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Finals Weekend

Important Notice

The University will make an announcement about plans for Final Exercises for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 by March 15, 2021.The information on this page pertains to a non-pandemic year. Significant updates will be made as soon as the University's plans for Finals Weekend 2021 have been finalized. Information regarding the postponed Final Exercises for the Class of 2020 is available here. Information regarding UVA's response to COVID-19 is available here.

General Information

Frequently Asked Questions

ATTN: The information provided below is for a non-pandemic year. We anticipate signifiant changes will be made to this page as soon as the University's plan for Finals Weekend 2021 has been finalized (by March 15, 2021).

When and where is Final Exercises?

The 192nd Final Exercises will be held on the Lawn at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23, 2021.  Final Exercises will end between 11:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.

When does my student graduate?

The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will participate in Final Exercises on Saturday, May 22. All other schools will participate in Final Exercises on Sunday, May 23. The schedule for Finals Weekend 2021 will available here as soon as it is confirmed. School and department graduation ceremonies are held during the afternoon, following Final Exercises on the Lawn. A list of locations and times for each school and department ceremony will be available here in late Fall 2020.

How many guest seating tickets for Final Exercises will my student receive?

Given the continued uncertainty about COVID-19, the number of tickets that each graduate will receive will be determined at a later date and will follow University and State guidelines. Graduates will not receive guest seating tickets for both Final Exercises ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday. They will receive tickets for the day in which his/her school is invited to participate.

Additional guests are welcomed. Guests without a Final Exercises seating ticket can watch a live stream of the ceremony in one of our climate-controlled, Remote (Indoor) Viewing Locations. Tickets are not required for these venues. In addition, both Final Exercises ceremonies will be streamed live on the University of Virginia live webcast page.

Do children require tickets to attend Final Exercises on the Lawn?

Children two years old and younger do not require a ticket if sitting on someone's lap. All children older than 2 years old are required to have a guest seating ticket. Guests with children are also encouraged to take advantage of the Remote (Indoor) Viewing Locations. These locations are climate-controlled and located near indoor restrooms. In addition, these locations are less crowded than the seating area on the Lawn, allowing for more space for children to move around. Tickets are not required for these venues. 

What do you suggest I do regarding lodging?

The University plans to offer on-Grounds housing in the new Alderman Road Residence Area, with no minimum stay requirement, for guests attending Finals Weekend. These air-conditioned hall-style accommodations include a shared common area and shared gender-specific bathrooms. Reservations will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please contact Conference Services at or visit their website. For information on hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts, contact the Charlottesville Albemarle Visitors Bureau toll free at (877) 386-1103 or visit their website. To reach the Visitors Bureau Reservations Hotline directly, call (800) 253-1271.

What services do you provide for guests with limited mobility and/or disabilities?

A variety of services are provided for guests with limited mobility and/or disabilities to include designated parking and shuttle buses from/to the John Paul Jones Arena, seating on the Lawn and at Newcomb Hall during Final Exercises, and sign language interpreters and open captioning on the LED screens during Final Exercises.  For additional information, please contact Melissa Oliver, Coordinator of Services for Persons with Disabilities, at (434) 924-3095.  Please note that the University does not supply wheelchairs; however, they may be rented from local companies, and their contact information is available here.

What is the difference between Final Exercises and School and Department Graduation Ceremonies?

Final Exercises begins with an academic procession of the graduates and the president's party down the Lawn. The ceremony includes the conferral of degrees by school, greetings from University officials, and remarks by the Final Exercises speaker.

The School and Department Graduation Ceremonies take place throughout the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday after Final Exercises.  At these ceremonies, graduates will be recognized individually and will be presented a ceremonial scroll.

My graduate is a double major. Will I receive tickets for Final Exercises for each major?

No. Guest seating tickets are distributed to graduates evenly based on the number of degrees (diplomas) awarded in the class. Graduates with double majors receive one degree (diploma) with two concentrations and are allocated the standard number of guest seating tickets. Graduates in a dual degree program receive two diplomas and are allocated the standard number of guest seating tickets for each degree (diploma) awarded.

Do I need a ticket for the school and department ceremonies?

There are over sixty school and department ceremonies during Finals Weekend, and each is different based on the number of graduates, venue, and ceremony.  For questions related to these ceremonies, please contact the school or department directly.

What time should I arrive to Final Exercises?

Given the continued uncertainty about COVID-19, it is too early to provide a recommended time of arrival.  Please check back in the early months of 2021. As a point of reference, in prior years ushers began seating guests on the Lawn at 7:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. All guests were encouraged to be seated on the Lawn by 8:45 a.m. to prepare for the procession.

Where am I allowed to park during Finals Weekend?

Parking is available in many locations during Finals Weekend. Please see the Parking & Shuttle Service section of the website for a list of parking areas, as well as parking tips to help plan your visit. Guests staying in On-Grounds Housing should park in the S6 Parking lot at Scott Stadium, nearest the Student Activities Building (no permit is required).

What is Valedictory Exercises?

Valedictory Exercises is the ceremony at which the graduating class pays tribute to their fellow classmates and their time spent at the University. This unique ceremony includes the presentation of the Class Gift and University and Class Awards as well as a speech from a keynote speaker, who is chosen by the class. The ceremony will be held on Friday, May 21, 2021, at 3 p.m. in the John Paul Jones Arena. Tickets are not required for this ceremony, and it is open to the public.  

What is Donning of the Kente?

The Donning of the Kente is a ceremony, recognizing the accomplishments of graduating black students.  During the ceremony, students receive stoles made of kente cloth, imported from West Africa. The ceremony is sponsored by the Office of African-American Affairs, and tickets are required.   For additional information, contact Michael Mason at

When may I pick up my cap and gown?

With a valid photo ID, graduates may pick up their caps and gowns at the University Bookstore during Fourth-Year Week (Dates TBD), Graduate Week (Dates TBD), and Finals Week (May 19-23), as applicable.

As an August or a December graduate, can I participate in the graduation ceremonies in May?

If you receive your degree in August 2020 or December 2020, you are welcome to participate in Final Exercises and your school or department ceremony in May 2021. Please contact your school or department in advance to inform them of your intent to participate. Also, visit the "For Students" section of this website for important information regarding preparations for Finals Weekend 2021.

What happens if it rains during Final Exercises?

Final Exercises takes place on the Lawn rain or shine.  The ceremony will be moved indoors to John Paul Jones Arena in the event of severe weather (e.g. thunder, lightning, or high winds). Details regarding the weather plans are available here. In the event of inclement or severe weather, shuttle bus service will be extended until the conclusion of all school/department graduation ceremonies.

What should I wear to Final Exercises?

Final Exercises is held outdoors.  Attire is a personal preference, but guests are encouraged to dress respectfully for the occasion and appropriately for the weather, and to wear comfortable shoes given the considerable amount of walking involved. Graduates and faculty will wear their caps and gowns which will provide them access to the Lawn and to John Paul Jones Arena (if the ceremony is moved inside). The grass, as well as ramps and steps located on the Lawn may be damp or slick during Final Exercises. Graduates and faculty are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes with low heels to avoid falling or tripping during the Procession.

Can my child/children participate with me in the Academic Procession on the Lawn during Final Exercises?

For safety reasons, children are not allowed to participate in the Academic Procession.  Only faculty members and graduates are allowed to participate in the Academic Procession during Final Exercises on the Lawn.

Where can I pick up a Final Exercises Program?

Programs will be placed in the seat of each graduating student; hence, students do not need to pick up a copy prior to the Academic Procession. Programs for guests will be available at the Information Booths, at select points on the Lawn, as well as at all remote (indoor) viewing locations. The program will also be posted online in the History & Archives section of the website.


Last Updated: June 22, 2020