This time next 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. Late spring 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 2, followed by a Reading Day and the start of exams on May 4. Exams end on Friday, May 12.
Student Safety at the Foxfield Races
Scheduled this year for April 29, 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 her or him 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 will be receiving University messages next week 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.
- 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.
Next week, students will receive a safety-related message from University Dean of Students Allen Groves, and they will have a chance to participate in the "Savvy Fox Honor Pledge" campaign sponsored by UVA's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) peer educators. During the races, UVA students can visit ADAPT's safety 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 Major Events website.
A very important tip as you plan for this special weekend: Allow extra time to get to the Lawn for the Final Exercises ceremony on Saturday or Sunday. All guests will need to pass through one of two ticket and security checkpoints. They will be located at Garrett Hall (west side) and at the steps next to Rouss/Robertson Hall (east side).
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. The ceremony on the Lawn also will be available to watch online.
If your daughter or son is graduating from the College of Arts & Sciences, the Final Exercises ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 20, 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. The speaker will be Deborah E. McDowell, a member of the English faculty since 1987 who serves as Alice Griffin Professor of Literary Studies and Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.
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 21, 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. The speaker will be Robert C. Pianta, Dean of the Curry School of Education. He is also the Novartis U.S. Foundation Professor of Education, professor of psychology, and the founding director of UVA's Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.
Valedictory Exercises, featuring Juan Manuel Santos, will take place on Friday, May 19, at 3 p.m. on the Lawn. Mr. Santos, a Nobel Peace-Prize recipient who was elected president of the Republic of Colombia in 2010, is the father of graduating student Esteban Santos. (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 May 1 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.
On-Grounds Housing: Still Available for Finals Weekend
Housing accommodations, with no minimum night requirement, are offered on Grounds in UVA residence halls as an affordable alternative for families during Finals Weekend. The rate is $62 per person, per bed, per night. A complimentary continental breakfast is included in this rate and will be provided in the lobby of your assigned residence hall. Rooms will be available as early as Thursday, May 18, after 2 p.m. All guests must check out by 11 a.m. on Monday, May 22. All reservations must be made online with a valid credit card. Space is limited. For more information about the residence hall rooms available and to make a reservation, go to the Housing & Residence Life website.
Bicentennial: UVA is Turning 200!
The University will launch its Bicentennial celebration this fall. Events planned for October 5-7 will mark the 200th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone at Pavilion VII, and the commemoration will continue through the anniversary of the University's charter on January 25, 2018. Parents are invited to join in the celebration, including those events hosted around the world by UVAClubs.
Students graduating between now and 2020 will receive a special keepsake: a commemorative bicentennial zipper pull to wear as part of their academic regalia.
University Career Center: Still There for Your Student After Graduation
UVA Career Center services are available to May graduates until December 31, 2017. This includes access to the job site, Handshake. The Career Center can help students clarify their career goals, develop an action plan, and enhance their job search strategies.
If your student is a member of the UVA Alumni Association or decides to join, free career advising is available based on membership level. Alumni Career Services offers a number of free career resources:
- Career Webinars and Events
- Alumni Job Postings
- Alumni Job Search Tool Kit
- Alumni Career Options
- Alumni Grad School Resources
An important resource available through the Career Center is the UVA Student Outcome Activity Report (SOAR). Here, students can explore average salaries by major, industry, and employer; hiring timelines by industry; job source; and graduate school acceptance and fields of study. Graduating students have been asked to complete their profiles in SOAR to make this a more valuable resource for future students and graduates.
Hoos ReUse: An Easy Way for Students to Recycle and Benefit Others
On-Grounds Collection: May 3 through 13
Off-Grounds Collection: May 22 and 23
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 2016-2017 academic year. More information, including a link to purchase online, is available on the Corks & Curls 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 22. Lawn and Range residents must move out by noon on Tuesday, May 23. For additional information regarding closing, please consult the Housing & Residence Life website.
Student Health: Last Day of Service for Graduating Students
Friday, May 26, 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.
As your student's time at UVA winds down, please let us know if we can be of assistance to you. My 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 2: Spring classes end
May 4-12: Exams
May 3, 7, 10: Reading Days
May 19-21: Finals Weekend
May 20: Graduation Ceremony for College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
May 21: Graduation Ceremony for all other Schools
May 22: Upperclass residence halls close at noon (with exception of Lawn and Range)
May 22-23: Hoos ReUse (off Grounds)
October 5-7: Bicentennial Celebration
October 20-22: Homecomings