Dear Parents of Graduating Students:
We look forward to welcoming you, other family members, and guests to the Grounds this week as we join in celebrating Finals Weekend with your daughters and sons. Congratulations to you and your student on this special milestone!
Your graduating student received an email message last week with a number of details. The Finals Weekend website also provides a wealth of information. I wanted to highlight a few quick reminders you may find helpful.
Plan Ahead. Please allow plenty of time on the morning of your student's graduation ceremony. Ideally, all guests should be seated by 9:15 a.m. Depending on traffic and where you are traveling from, you will need to allow adequate time to reach designated parking areas, catch shuttle transportation to the Lawn, and enter one of two security checkpoints.
Remind Your Graduate: All graduates should arrive at their entry checkpoint no later than 8:45 a.m. to allow for adequate time to go through the security screening.
Security. The entry checkpoints for graduation on Saturday and Sunday will be located on the west side of the Lawn, in front of Garrett Hall; and on the east side, between Rouss Hall and Pavilion X. Security will include 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 Finals Weekend website.
Guests with Special Accommodation Needs: Services are available for guests with disabilities or limited mobility; please see the website for details and how to make arrangements. Any graduates or guests who require accommodations related to their religious beliefs should contact the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights at 434-924-3200.
Valedictory Exercises. This ceremony takes place on Friday at 3 p.m. on the Lawn, and tickets are not required. Entertainer and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams will be the speaker.
John Paul Jones Arena will serve as the inclement-weather site for Valedictory Exercises as well as the severe-weather site for Final Exercises on Saturday and Sunday. The safety and security page for Finals Weekend also covers procedures for the arena.
Indoor Viewing Sites. If members of your party do not have tickets for the graduation ceremonies, they may view a livestream at various locations on Grounds. Guests also can watch a live webcast from anywhere.
Other Tips. Determine a location to meet your graduate after the conclusion of the Final Exercises ceremony, as well as the location of their school/department graduation ceremony. These ceremonies occur at various times and locations after Final Exercises on the Lawn.
If it's a sunny day, be sure to bring sunscreen. And you may want to leave your nice shoes at home for the Lawn ceremony, especially if it rains prior to or during the weekend.
Student Decorum. In a few days, we will be communicating with graduates about general decorum, especially during Final Exercises. Every year, a small number of graduates drink alcohol in excess prior to the ceremony and are unable physically to participate in the Academic Procession down the Lawn. We view this as a disappointing and disrespectful conclusion to their time at UVA and hope you will join us in affirming with your student the privilege and honor that this day represents.
Impact of Balloons. While balloons and glitter add to the festive atmosphere, they also pose problems. If released or popped and left on the ground, these items are harmful to the environment and require additional clean-up by the University's facilities crews. If graduates do bring balloons, we ask that they keep others in mind during Final Exercises since the size and quantity of balloons often block personal views and impede the procession. Following the ceremony each day, for the first time this year, graduates will be able to donate their used balloons to UVA Children's Hospital. Watch for more details during the weekend.
Text Updates: I encourage you to sign up for text messages that will be sent to you in the event of any updates or changes throughout the weekend. To register for this free service, text "uvagrad" to 79516. Once you sign up, you will receive a confirmation message. After Finals Weekend, you will be automatically unsubscribed from the service.
Hoos ReUse: An Easy Way for Students to Recycle and Benefit Others: May 20 and 21
As students move out of their apartments, they can donate their unwanted (but usable) furniture, appliances, nonperishable food, and clothing to local charities through the Hoos ReUse program. For times, locations, and other details, please check the UVA Sustainability website.
Student Health: Last Day of Service for Graduating Students
Friday, May 24, 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.
Closing of Residence Halls
Graduating students living in on-Grounds housing must move out of their residence halls no later than Monday, May 20, at noon. For additional information regarding this year's Move-Out procedures, please see the Housing & Residence Life website.
If you have specific questions or concerns about your student, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or a member of the Student Affairs staff. If you have questions about Finals Weekend, you may reply to this message, and a member of the Office of Major Events staff will respond.
We are grateful to you for your support as parents over the years. Behind every graduate are many caring individuals – teachers, mentors, coaches, and most of all, you their parents – who have helped them reach this point in their lives. Congratulations to each of you, and best wishes for a wonderful weekend.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer