Dear Graduating Students:
Congratulations! This weekend, we will officially celebrate you and your families during Final Exercises. We are looking forward to seeing you on the Lawn and celebrating your hard work and achievements.
As you prepare for the weekend, I hope you find the following reminders helpful.
Quick Links and Tips
Website. Be sure to check the Final Exercises website for complete information about the weekend.
Printable Guide. Print this handy guide for schedules, maps, and other helpful information.
Security. Please pay attention to the reminders about security, the clear bag policy, and items not allowed on the Lawn or at JPJ in case of rain. More details are below and on the website.
UVA Alerts: To opt-in to receive UVA Emergency Alerts (including during Final Exercises), see UVA Emergency Management’s website for details on signing up.
Parking and Shuttle Alerts: Text PTEVENTS to 434-939-4307 to receive text alerts and reminders regarding parking and shuttle services during the weekend. This service will conclude on Sunday, May 21.
Services. Check the Lawn Overview Diagram for where to find water, medical help, restrooms, and other services.
Accessibility. If any of your guests have disabilities or limited mobility, see the website for available services.
Water. Complimentary bottled water will be available for graduates in your assembly areas and in your seating section on the Lawn. Guests can bring unopened, factory-sealed beverages (e.g., bottled water, sodas, Gatorade®, etc.) as well as empty containers to utilize the water filling stations on the Lawn. Additionally, bottled water and other beverages can be purchased at concession stands located on the Lawn and Central Grounds.
Remote viewing. Four remote viewing locations will be available for those without tickets or who prefer to be indoors.
Livestream. Your guests may also watch Valedictory and Final Exercises via the livestream.
Assembly Areas for Graduates
- Whether your ceremony takes place on Saturday or Sunday, please plan to be at your designated assembly point no later than 7:45 a.m. The procession will begin at 9 a.m. (one hour earlier than in the past). Guests should be seated no later than 8:15 a.m.
- To reach the assembly areas, all graduates will go through a security checkpoint. Diagrams of the assembly areas can be found on the Finals Weekend website.
Security Policies and Reminders
- Metal detectors. Metal detectors will be used at the designated entrance points onto the Lawn (for Final Exercises both days) and into John Paul Jones Arena (for Valedictory Exercises on Friday).
- Robing. Everyone wearing an outer garment, such as an academic robe or coat, will be asked to open it for a visual inspection. For Final Exercises, graduates are encouraged to robe after passing through the security checkpoint to expedite entry into the assembly areas.
- Clear Bag Policy. The University’s clear bag policy will be in effect for all attendees (graduates and guests), and bags will be subject to search. Please review the list of prohibited items at both Valedictory and Final Exercises.
- If in doubt, leave it behind. Both graduates and guests attending Final Exercises are encouraged not to bring items that will delay lines to access the Lawn or John Paul Jones Arena.
Breakfast with Ms. Kathy at 1515, Saturday and Sunday, 6-7:30 a.m.
Before lining up at the Rotunda for your walk down the Lawn, be sure to stop by 1515 on the Corner to say goodbye to Ms. Kathy, well-known to many of you from the dining hall in Newcomb. Free breakfast burritos, coffee, and water will be available for graduates while supplies last. A tradition for several years now, this informal event provides some quick fuel for the day along with a chance to receive well-wishes from Ms. Kathy.
Special thanks to the UVA Parents Program for funding this event. Hosted by the Division of Student Affairs.
Finals Weekend is a special occasion for graduates and their loved ones. Most students celebrate responsibly. Every year, though, a few students unfortunately miss the special moments or negatively impact the celebrations for others due to over-indulging the evening before or morning of the academic procession and ceremony.
Please be a leader in this regard and help make this day one that everyone will remember with joy and pride. A few tips:
- Please set limits for yourself when celebrating, and remind your fellow students to do the same.
- If you do choose to drink alcohol, please do so in moderation.
- It is important to eat protein before and while you are consuming alcoholic beverages. Protein, more than carbohydrates, will help slow down the effects of alcohol.
- Please space your drinks and alternate with water to stay hydrated.
Balloons and Glitter
Although balloons are festive and celebratory, graduates are encouraged not to bring balloons to Final Exercises as a courtesy to all guests. Balloons can delay access into the assembly areas, impede the procession, and obstruct the view for many (example).
If you do decide to bring a balloon to Final Exercises, please:
- Be mindful of others attending the ceremony as well as the environment.
- Do not release balloons into the air. Instead, properly dispose of them in a trashcan when finished or hand them to volunteers who will be collecting them to take to patients at the UVA Children’s Hospital.
- Note, it is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to intentionally release a balloon outdoors.
As with balloons, nonbiodegradable glitter and confetti (bottle corks, too) are harmful to wildlife and the environment.
Using these items for photographs creates an arduous cleanup process for our facilities staff who do their best to keep the sidewalks and landscaping looking nice.
Finals Weekend at UVA is a joyous time for all of us. I hope you enjoy each moment with your family and friends. Congratulations on a job well-done, and I look forward to cheering you on this weekend.
Robyn S. Hadley
Vice President and Dean of Students
Chief Student Affairs Officer