Dear Parents of Graduating Students:
Spring is slowly arriving on Grounds while the semester is quickly coming to an end. In less than a month, your student will be preparing to walk the Lawn for graduation. I am writing with reminders about that special weekend as well as other, more immediate topics. This is always a busy, exciting, and often stressful time for students, especially those who are graduating and planning for their next step. Courses end Tuesday, May 1, followed by a Reading Day and the start of exams on May 3. Exams end on Friday, May 11.
Student Safety at the Foxfield Races
Scheduled this year for April 28, the Foxfield Races attract large numbers of students from UVA and other schools on the East Coast. The steeplechase races, held several miles from the Grounds, are not sponsored by UVA. While this can be a fun spring event, the excessive use of alcohol and related arrests are deeply concerning. If your student is going, please talk with them about safety and responsible behavior.
Students who are going to Foxfield are urged to plan ahead with regard to transportation, food, and safety. Uniformed law enforcement officers will be present on the roads leading to Foxfield and within the event grounds. In conjunction with a private public safety team, they will focus on providing a safe environment for all spectators, assisting individuals in need of help, and deterring and responding to illegal activity. Students have been receiving University messages encouraging them to:
- Know how to get to and from Foxfield safely. If a group is driving, one member should serve as the sober driver. Taxis, Uber, and Lyft also will be available.
- Use the buddy system while at the races. In a large crowd, it is easy to lose track of friends, and most students report problems with their cellphone service due to the location and number of attendees.
- Bring enough food and water for the day. Sunscreen is important as well.
Alcohol use: Students who are under 21 and drink alcohol are engaging in unlawful behavior. Students who are of legal age and choose to drink should follow Foxfield's alcohol policies. All students are urged to know the symptoms of an alcohol emergency and how to access medical services. This infographic provides more details.
Students received a safety-related message from University Dean of Students Allen Groves, and they will have a chance to participate in the "Savvy Fox Safety Pledge" campaign sponsored by UVA's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) peer educators. During the races, UVA students can visit ADAPT's student tent for information as well as free food, water, and sunscreen.
Complete details on events, tickets, parking, weather plans, and more are available on the Finals Weekend website.
A very important tip as you plan for this special weekend: Allow extra time to get to the Lawn for the Valedictory Exercises ceremony on Friday and the Final Exercises ceremony on Saturday or Sunday. All guests will need to pass through one of two entry checkpoints. They will be located at Garrett Hall (west side) and at the steps next to Rouss/Robertson Hall (east side). The University will follow the same security protocols as used for other large-scale events held on Grounds, including a clear bag policy and the use of metal detectors. More information about security and items not allowed on the Lawn is available on the Public Safety and Security Policies for Finals Weekend page.
For the ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, only guests with tickets will be allowed on the Lawn. Guests without tickets may watch a live broadcast at remote viewing sites located across Grounds.
If your daughter or son is graduating from the College of Arts & Sciences, the Final Exercises ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. on the Lawn, followed by department graduation ceremonies scheduled throughout the afternoon. Graduate students in Arts & Sciences also will graduate that day.
If your daughter or son is graduating from any of the other schools (Architecture, Batten, Continuing and Professional Studies, Curry, Engineering and Applied Science, McIntire, or Nursing), then the Final Exercises ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 20, at 10 a.m. on the Lawn followed by school graduation ceremonies scheduled that afternoon. Darden, Law, Medicine, and the Data Science Institute also will hold their graduation ceremonies on Sunday.
President Teresa A. Sullivan will be the commencement speaker on both Saturday and Sunday. Ms. Sullivan, who took office in 2010 as the first female president and as the University's eighth president overall, plans to step down this summer and will be succeeded by James E. Ryan.
Valedictory Exercises, featuring alumnus Chris Long, NFL Super Bowl champion and philanthropist, will take place on Friday, May 18, at 3 p.m. on the Lawn. (In case of rain, the program will move to John Paul Jones Arena.) Other activities will take place on Friday beginning at noon. See the schedule for complete details. A weekend brochure also is available to print and bring with you.
Each student will be receiving six guest tickets for the Final Exercises ceremony this year. In addition, students may enter a lottery for a chance to win an additional ticket. The deadline to enter the lottery is Monday, April 30, at 5 p.m.
To keep you informed of any major changes or occurrences throughout the weekend, you are invited to sign up for graduation-related text messages. Text the word "uvagrad" to 79516. Once you sign up, you will receive a confirmation message. After Finals Weekend, you will be automatically unsubscribed from the service. (This service is not the same as UVaAlerts.)
And finally, please join in the Finals Weekend conversation on social media using the hashtag #UVAgrad.
UVA Career Center: Available for Your Student after Graduation
UVA Career Center services are available to May graduates until December 31, 2018. The Career Center can help students clarify their career goals, update their resume, find opportunities, interview, and network. Appointments are available through the summer in Charlottesville or virtually through phone or Skype. Students are invited to explore:
- Career Webinars and Events
- Alumni Job Postings
- Alumni Job Search Tool Kit
- Alumni Career Options
- Alumni Grad School Resources
Affiliate Career Services
Graduates from various schools and programs can use the UVA Career Center and Alumni Career Services in conjunction with the services provided by their schools or programs:
- Education Career Services
- Commerce Career Services
- Center for Engineering Career Development
- Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
- School of Architecture
- Economics Career Office
Class of 2018 Graduate Destinations Survey
Students should complete the survey as soon as possible. The University uses the survey to gather information that will help students and administrators better understand the post-graduation plans of UVA graduates.
Hoos ReUse: An Easy Way for Students to Recycle and Benefit Others
On-Grounds Collection: May 2 through 12
Off-Grounds Collection: May 21 and 22
As students finish up the year and move out of their residence halls or apartments, they can donate their unwanted (but usable) furniture, appliances, nonperishable food, and clothing to local charities through the Hoos ReUse program. Two drives take place each year, one for students living on Grounds and the other for students living off Grounds. For complete details, including times and locations, please check the Hoos ReUse website.
Corks & Curls Available for Purchase
Corks & Curls, the University's longstanding yearbook, is available for purchase as a way to commemorate the 2017-2018 academic year. More information, including a link to purchase online, is available on the website.
Closing of Residence Halls
Students living in upperclass areas, except for the Lawn and Range, must move out of their residence halls by noon on Monday, May 21. Lawn and Range residents must move out by noon on Tuesday, May 22. For additional information regarding closing, please consult the Housing & Residence Life website.
Student Health – Last Day of Service for Graduating Students
Friday, May 25, is the last day for graduating students to be seen at Student Health. Students who need to make an appointment can do so by calling 434-924-5362.
Congratulations and best wishes to each of you as you prepare to celebrate your student's upcoming graduation.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
May 1: Spring classes end
May 3-11: Exams
May 2, 6, 9: Reading Days
May 18-20: Finals Weekend
May 19: Graduation Ceremony for College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
May 20: Graduation Ceremony for All Other Schools
May 21: Upperclass residence halls close at noon (with exception of Lawn and Range)
May 21-22: Hoos ReUse (off Grounds)
October 13: Homecomings Weekend (UVA vs. Miami)