Dear Degree Recipient:
Tomorrow begins one of the most significant occasions in your life as well as in the life of the University. We will officially conclude the academic year by celebrating you, our newest degree recipients, during Finals Weekend. As you prepare to walk the Lawn on Saturday or Sunday, I invite you to consider for a moment how you would like this weekend to unfold.
The Lawn is at its most magnificent during Finals Weekend, and the setting is beyond compare for a celebration of academic achievement. Every year, a few students miss all of this because they have over-partied the evening before and physically are unable to participate in the Academic Procession down the Lawn. Such a scenario results in disappointed family members and friends, and the absence of any personal memories from this milestone event. Such behavior, either prior to or during the Final Exercises, does not match the sense of joy and celebration that should characterize the day for everyone.
While I recognize that a small number of students engage in this behavior, the few who do so spoil the occasion for many others and disappoint their parents and guests. I urge you to set some limits for yourself when celebrating, and to speak up if a friend seems to be overdoing it. Your graduation day should be a day to remember – for the right reasons.
Should you choose to drink alcohol, please do so in moderation. It is important to eat protein before and while you are drinking. Protein, more than carbohydrates, will help slow down the effects of alcohol. It is also important to space your drinks as well as to alternate with water to stay hydrated. If you are on the Corner before your ceremony, please drop by 1515 for "Breakfast with Miss Kathy." You will receive a free breakfast burrito if you are carrying or wearing your cap and gown. The breakfast will take place both Saturday and Sunday from 6 to 8:30 a.m.
With regard to safety and security for the weekend, everyone attending Valedictory Exercises and both Final Exercises ceremonies (including graduates, faculty, and guests) will be subject to security screening before entering the Lawn or John Paul Jones Arena. In particular, please keep the following in mind:
- All bags will be subject to search.
- Everyone wearing an outer garment, such as an academic robe or coat, will be asked to open it for a visual inspection.
- Alcoholic beverages are not permitted.
- A number of other items will not be allowed, including animals (except service animals), noisemakers, flasks, laser pointers, sticks and poles (including sports equipment). Selfie sticks, provided they are collapsible, will be allowed.
- For complete details about security and prohibited items, please see the Finals website.
Walking the Lawn and receiving your degree is a great achievement. You have worked hard to become a degree recipient of the University of Virginia who has thus "worn the honors of Honor." Finals Weekend is a special time to savor and to remember. I wish you much happiness as you celebrate with family and friends, and as you take the next steps into your future.
With warmest congratulations,
Allen W. Groves (Law ’90)
University Dean of Students