Commencement : Guest Information

Arrival Time
Traffic will be heavier than usual. Plan to arrive on campus early. Guests should park as directed by Campus Police, then go directly to the Lawn by the Lake.  Family and guests should be seated by 10:30 a.m. The academic procession will start at 11 a.m. 

There is ample parking on campus for guests. Campus Police will direct guests to available parking areas. Shuttle buses will run continuously from the gymnasium and the upper parking lots to the commencement site from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Schedule and/or location changes resulting from severe weather conditions will be available at 276-376-4766 and at
Seating--Lawn by the Lake
Tickets are NOT required for the Commencement Ceremony on the Lawn by the Lake.  All graduates and guests are welcome. Seating on the lawn is first-come, first-served.  Guests are not permitted in the graduate seating area at any time. 
However, if the ceremony must be moved to the David J. Prior Convocation Center due to severe weather, tickets will be required.
Seating--Prior Center
Each graduate will receive six tickets for family and guest seating at the Prior Center.  Tickets will be distributed to graduates (with a photo ID) at the Registrar's Office May 2 through May 9 during regular business hours.  Tickets will also be available to graduates (with a photo ID) at the Prior Center ticket office on Friday evening, May 9 from 5 to 9 p.m.
Guests with tickets will be seated first.  Seats will be available for ticket holders until 10:30 a.m. and then released for other guests without tickets on a first come basis.  Guests may also observe the commencement ceremony from the concourse level.
Faculty and staff will be admitted to the seating area by showing their campus ID card.
Guests Need to Know 
  • Guests should remember that the Lawn by the Lake is a grassy plot surrounded by sidewalks. Everyone is encouraged to wear comfortable, flat or low-heeled shoes.
  • The Lawn can become very warm on a sunny day.  Don’t forget your sunscreen, sunhats, sunglasses and water.  Water stations will be available, but you may want to bring your own bottled water. 
  • A first-aid station will be available near the white tent between Crockett Hall and  McCraray Hall.  (ADA Check-in)
  • Ushers will direct lost children to the small white tent (ADA Check-in) 
  • All ushers and official Commencement staff will be wearing red vests and nametags.  Please look to these guides for assistance. 
  • The campus bookstore will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the day of Commencement.
Public restrooms are located in all buildings adjacent to the Lawn.


For the safety of everyone attending Commencement, no pets other than service animals, will be permitted on the Lawn and surrounding area.


Disability Accommodations
UVa-Wise is pleased to offer services for guests with disabilities during Commencement weekend. The locations for these services are clearly marked with signs posted at the event. ADA services will be available at the white tent located between Crockett and McCraray Halls.  In addition, there will be ushers wearing red vests at the event. Please feel free to ask for assistance.  Ushers will be available to help guests from their cars to a seating area.


Handicapped-accessible parking is available in the McCraray Hall lot; however, there are a limited number of spots available.  Guests who wish to use the handicapped-accessible parking spots must have a handicapped parking tag or license plate and make a reservation by calling 276-376-4522.  Spaces will be held until 10:30 a.m. for those who have made a reservation. 


Seating and Wheelchairs 

Guests must walk a short distance to be seated.  Special seating will be available for guests in wheelchairs, as well as seating for others with impaired mobility.  Wheelchair seating is available in a specially designated area.  In order to accommodate as many wheelchair users as possible, only one additional family member may sit in the wheelchair seating area.


If you or a member of your family needs assistance from your car to the seating area, go to the ADA Check-in (small white tent between Crockett and McCraray Halls).  An usher will provide assistance to the seating area and back to your vehicle after Commencement.


Deaf and Hearing Impaired
American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is available at Commencement in a designated seating area.  Please come to the ADA Check-in (small white tent between Crockett and McCraray Halls) and let an usher know if you need to be seated in this area.

If you need to be seated near a sign language interpreter, please call 276-376-4522 or e-mail

Restrooms in all buildings adjacent to the Lawn are handicapped-accessible.




Area Lodging
Best Western of Wise     276-328-3500
Comfort Inn Hotel     276-523-5911
Days Inn     276-679-5340
Holiday Inn     1-888-HOLIDAY or 276-679-6655
Quality Inn & Suites    276-679-7000
Super 8 Motel     276-679-0893
Travelers Motel     276-796-5428
Area Dining
Asia Cafe     276-679-1502
Applebee's     276-679-5790
Bonanza Family Restaurant     276-679-1918
China Garden     276-679-5201
Dari Barn     276-328-6449
Fishtales     276-679-1651
Huddle House     276-679-6526
Mi Finca (Mexican)     276-679-3330
Magnolia Kitchen (Cajun)    (276) 679-0300
Monterrey's (Mexican)     276-679-5850
Prime Sirloin     276-679-0673
Reno's     276-328-2924
Roma's (Italian)     276-328-3714
Romano's (Italian)     276-679-1889
The End Zone Sports Bar and Grill   (276) 679-3639
Troutdale Steak House of Norton     276-679-6655
Yamato's (Japanese)     276-679-0441

For more information or for disability accommodation, please contact:

Debra Wharton, Director of Commencement