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Fall Convocation

Fall Convocation

Fall Convocation was an academic ceremony held at the University of Virginia from 1976 to 2018. Intermediate Honors for the Class of 2021 will be presented during the Class of 2021 Third Year Ceremony on Friday, October 18 at 4 p.m. in John Paul Jones Arena.

This is an archived website regarding past Fall Convocation ceremonies.


The Convocation Ceremony began in the earliest days of the University and was held to recognize acheivements of those in the University Community. Most recently, the ceremony recognized third-year students that received Intermediate Honors, as well as the recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Awards, the University's highest honor.

From roughly 1950 to 1976, Fall Convocation was not held. Concerned by declining attendance on Founder’s Day (held annually on April 13, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday), University President Colgate W. Darden, Jr., abolished Fall Convocation and merged the ceremony into Founder’s Day activities. By 1976, the number of students eligible for Intermediate Honors had increased and the location of the ceremony moved from Cabell Hall to the South Lawn. Due to weather concerns, it was decided that the ceremony should return to the original fall schedule.

Since 2009, attendance dropped steadily and significantly at Fall Convocation. In addition to low attendance, the criteria for awarding Intermediate Honors was adjusted at the end of the Spring semester in 2019. After consulting with leaders in the undergraduate schools, faculty, and others across Grounds, it was decided to recognize students in the Class of 2021 receiving Intermediate Honors during the Third Year Ceremony, which is planned by the Third Year Class Council. To account for this change, the Provost Office established a working group to provide recommendations on recognizing academic excellence in future years at the University.


Archived List of Speakers and Speeches

  • 1976: Bernard Mayo
  • 1977: Hugh Scott
  • 1978: Colgate W. Darden
  • 1979: Gary Wills
  • 1980: Frederick Seitz
  • 1981: Virginius Dabney
  • 1982: Josiah Bunting III
  • 1983: William Styron
  • 1984: Charles McDowell
  • 1985: Robert M. O'Neil *
  • 1986: Norman A. Graebner
  • 1987: Henry J. Abraham
  • 1988: Daniel J. Meador
  • 1989: Frank L. Hereford, Jr.
  • 1990: John T. Casteen III *
  • 1991: Richard Rorty
  • 1992: J. Jackson Walter
  • 1993: Rita Dove
  • 1994: R. K. Ramazani
  • 1995: Richard Guy Wilson
  • 1996: Bonnie Guiton Hill
  • 1997: Jahan Ramazani
  • 1998: Robert L. Kellogg
  • 1999: Matthew Holden, Jr.
  • 2000: Anita K. Jones
  • 2001: Edward L. Ayers
  • 2002: Janine Jagger
  • 2003: William B. Quandt
  • 2004: David T. Gies
  • 2005: Mark W. Edmundson (view speech)
  • 2006: William B. Harvey
  • 2007: Arthur Garson, Jr. (view speech)
  • 2008: Karin Wittenborg (view speech)
  • 2009: Meredith Jung-En Woo (view speech)
  • 2010: Teresa A. Sullivan (view speech)
  • 2011: J. Milton Adams
  • 2012: John D. Simon (view speech)
  • 2013: Dorrie K. Fontaine (view speech)
  • 2014: Gary W. Gallagher (view speech)
  • 2015: Gregory B. Fairchild (view speech)
  • 2016: Risa L. Goluboff
  • 2017: Lisa Russ Spaar (view speech)
  • 2018: Thomas C. Katsouleas (view speech)

* President's Inauguration

Video Archives


University of Virginia News Releases

View archived news stories of Fall Convocation ceremonies at the University of Virginia. These stories were published by UVA Today.

  • October 26, 2018: "Convocation Speaker: Happiness is Learning, Reflecting, Achieving - As Well As Surfing and Sitting Under a Palm Tree"

  • November 3, 2017: "Jeffries, Rheuban Earn Thomas Jefferson Awards at Fall Convocation"

  • November 4, 2016: "UVA Honors Thomas Jefferson Award Winners, Top Students at Fall Convocation"

  • October 23, 2015: "Humble Service to UVA, Others - And a Beatles Song - Highlight Fall Convocation"

  • October 31, 2014: "Fall Convocation Celebrates University's Top Faculty, Students"

  • September 27, 2013: "President Sullivan Confers Intermediate Honors, Presents Jefferson Awards"

  • October 26, 2012: "Simon: Students Should Prepare to Lead in Global Society"

  • October 28, 2011: "Research is Key to Undergraduate Experience and Education, Adams Says"

  • November 5, 2010: "At Convocation, Sullivan Celebrates Old-School Student-Teacher Interactions"

  • October 16, 2009: "Dean Woo Invokes 20 Years of History in Fall Convocation Address"

  • October 24, 2008: "Librarian Advises Students to Occasionally Unplug From the Information Flood"

  • October 26, 2007: "Provost Garson Encourages Students to Embrace Public Life in Convocation Address"

  • October 20, 2006: "William Harvey Challenges Audience to Create Environment Where All are Treated Fairly"

  • October 21, 2005: "Education Professor and Former Associate Dean Annette Gibbs Receives Thomas Jefferson Award, UVA's Highest Honor"

  • October 22, 2004: "Law Professor Robert E. Scott Receives Thomas Jefferson Award, UVA's Highest Honor"

  • October 31, 2003: "Thomas Jefferson Award: Dr. Robert M. Carey Receives University's Highest Honor"