Guest Information

Guest Information

Arrival Time
Traffic will be heavier than usual Saturday morning. Plan to arrive on campus early. Guests should park as directed by Campus Police, then go directly to the David J. Prior Convocation Center.  Doors will open at 9:30 a.m.  Family and guests with tickets should be seated by 10:30 a.m. The academic procession will start at 11 a.m.

Parking is available on the main campus and at the Prior Center.  Shuttle buses will run from designated stops on campus to and from the Prior Center starting at 8:30 a.m.

Disability accessible parking is available in the lot immediately above the Prior Center.

Designated Shuttle Stops on Campus
The following shuttle stops will be clearly marked with signs:

  • Greear Gymnasium
  • Crockett Hall
  • McCraray Hall

Each graduate will receive eight (8) 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 Wednesday, May 8 through Friday, May 10 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 10 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Graduates are responsible for distributing tickets to family/guests prior to the Commencement ceremony.

All guests will be admitted to the Prior Center when the doors open at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 11.  Guests with tickets will be seated first.  Seats will be available for ticket holders until 10:30 a.m. and then released for all remaining guests on a first come basis.  Ushers will be taking tickets at each set of stairs. Guests may also observe the commencement ceremony from the concourse level.

Guests are not permitted in the robing area or graduate seating area until after the recessional.

Faculty and staff will be admitted to the seating area by showing their campus ID card.

Guests Need to Know 

  • Beverages and packaged snacks will be available  for purchase from the Prior Center’s concession stands.
  • A first-aid station will be available in the Prior Center ticket office near the main entrance.
  • Ushers will direct lost children to the Prior Center’s ticket office.
  • The campus bookstore outlet in the Prior Center will be open on Friday, May 10 from 4 to 6 p.m. and will open at 9:30 a.m. on Commencement day.
  • All ushers and official Commencement staff will be wearing red vests and name tags.  Please look to these guides for assistance.
  • As a courtesy to our graduates, speakers and guests, please silence your cell phones prior to the ceremony.

For the safety of everyone attending Commencement, no pets other than service animals, are permitted in the Prior Center.

Disability Accommodations
UVa-Wise is pleased to offer services for guests with disabilities during Commencement weekend. The locations for these services are at the main entrance and are clearly marked with signs posted at the event.  In addition, there will be ushers wearing red vests and name tags at the event. Please feel free to ask for assistance.

Disability accessible parking is available in the lot immediately above the Prior Center; however, there are a limited number of spaces available.  Guests who wish to use the disability accessible parking must have a handicapped parking tag or license plate. If you have questions or need further information, please contact  Whitney Wells, Director of Disability Services, at 276-328-0265 or email

Seating and Wheelchairs
Accessible seating will be available for guests to accommodate wheelchairs or other mobility impairments. Guests must check in at Disability Services Check-in in the front lobby to receive a pass for this reserved seating. This seating is along concourse level.  In order to accommodate as many persons as possible, only one additional family member/guest may sit in the wheelchair seating area.  As with any other guest, tickets are necessary for seating until the designated release time.  After the release, the accessible seating is open but only to those with a pass.

Some assistance, including wheelchairs, is available to assist guests to concourse level seating and to the designated pick-up areas after the event.  Guests will be accompanied by staff.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact  Whitney Wells, Director of Disability Services, at 276-328-0265 or email

Deaf and Hearing Impaired
American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is available at Commencement.  Please come to the Disability Services Check-in and let an usher know for seating purposes.

Public restrooms are located near the main entrance of the Prior Center and are disability accessible.



Area Lodging
Best Western of Wise     276-328-3500
Comfort Inn Hotel     276-523-5911
Days Inn     276-679-5340
EconoLodge  276-679-7001
Holiday Inn     1-888-HOLIDAY or 276-679-6655
Super 8 Motel     276-679-0893
The Inn at Wise  276-321-7600
Mountain View Lodge  276-395-0546 or 276-275-3743
Western Front Hotel     276-738-3040 (eligible for special rate by using code “UVaWise Alumni”)

Other area lodging may offer special rates for UVa-Wise.  Please inquire when making your reservations.

Area Dining
Asia Cafe     276-679-1502
Applebee’s     276-679-5790
China Garden     276-679-5201
El Dorado (Mexican)     276-3533-3175
Fishtales     276-679-1651
Huddle House     276-679-6526
Mi Finca (Mexican)     276-679-3330
Milton’s     276-738-3041
Monterrey’s (Mexican)     276-679-5850
Moon Dog Brick Oven of Wise     276-321-7452
Prime Sirloin     276-679-0673
Reno’s     276-328-2924
Roma’s (Italian)     276-328-3714
Romano’s (Italian)     276-679-1889
Sugar Hill Brewing Company     276-738-1088
The Wood Booger Grill  276-325-0551
Yamato’s (Japanese)     276-679-0441

For more information regarding Commencement, please contact:

Debra Wharton, Director of Commencement

For more information regarding disability accommodations, please contact:
Whitney Wells, Director of Disability Services