UVA announces in-person Final Exercises for the Classes of 2020 and 2021

Monday morning, UVA announced plans for in-person Final Exercises for the classes of 2020 and 2021, following Gov. Ralph Northam’s revised guidance on attendance caps for graduation events. The celebrations for each class will take place separately on different days in May.

“It has been a challenging year,” said President Jim Ryan in an email to the graduating classes, “and I am looking forward to the chance to formally recognize – and rightfully celebrate – all you have accomplished.” 

A year after the COVID-19 pandemic required the Class of 2020’s Final Exercises to occur virtually, students of the graduated class will have the opportunity to walk down the Lawn on May 16 in celebration of their time at UVA. The University is also planning to host “an early reunion-style social event” during Summer 2022 for this class.

The Class of 2021’s Final Exercises will take place over the weekend from May 21 to May 23.

Final Exercises events for both classes will follow tradition and begin at the Lawn, concluding in Scott Stadium for degree conferral. Students from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will be allowed two guests, who may view a live stream of the procession and degree conferral ceremonies while seated in Scott Stadium.

“I’m excited to have a somewhat real graduation,” said Rutva Shah, a graduating student from the Class of 2021.

The ceremonies will proceed “rain or shine” as in previous years, although the University has also planned three additional back-up options.

UVA will conduct five separate ceremonies for the Class of 2021 across the weekend of May 21 to May 23. Students graduating from the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and the School of Education and Human Development  will celebrate their graduation on the morning of May 21.

This will be followed in the afternoon by celebrations for the students graduating from the schools of Architecture and Data Science, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

On May 22, two ceremonies will be held in the morning and afternoon for students graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students graduating from the McIntire School of Commerce, the Darden School of Business and the School of Law will walk down the Lawn on the morning of May 23 to conclude the Class of 2021’s Final Exercises celebrations. 

Advisory committees were assembled to ensure different members of the UVA community had a voice in the execution of Final Exercises. The students on the 2020 and 2021 committees “expressed a strong desire to have larger ceremonies that would feel more festive, especially given the size of Scott Stadium,’ said provost Liz Magill. 

The events will adhere to the University and state Covid-19 protocols. All graduates and guests will wear masks at all times during the ceremony and are expected to stay home if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Class of 2021 graduates and all guests are “encouraged to obtain a negative COVID test prior” to traveling to Charlottesville, in accordance with travel advisories. 

For up-to-date information regarding Final Exercises, students and guests can refer to this website.


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