UVA Prepares for Traditional Three-Day Finals Weekend Celebration

May 11, 2023 By Matt Kelly, mkelly@virginia.edu Matt Kelly, mkelly@virginia.edu

The University of Virginia will celebrate its 194th Finals Weekend May 19 through May 21, awarding 7,872 degrees.

Festivities begin on Friday, May 19. At noon in Old Cabell Hall auditorium, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. David G. Bassett, director of the Defense Contract Management Agency, will speak at the Joint Commissioning Exercises for Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force ROTC candidates. Bassett, a double Hoo, attended UVA as an Army ROTC cadet and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and later a master’s degree in computer science.

Then, at 3 p.m., philanthropist and UVA alumna Jacqueline Novogratz will deliver remarks during Valedictory Exercises at John Paul Jones Arena. The ceremony will feature the presentation of the class gift as well as University and Class of 2023 awards. Tickets are not required and this ceremony is open to the public.

At 6 p.m., the Office of African-American Affairs will sponsor the Donning of the Kente Ceremony at Old Cabell Hall Auditorium. Tickets are required.

At Final Exercises on Saturday, May 20, students in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will receive nearly 3,200 degrees. They will begin their procession down the Lawn at 9 a.m. UVA athletic director Carla Williams will address the graduates.  

Also, at 10 a.m., the School of Education and Human Development’s Doctoral Hooding Ceremony will take place at the Abbott Center Auditorium at the Darden School of Business.

The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy Academic Regalia Ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. at James Monroe’s Highland. The severe weather site is Old Cabell Hall Auditorium at 6 p.m.

Final Exercises for all other schools (excluding Arts & Sciences) will take place on Sunday, May 21, with the procession starting at 9 a.m. The University will award approximately 4,700 degrees on Sunday. Architectural historian and Vice Provost for Academic Outreach Louis P. Nelson will address these graduates.  

The schools featured at the ceremony will be:

  • Darden School of Graduate Business Administration.
  • Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.
  • McIntire School of Commerce.
  • School of Architecture.
  • School of Continuing & Professional Studies.
  • School of Data Science.
  • School of Education and Human Development.
  • School of Engineering & Applied Science.
  • School of Law.
  • School of Medicine.
  • School of Nursing.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s ceremonies will take place on the Lawn, with John Paul Jones Arena serving as the severe weather site. Following the main graduation ceremony, individual schools and departments will have graduation ceremonies across Grounds.

For Valedictory Exercises and both Final Exercises ceremonies, the University has implemented a clear bag policy and will utilize metal detectors at entrance points. These safety and security measures are similar to those implemented for athletic and other large University events at Scott Stadium and John Paul Jones Arena.

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Guests will be allowed to bring unopened bottles of water as well as empty containers to use at the several water refilling stations stationed around the Lawn. Bottled water will also be available for purchase at concession stands located on Central Grounds. Complimentary bottled water will be available in the graduating students’ assembly areas and in their seating section.

Complimentary bag check locations will be available in Monroe Hall, near the Garrett Hall entrance, and in a tent near Randall Hall on the East Lawn. Space is limited. Bag check locations will close at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All bags must be picked up by 2 p.m. Any bags not picked up will be taken to the University Police Department on Ivy Road.

Also not allowed: alcohol; animals, except service animals; noisemakers, balls, flying discs and similar items; flasks; folding chairs or stools; laser pointers; sticks, poles and sports equipment; tents; drones; weapons, fireworks and explosives. Umbrellas will be allowed, but guests are asked to be mindful of those sitting around them and not block the view of the stage.

Tickets will be required for all guests attending Final Exercises. Each graduate will receive six tickets for the Lawn ceremony. If severe weather forces the University to move the ceremony to John Paul Jones Arena, graduates will be limited to three guest tickets (these tickets have barcodes that will be scanned upon entry to the arena).

Graduates will receive tickets only for the day in which their school is participating. Graduates with a valid photo identification can pick up guest tickets from the UVA Bookstore between May 17 and May 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; May 20, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and May 21, from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Only the graduating student is permitted to pick up the tickets. Candidates for M.D., M.B.A., and J.D. degrees will receive their guest tickets at cap-and-gown pick-up in their respective schools.

Ushers will begin collecting tickets and seating guests each morning at 7 a.m., on a first-come, first-served basis. At 8:30 a.m., the center aisle of the Lawn will close in preparation for the procession. Guests needing to leave the Lawn must obtain a pass from an usher for re-entry.

The Valedictory and Final Exercises ceremonies will be livestreamed. Live broadcasts of Saturday’s and Sunday’s ceremonies will be shown indoors at the Alumni Hall Ballroom, 211 Emmet St. South; Culbreth Theater, 109 Culbreth Rd.; and Newcomb Hall’s ballroom and theater, 180 McCormick Rd. near the Central Grounds Parking Garage. Tickets are not required. Doors open at 7 a.m. All sites are wheelchair accessible and services to assist guests with disabilities will be provided.

For detailed information on parking and shuttle-bus service and maps, visit the Parking & Transportation website. For information on Finals Weekend, visit the Finals Weekend website.

Media Contact

Bethanie Glover

Deputy University Spokesperson