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Important Information about UVA Graduation

May 10, 2017
Patricia M. Lampkin, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Dear Parents of Graduating Students:

Finals Weekend represents one of the most joyful, meaningful moments in the life of the University. We look forward to welcoming you, other family members, and guests to the Grounds next week as we join in celebrating this milestone with your daughters and sons.

Planning in advance for the weekend is important, and I write to provide several details you may find helpful. This is a large-scale event involving thousands of graduates, guests, and University representatives. More than 20,000 individuals gather on the Lawn for each ceremony on Saturday and Sunday.

We advise you to plan ahead for the logistics of getting to the Lawn on the morning of your graduate's 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 go through one of two entries.

The security entry checkpoints for graduation 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. More information about security and items not allowed on the Lawn is available at

Similar security will be in place for Valediction, which takes place on Friday at 3 p.m. on the Lawn. This ceremony is not a ticketed event. John Paul Jones Arena will serve as the inclement-weather site for Valediction as well as the severe-weather site for Final Exercises on Saturday and Sunday. The above referenced website details additional security measures for the arena.

To access the Lawn (or John Paul Jones Arena) for Final Exercises, all guests must have a ticket. For those without tickets, the ceremonies will be live-streamed to various locations across Grounds. Guests also can watch a live webcast from anywhere.

Detailed information about Finals Weekend is available on the website. To ensure that the weekend goes smoothly for you and your family, please take some time to read through the website. You also should 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.

In a few days, we will be communicating with graduates about general decorum, especially during Final Exercises. Every year, a small but significant number of graduates over-indulge in alcohol prior to the ceremony and are unable physically to participate in the Academic Procession down the Lawn. We view this as an unhealthy, sad conclusion to their time at UVA and hope that you will join us in urging students to refrain from this type of behavior. In addition, we are asking our graduates to keep others in mind if they carry balloons during Final Exercises. The size of some balloons blocks others' views and impedes the procession.

Finally, I encourage you to sign up for Finals Weekend 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.

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. Behind every graduate are champions and supporters who have helped them reach this point in their lives. Congratulations to each of you, and best wishes for a wonderful weekend.

Warm regards,

Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer