Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't commencement take place on the Front Lawn?

The Commonwealth of Virginia's guidance on university commencement ceremonies explicitly prohibits events that cannot implement crowd control and restrictions on occupancy limitations and physical distancing.

Why was Wilson Field chosen as the alternative venue?

The Wilson Field stadium is the largest venue on campus that meets the Commonwealth of Virginia's requirements for commencement ceremonies. It offers significantly higher capacity for guests, which will allow more family members and loved ones to attend the ceremonies in person.

How many guests will each graduate be permitted?

The number of guests for each ceremony was determined by state guidance on commencement ceremonies and the overall the capacity of Wilson Field stadium. Since the number of law graduates is significantly fewer than the number of graduating seniors, law graduates will be permitted four guests each. Undergraduates will be permitted two guests each.

Will tickets be required for guests? How will they be distributed?

Yes. A limited number of guest tickets will be provided free of charge to each graduate, and graduates will receive an email with more details about where and when to pick up their tickets.

If I'm not using my tickets, can I give them to someone else?

Yes. Tickets may not be copied or reproduced, but unused tickets may be given to other graduates for their own guests' use.

Will other events traditionally associated with commencement exercises be held?

Unfortunately, many of the traditional large-scale events that usually accompany commencement ceremonies cannot take place in person this year due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions. These include the law school awards ceremony and walking stick presentation, which will take place virtually, and the undergraduate baccalaureate service and luncheon, which are cancelled. The state guidelines that permit us to hold commencement ceremonies are specific to events that award diplomas or academic degrees.

Why are the classes of 2021 able to have in-person ceremonies this year, but not the classes of 2020?

Unlike members of the classes of 2021, 2020 graduates are not currently on campus. The decision to further postpone their ceremonies was based on a number of factors, including nationwide vaccination rates, the inadvisability of interstate travel and our desire to host full-scale celebrations for last year's graduates, who were unable to have an in-person commencement. The university is working with undergraduate and law advisory committees to identify new dates and plan appropriate celebrations for the classes of 2020 to take place on campus as soon as next fall, if circumstances permit.

What will indoor / outdoor gathering size limitations be in May?

Gathering sizes will continue to be set by the COVID-19 Committee in consultation with President Dudley based on the COVID-19 environment level on campus. They will not exceed those set by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Will COVID-19 testing expectations continue for students through commencement?

Yes, all students will continue to be tested weekly until after commencement ceremonies.