U.Va. Finals Weekend 2015

Aerial view of the lawn as graduates and their families sit in chairs

During the University of Virginia’s 186th Final Exercises weekend, the University’s 11 schools awarded 6,584 degrees, including 3,896 bachelor’s degrees, 1,769 master’s degrees, 526 first professional degrees and 393 doctoral and advanced graduate degrees.

Keynote speakers included Ed Helms during Valedictory Exercises, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Saturday, and Darden School of Business Dean Robert Bruner on Sunday.

Take a look below for a full run-down of events from the weekend, including video of the events and speakers, profiles of graduating students, and social media posts from students and their families.

Final Exercises - Sunday

Dean Bruner Encourages UVA Graduates to Find Their Callings

May 17, 2015

Dean Robert Bruner of the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business encourages graduates to find their callings, wishing them his best as they take their next steps. He speaks on a wet Sunday when the University holds to its tradition to have Final Exercises on the historic Lawn. Umbrellas intermingle with balloons to punctuate the occasion.

Day Two of U.Va. Final Exercises: Bruner Sends Graduates on Path to “Best Work”

May 17, 2015 | Katie McNally

The rain cleared up just in time for students from 10 of the University’s schools and the Data Science Institute to celebrate on the Lawn. Sunday was the second day of the University’s first two-day graduation weekend. Dean Bob Bruner called on students to succeed by finding their own “best work.”

UVA Graduates Dodge Raindrops in Day 2 Procession

May 17, 2015

The University of Virginia's second Final Exercises ceremony for 2015 takes place on the Lawn despite light rain. Sunday's weather doesn't dampen the enthusiasm of graduates ready to celebrate. Watch a little or take it all in to see friends, family members or familiar faces. The graduates make it fun.

Thousands Get Degrees in Day 2 UVA Finals

May 17, 2015

During the second of two Final Exercises at the University of Virginia, thousands of graduates receive degrees. All but those in Arts & Sciences are on hand for the ceremony. They hear from Dean Robert Bruner of the Darden School of Business and then are welcomed into the ranks of University alumni. Rain mostly holds, although diploma ceremonies on this Sunday are held indoors. Take it all in or scrub through to find yourself, family members or friends.

Final Exercises - Saturday

Virginia's Governor Congratulates U.Va. Graduates

May 16, 2015

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe exercises executive privilege in recognizing U.Va. graduates as hailing from the "greatest school in Virginia and in the United States of America." Not surprisingly, this line draws huge applause. He speaks at Final Exercises for the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences on U.Va.'s historic Lawn. He urges graduates to take initiative in their careers and to work hard for success.

Cheers Abound as First of U.Va. Final Exercises’ Two Days Is Held

May 16, 2015 | Anne E. Bromley

Under a nearly cloudless blue sky, the members of the University of Virginia’s Class of 2015 earning degrees from the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and their families cheered when Grand Marshal Gweneth West announced that – despite earlier forecasts of rain – the subsequent departmental diploma ceremonies would all be held in their fair-weather locations.

U.Va.'s College Leads the Way at 2015 Finals

May 16, 2015

The University of Virginia's College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences leads the way in the first-ever two-day Final Exercises. The College is the largest of U.Va.'s 11 schools and it had this day in the sun to itself. See the pomp and circumstance as graduates take their celebrated walks down the U.Va. Lawn. Graduates of the University's remaining 10 schools come next.

A & S Rises Up to Receive U.Va. Degrees

May 16, 2015

Graduates of the University of Virginia's College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences rise up to receive their degrees. This file contains the full 2015 stage ceremony, including the conferring of degrees. Watch it all or sift to see if you can find familiar faces in the crowd. Graduates of U.Va.'s remaining 10 schools celebrate their success next.

Valedictory Exercises

Ed Helms Lights Up U.Va.'s Lawn

May 15, 2015

Actor, comedian and musician Ed Helms brings his humor and inspiration to the University of Virginia's 2015 valediction ceremony, urging students to shine their lights. His thoughtful talk closes in song to the tune of "This Little Light of Mine." Accompanying him are members of the Hullabahoos, a University a cappella group. The group previously joined him on an episode of NBC's "The Office."

Helms Caps Humorous, Pointed Valedictory Address With Rousing Musical Finalé

May 15, 2015 | Dan Heuchert

The actor and comedian keynoted a ceremony that included moving remarks from the class president, the presentation of a $500,000 gift and the bestowing of awards to graduating students and other University community members.

At Valedictory Exercises, Awards Honor Stalwarts in a Trying Year

May 15, 2015 | Dan Heuchert

The University and the graduating class lauded those who helped build community, including Nicole Eramo, an associate dean of students who counsels and supports survivors of sexual assault.

U.Va. Class President Salutes Classmates

May 15, 2015

William Laverack, Class of 2015 president, salutes classmates on the University of Virginia Lawn. He highlights experiences they've shared and how they've been shaped by their time at U.Va. His comments close out valedictory exercises.

Celebration and Song at U.Va.'s 2015 Valediction

May 15, 2015

The University of Virginia's Class of 2015 gathers to recognize outstanding achievement, to reminisce and to celebrate surrounded by family and friends. Actor, comedian and musician Ed Helms also sends them off with inspiring words and a song. He shares the stage with members of the Hullabahoos, a U.Va. a cappella group. Class President William Laverack gets the last words, highlighting experiences he's shared with classmates during days at U.Va.

The Hullabahoos First Run-Through of "This Little Light of Mine" with Ed Helms

May 15, 2015

Valedictory Exercises Rehearsal at the John Paul Jones Arena, University of Virginia

Messages to U.Va.'s Class of 2015

Welcome to the Real World: U.Va.’s Class of 2014 Shares Advice for New Grads

May 15, 2015 | Caroline Newman

It’s a jungle out there. One year out, the Class of 2014 shares the advice that helped them the most, the surprises they discovered and the challenges they faced after graduation.

U.Va. Graduates Excelled in Scholarship and Research

May 14, 2015 | Matt Kelly

This year’s graduates at the University of Virginia have distinguished themselves with a wide array of scholarships, awards and grants, covering everything from public service to scientific inquiry.

U.Va. 2015 Employment Statistics Offer a Bright Spot for Recovering Economy

May 13, 2015 | Caroline Newman

As graduation looms, U.Va.’s Class of 2015 can look forward to high job placement rates and increasing compensation.

12 Memorable Moments in U.Va. Final Exercises History

May 13, 2015 | Diana Williams

From one of the first indications that F.D.R. was ready to enter World War II to a hearty “Wahoowa” from a very well known alumna, here are some memorable moments in U.Va. Final Exercises history.

University of Virginia Ready for This Weekend’s Unique 186th Final Exercises

May 11, 2015 | Caroline Newman

To accommodate restoration work, two Final Exercises ceremonies will be held on the Lawn, on Saturday and Sunday, preceded by Valedictory Exercises on Friday.

U.Va.'s Class of 2015: Graduate Stories

These are stories of academic excellence, research prowess, extraordinary public service and much more. Together, they illustrate the rich experience of an education at the University of Virginia – one made possible by the students themselves.

The stories published so far include:

For more information on graduation weekend, visit the official Final Exercises 2015 website.

For a separate series of photo profiles published by the Class of 2015’s Fourth Year Trustees, follow @2015uva on Instagram.



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