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Finals Weekend Details

May 7, 2019
Graduating Students
Michelle Hong, Graduation Committee Chair

Finals Weekend 2019

Dear UVA Class of 2019,

Congratulations on completing your undergraduate classes! While this is a bittersweet time, I hope that you are looking forward to what's to come. Finals Weekend will be a chance to celebrate your time at UVA. Below you can find details about Finals Weekend. Please forward this email to your families so that they can see the related information as well.

For additional information, please visit the Finals Weekend website, or you can email the Office of Major Events at

Wishing you all the best,

Michelle Hong
Graduation Committee, Chair
Class of 2019 Trustees | University of Virginia

Ticket Distribution

Tickets for Final Exercises and the Class of 2019 Class Party will be available at the UVA Bookstore Wednesday, May 15, through Friday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Final Exercises tickets will also be available for pickup on Saturday, May, 18 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (prior to the Lawn procession). Tickets MUST be picked up in-person by the graduate with a valid photo ID. Please note: Tickets are not required to attend Valedictory Exercises on Friday, May 17.

Each graduate will receive three tickets to the Class Party (the student + two guests) and six tickets to Final Exercises (the graduating student does not need a ticket, but must be wearing a cap and gown to gain access to assembly areas). If Final Exercises is moved to John Paul Jones Arena, graduates are limited to three guest tickets (the tickets that have a barcode).

Caps and Gowns

If you have not yet picked up your cap and gown, it may be picked up at the UVA Bookstore on Wednesday, May 15, through Friday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 18, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (prior to the Lawn procession). Caps and gowns are free of charge and do not need to be returned after the ceremony; they may be retained as keepsakes.

Valedictory Exercises with Keynote Speaker Pharrell Williams

Pharrell WilliamsFriday, May 17 ▪ 3:00 p.m. ▪ South end of the Lawn (Rain site: John Paul Jones Arena)

Before the Class of 2019 walks down the Lawn at Final Exercises, we will pay tribute to our fellow classmates and time spent at the University at the Valedictory Exercises ceremony. The ceremony will include a keynote address by Pharrell Williams, a recording artist, producer, songwriter, philanthropist, author, fashion designer and entrepreneur. In addition to the keynote address, members of the Class Trustees will present the Class Gift and University and Class Awards. 

All members of the Class of 2019 and their guests are invited and encouraged to attend Valedictory Exercises. Tickets are not required to attend the ceremony. 

A diagram depicting the locations of the guest entrances as well as information booths, concession stands, and restrooms is available on the website here.

Most guests will be arriving in Charlottesville on Friday afternoon, so heavy traffic near the University prior to the ceremony is to be expected. Please plan accordingly and allot extra time when making your plans.

Fourth-Year Class Graduation Party

Friday, May 17 ▪ 9:00 p.m. to Midnight ▪ Alumni Hall

The Class Party is a celebration for all fourth-year students and their guests. Inside the ballroom, there will be a DJ and a class slideshow as well as light hors d'oeuvres, soft drinks, and a cash bar (including beer, wine, and mixed drinks). Both cash and credit cards will be accepted, but cash is preferred to allow for quicker transactions. In addition to the activities in the ballroom, guests can enjoy the outside patio and take pictures with friends and family at the photo booth. Limited complimentary parking will be available at Alumni Hall. Parking will also be available at the Emmet/Ivy Parking Garage for a flat rate of $5 per vehicle and in the Central Grounds Parking Garage for a $10 flat rate per vehicle.

As noted above, each graduate receives three tickets to the Class Party. Tickets MUST be picked up from the UVA Bookstore in-person with a valid photo ID.

Final Exercises

The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will graduate on Saturday, May 18, and all other schools on Sunday, May 19. Both ceremonies will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Arrive no later than 8:45 a.m.

SB. Cameron Wellsaturday, May 18

  • Keynote Speaker: B. Cameron Webb, M.D., J.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Public Health Science.
  • Students should refer to the Assembly diagram for their assembly location and entry point. Students must enter through their designated entry point. 
  • All students should be in their assembly area by no later than 8:45 a.m. to allow for adequate time to go through the security screening

Sunday, May 19

  • Dorrie K. FontaineKeynote Speaker: Dorrie K. Fontaine, Dean of the School of Nursing
  • Students should refer to the Assembly and Procession diagram for their school's assembly location and entry point. Students must enter through the designated entry point for their school. 
  • All students should report to their assembly area by no later than 8:45 a.m. to allow for adequate time to go through the security screening.

Again, please note: To provide a safe environment, everyone, including graduating students, will be required to go through a metal detector upon arrival to the Lawn. Everyone wearing an outer garment, such as an academic robe or coat, will be asked to open it for a visual inspection. The University’s clear bag policy will be in effect, and bags will be subject to search. Alcoholic beverages will not be allowed in the assembly areas or on the Lawn. Please see the Public Safety & Security section of the Finals Weekend Website for more information, including a list of other prohibited items.

It is imperative that graduating students walk only on their assigned day. The seating section for graduating students will not have enough chairs to accommodate additional students. By walking the Lawn on the wrong day, students could potentially take seats away from other graduates who are supposed to participate in that particular ceremony. Please be respectful of you classmates and only walk on your assigned day. 

Guest Tickets: As noted above, each graduating student will receive six guest tickets to Final Exercises. You will not receive guest tickets for both Final Exercises ceremonies; you will only receive tickets for the day on which your school/department is assigned to participate. Only guests with tickets are allowed on the Lawn.

Ticket and security checkpoints will be at Garrett Hall (west side) and at the steps between Rouss/Robertson Hall and Pavilion X (east side). Ushers will begin collecting tickets and seating guests at 7:30 a.m. All seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The area in front of Cocke Hall will be designated for guests using wheelchairs (or with mobility challenges) and one companion. Limited seating is available in this section, and the area is not shaded. 

To view the locations of guest seating, restrooms, water fountains, EMS, food stands, info booths, wheelchair access, interpreter seating, etc., please refer to the Lawn Overview and Guest Entrances Diagram.

We strongly encourage guests bein in their seats no later than 9:15 a.m. Once the center aisle of the Lawn closes at 9:30 a.m., foot traffic from one side of the Lawn to the other will be prohibited. Guests who need to leave the Lawn temporarily before/during Final Exercises must obtain a pass from an usher for re-entry onto the Lawn. 

Guests without tickets are encouraged to watch a live-stream of the ceremony from one of the seven climate-controlled remote viewing locations. Tickets are not required at these venues.

If the ceremony is moved to John Paul Jones Arena under the severe-weather plan, graduates will be limited to three guest tickets (the tickets that have a barcode). Graduating students will not need a ticket to enter JPJ as long as you are wearing your cap and gown.

School and Department Graduation Ceremonies

School and department graduation ceremonies vary by school and major and will be held on the same day as each school's Final Exercises ceremony (i.e., Arts & Sciences department ceremonies will be held on Saturday, and Engineering, Commerce, etc., will be held Sunday). School and department graduation ceremonies will be held at individual locations after the Lawn ceremony; these locations and times are listed on the School and Department Graduation Ceremony Locations webpage. Please be sure to note the inclement and severe weather locations.

Some school/department graduation ceremonies may require tickets; please contact the staff member listed as responsible for the ceremony on the School and Department Ceremony Locations webpage.

Parking and Shuttle Buses

During Finals Weekend, public parking will not be available throughout Central Grounds. Graduating students and guests are encouraged to park in the locations specified on the parking section of the Finals Weekend website and use the University's free shuttle bus service to travel to the various ceremonies and events.

Please Note: McCormick Road will be closed to vehicular traffic from University Avenue to the bridge crossing Emmet Street at the following times:

  • Friday, May 17: 1 - 6 p.m. 
  • Saturday, May 18 & Sunday, May 19: 7 a.m. - 4 p.m

Safety & Security

To provide a safe environment for attendees at Valedictory and Final Exercises, the University’s clear bag policy will be in effect, and bags will be subject to search. Everyone attending these ceremonies will be required to go through a metal detector at the guest entrances, which are located by Garrett Hall and Rouss/Robertson Hall. These security enhancements mirror those used for events at Scott Stadium and the John Paul Jones Arena. All graduating students and guests will go through a security checkpoint before entering into the assembly area for Final Exercises.

For the safety of graduates and guests, certain items are prohibited at the May 17 Valedictory Exercises and the May 18 and 19 Final Exercises ceremonies on the Lawn or John Paul Jones Arena. These items include: 

  • Alcoholic beverages 
  • Animals (except service animals) 
  • Artificial noisemakers 
  • Balls, Frisbees, and similar items 
  • Flasks 
  • Folding chairs or stools 
  • Laser pointers
  • Sticks and poles (including sports equipment) 
  • Tents 
  • Unmanned aircraft systems (including drones) 
  • Weapons, fireworks, and explosives 

Strollers: Umbrella strollers are encouraged due to the lack of space on the Lawn to accommodate large strollers. Once in the seating area on the Lawn, strollers should be folded and placed under the seat. Strollers are not allowed at the John Paul Jones Arena.

Balloons: Graduates are encouraged not to bring large balloons or balloon bouquets to Final Exercises as a courtesy to all guests attending the ceremony. Although balloons are festive and celebratory, they can delay access into the assembly areas, impede the procession, and obstruct the view for many (example). If bringing a balloon to Final Exercises, please be mindful of others attending the ceremony as well as the environment. Please do not release balloons into the air. Instead, properly dispose of them in a trashcan. Balloons are also prohibited in the John Paul Jones Arena,  all Intramural-Recreational Sports facilities, Newcomb Hall, and Old Cabell Hall.

The University of Virginia reserves the right to prohibit any item deemed hazardous or disruptive to the ceremony or that interferes in the enjoyment of the event by others. For more information about prohibited items and the security checkpoints, please visit the Public Safety & Security section of the Finals Weekend website.

Additional Information

Finals Information Text Updates

To receive text messages notifying you of important information related to Finals Weekend, text "uvagrad" to 79516. Once you sign up, you will receive a confirmation message. This service is free, and after Finals Weekend you will be automatically unsubscribed.

Please note: this service is different from UVA Alerts, the text messaging system that notifies registered users of imminent threats or hazards facing the University population.

Graduation Merchandise

The UVA Bookstore, in partnership with the fourth-year class, sells diploma frames that conform to UVA's diplomas, as well as class rings, Jefferson cups, and UVA captain's chairs. These items can be ordered in person at the Bookstore, through their toll-free number (1-800-759-HOOS), or online.

Finals Weekend Hashtag

#UVAgrad is the official hashtag for Finals Weekend 2019. Please include it on all of your social media posts throughout the weekend.