weather

If the inclement- or severe-weather plan is followed for Valedictory Exercises or Final Exercises, announcements will be made no later than 8 a.m. on local radio stations and the University's home page [link to]. If in doubt, call the University's weather hotline, 434-924-7669 or 434-243-7669, or the graduation information line, 434-982-2908.

In the case of inclement or severe weather on Saturday, Valedictory Exercises will be moved from the Lawn to the John Paul Jones Arena.

For Sunday, the severe-weather plan will be followed only in case of thunder, lightning, high winds or other conditions that make it unsafe to hold ceremonies outside. Rain alone does not constitute severe weather.

Depending upon the weather, the University may implement its inclement weather plan. Final Exercises would be held on the Lawn as planned, but diploma ceremonies would be moved inside. Under this plan, faculty and students and their guests will go to the inclement weather sites designated on the "Diploma Ceremony Locations" chart [link to:] for diploma distribution.

If the weather is severe, there will be a central convocation in the John Paul Jones Arena for the College of Arts & Sciences, the McIntire School of Commerce, the Frank W. Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the Curry School of Education and the schools of Architecture, Continuing and Professional Studies, and Nursing.

In that event, faculty and students should arrive at the arena by 9:30 a.m. Graduating students will be seated on the main floor of the arena. Only guests with tickets will be allowed entry into the arena. A limited procession (faculty and the president's party only) will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Faculty should assemble no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Courtside Club, located on the lower level of the arena.

Faculty and students of Darden and the schools of Engineering, Law and Medicine and their guests will go to the severe-weather sites[link to:] designated on the Diploma Ceremony Locations chart for both degree conferral and diploma distribution. Faculty and students should plan to arrive at rain sites 30 minutes prior to the start of their respective ceremony.

Alcohol is not permitted at any of these locations.

Live Web

A live webcast of the commencement is available on the University of Virginia's website.

Guests can watch Final Exercises from eight remote viewing sites, including this year for the first time, the auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library and the Student Activities Building. The other remote sites are Alumni Hall, Newcomb Hall Theater, Ruffner Hall Auditorium, Chemistry Building Auditorium and Gilmer Hall Auditoriums (rooms 130 and 190).


• Weekend Parking: Free parking will be available at the Emmet/Ivy parking garage (near the Cavalier Inn) beginning May 15 and continuing throughout the weekend. Shuttle bus service will not be available from the garage.

• Saturday: To accommodate graduates and guests attending Valedictory Exercises, bus service will run from University Hall and Scott Stadium to Central Grounds from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Sunday: Public parking on Central Grounds will be suspended. Graduates and guests attending Sunday's ceremonies are urged to park at the Emmet/Ivy garage and walk to Central Grounds, or to park at Scott Stadium or University Hall and take a free shuttle bus to the Lawn area. Bus service will begin at 7 a.m. and run continuously throughout the day. Prior to the Lawn ceremony, buses will stop on McCormick Road near the University Chapel. After Final Exercises, buses will run from the Chapel to University Hall and Scott Stadium.

The Central Grounds parking garage, on Emmet Street below the U.Va. Bookstore, will offer limited spaces on Sunday for a $5 fee, payable upon entering the garage. No bus service will be available from the Central Grounds garage.

For guests attending diploma ceremonies near the Chemistry Building, Gilmer Hall, Kent House Lawn, Ruffner Hall, Thornton Hall and other buildings in that vicinity, bus service will be available from McCormick Road near the McCormick Road residence area to University Hall and Scott Stadium beginning at noon.

For people attending diploma ceremonies on North Grounds – the Darden School of Business, Law School and North Grounds Recreation Center – buses will run to University Hall and Scott Stadium until the diploma ceremonies conclude at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Graduates, By the Numbers

• Residency: Of the 3,668 undergraduate degrees awarded Sunday, 2,600 will be given to Virginians, or about 71 percent. Foreign citizens will receive 714 of the 6,248 total degrees. Other states with the highest number of degrees awarded: New York (222), Maryland (198), Pennsylvania (143), New Jersey (132), North Carolina and California (105 each). Foreign countries with the highest number of degrees awarded: China (174), India (82), South Korea (81), Canada (24) and Turkey (21).

• Gender: Women will receive 53.6 percent of the total degrees awarded, including 56.5 percent of bachelor's degrees, 50.3 percent of master's degrees, 49.3 percent of doctorates, 44.6 percent of law degrees, 47.8 percent of medical degrees and 75 percent of educational specialist degrees. Three students did not list a gender.

• Degrees by School
School of Architecture (177): 101 bachelor's, 75 master's, one doctoral
College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (2,957): 2,531 bachelor's, 251 master's, 175 doctoral
Basic Medical Sciences (90): 44 master's, 46 doctoral
McIntire School of Commerce (603): 340 bachelor's, 263 master's
School of Continuing and Professional Studies (40): 40 bachelor's
Darden School of Business (368): 366 master's, two doctoral
Curry School of Education (520): 33 bachelor's, 365 master's, 32 educational specialists, 90 doctoral
School of Engineering and Applied Science (736): 513 bachelor's, 134 master's, 89 doctoral
School of Law (400): 21 master's, two doctoral, 377 juris doctorae
Frank W. Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy (26): 26 master's
School of Medicine (136): 136 MDs
School of Nursing (195): 110 bachelor's, 70 master's, 15 doctoral

• Oldest and Youngest Graduates: Jorge A. Vargas, 73, of San Diego, will receive an SJD degree from the School of Law. Ahmed Tarek Osman Mahmoud Osman, 19, of Virginia Beach, will receive a bachelor of science degree in biology from the College of Arts & Sciences.

• On the Fast Track: Eighty students completed bachelor's degrees requirements in three years or less, and two finished in two years or less.

• Top 10 Undergraduate Majors, by Degrees Awarded: Economics (358), psychology (311), foreign affairs (291), history (263), biology (258), finance (229), English (186), sociology (119), marketing (106), government (103). Note that the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics awards both the foreign affairs and government degrees, and thus is the largest undergraduate department.

• Degrees by Ethnicity: Of the 6,248 total degrees conferred, 29 percent will go to self-identified minorities. That includes 31.2 percent of bachelor's degrees, 27.5 percent of master's degrees, 12.5 percent of education specialist degrees, 27.9 percent of doctorates,
16.2 percent of law degrees and 31.6 percent of medical degrees. Another 496 stuudents declined to identify their racial origin.

Facts and Figures

• Academic procession: Takes about an hour. Final Exercises last about two hours.

• Attendance: Between 30,000 and 35,000 people are expected to descend upon the Grounds.

• Buses: 50 buses will ferry students and guests around Grounds.

• Diplomas: U.Va. diplomas are 17 inches wide and 22 inches high.

• Diploma ceremonies: 55 ceremonies for 11 schools and disciplines will be held.

• Food: U.Va. Catering plans to serve 500 pounds of hot dogs, 17,000 petite gourmet cookies, 4,000 bakeshop cookies, 500 jumbo cookies, 2,500 brownies, 400 gallons of lemonade, 200 gallons of iced tea, 4,000 bottles of water and 400 pounds each of pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and strawberries. There will be about 75 food service employees working.

• And more food: 17,000 cookies, 221 gallons of lemonade and 140 gallons of water will be served Saturday at 12:30 at the President's Reception and at some of the diploma ceremonies.

• Chairs: For about 6,000 graduates, their families and guests, more than 40,000 chairs at 50 sites, including 20,500 on the Lawn, are set up for Finals Weekend. About 21,000 chairs are used for the individual diploma ceremonies that follow the main ceremony, held on the Lawn.

• 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. Facilities will deploy 16 sound reinforcement systems, connecting 42 loudspeakers and 22 microphones by rolling out almost one mile of cabling. A quarter-mile of electric wire is used to power monitors and speakers. A half-mile of speaker cable is used to connect speakers.

• Tents: Around 18 tents are set up for information booths, food tents and other functions.

• TV monitors: Two Jumbotron television monitors, each 10 feet by 13.3 feet, are set up on the Lawn.

• Viewing sites: Besides the Lawn, guests can watch Final Exercises from nine remote viewing sites, including, for the first time, the Student Activities Building and the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library. Despite extensive remodeling in Newcomb Hall, the third floor will be dedicated to guests who need special accommodation.

• Viewing online: Final Exercises will be streamed live at

• Landscaping: About 2,000 pounds of grass seed are sowed on the Lawn starting in early spring in preparation for the University's Finals Weekend.

• Workers: Around 140 Facilities Management employees are deployed on the day of graduation. Around 200 Facilities Management employees are involved in the preparation for Finals Weekend, which includes everything from set-up to take-down. Graduation will also be staffed by about 35 workers from the Office of Development and Public Affairs. There will be nearly 100 University police and security officers, as well as participation from the Charlottesville police, the Albemarle County police and the city and county sheriff’s offices. There will also be about 230 ushers for the Lawn ceremony and 90 for the diploma ceremonies.

Media Contact

Dan Heuchert

Assistant Director of University News and Chief Copy Editor, UVA Today Office of University Communications