Commencement FAQ

When and where will the Commencement Ceremony be held?
The Commencement Ceremonies will be held at Carl Smith Stadium, 437 Stadium Drive, Wise, VA.

  • Class of 2021 will be Saturday, May 8 at 11 a.m.
  • Class of 2020 will be Sunday, May 9 at 1 p.m.

View the complete event schedule.

Will the events be streamed online?
Both Commencement Ceremonies will be streamed on the UVA Wise Facebook page and Commencement website.

Where do I pick up my cap and gown?
Graduates may pick up their caps and gowns in the Registrar’s Office in Crockett Hall during regular business hours April 5 through April 9.  If you have a question regarding your cap and gown, please call the Registrar’s Office at 276-328-0117.

When will I receive my Honors Tassel?
Students who qualify for academic distinction will receive a gold honors tassel in their cap and gown packages or on the day of the ceremony.  Honors will be based on completed course work, as verified by the Registrar’s Office.

What time should I arrive for Commencement?
Class of 2021 Graduates
should arrive at the graduate robing area outside Smith Dining Commons no later than 10 a.m.

Class of 2020 Graduates should arrive at the graduate robing area outside Smith Dining Commons no later than 12 p.m.

Bring or wear your cap and gown.  Staff will be available to assist with robing and to place you in the line-up.  Graduates should leave coats, purses and other valuables with a family member. There will no space available to leave or secure valuables.

Where should I park?
Parking will be as directed by Campus Police as follows:

  • Graduates – Main Campus
  • Guests -- Prior Center
  • Faculty and staff/workers – Main Campus
  • Disability accessible parking – Prior Center

Why is Commencement being held at the Stadium instead of the David J. Prior Convocation Center?
Governor Northam has amended VA Executive Order 72 to include a section on graduation ceremonies.  The new guidance from the Governor and Virginia Department of Health, which applies only to graduation ceremonies and not to any other events, permits up to 5,000 participants for outdoor sites and 500 for indoor venues, or 30% of a facility’s capacity, whichever is lower, in addition to many other regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Smith Stadium is the only campus venue where we could have an in person ceremony and adhere to the mandated regulations.  The capacity guideline limits the number of people who can attend.

Are guests allowed to attend?
Due to the Governor’s capacity guideline limits, graduating students will be allowed up to four guests each for their respective ceremony in the Stadium. Official ticketing information and instructions may be viewed below.

Are tickets required for the Commencement Ceremony?
While graduates are not required to have a ticket, all guests must present a ticket at the gate.  Each graduate participating in Commencement will receive up to a maximum of four (4) non-transferrable/non-exchangeable guest tickets.  These tickets will be specifically designated with the graduates name and date of ceremony for their guests.  We recommend that guests for each graduate arrive together, as they must sit together during the ceremony.  The tickets may not be shared with others.  This will enable Commencement staff to allocate seats based on the Governor’s social distancing restrictions to maintain 6 feet between other families.

We had hoped graduates would be able to share unused tickets with graduating classmates (as in previous years).  However, that is not permitted due to the stringent seating and distancing requirements from the Governor’s executive order.

Guests are not permitted in the graduate robing area or seating area at any time.

Are there COVID-19 safety protocols to which guests/graduates are expected to adhere?
Guests and graduates must adhere to the Governor mandated COVID-19 protocols, including:

  • Wearing a mask at all times while on campus and during the ceremony.
  • Staying home when sick or exhibiting symptoms
  • Once inside the stadium, guests may not leave and return. If a guest leaves the stadium, he/she will not be allowed to re-enter.
  • Guests should remain in the seating area for their family pod and maintain a 6 foot distance from other pods at all times.

What should I wear to Commencement?
Commencement 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. Graduates and faculty will wear their caps and gowns and are strongly encouraged to wear comfortable shoes. The procession route to the Stadium is approximately one-half mile. The grass as well as walkways may be damp or slick during the ceremony, so wearing shoes with little to no heel is advised to prevent tripping or falling during the procession.

Can guests stand along the procession route as the graduates process?
No. Due to strict guidelines outlined in the Governor's Executive Order, guests will not be permitted along the procession route. Guests must remain seated during the ceremony at all times unless they are using the stadium restrooms.

What happens if it rains during Commencement?
Ceremonies will be held rain or shine. In the event of severe weather, ceremonies may be delayed or cancelled.  Umbrellas will be allowed in the stadium, if you wish to bring one.

Can my child/children/family participate with me in the academic procession to the Stadium?
For safety reasons, children and/or family members are not allowed to participate in the academic procession. Only faculty members and graduates are allowed to process during Commencement.

Will photos be taken of each graduate?
A professional photographer will take individual photos of graduates as they walk across the stage and another after exiting the stage.  A photo proof and order form will be emailed to graduates after Commencement.  For more information visit GradImages or call 1-800-261-2576

Where do I purchase graduation announcements?
You may purchase announcements from the College print shop.  For more information, visit the Bookstore.

Will the Bookstore be open on Commencement Day?
The campus bookstore located in Slemp Student Center will be open as follows:

Saturday, May 8, 2021 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, May 9, 2021 – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

When will I receive my diploma?
Diplomas will be mailed to graduates approximately four to five weeks after Commencement.  Diplomas for graduates completing their degrees in the summer will be ordered after the second summer school session and mailed about six weeks later. Please be sure the Registrar’s Office has the correct mailing address where you want your diploma mailed. If you have questions call 276-328-0117.

I have a double major.  Do I get two diplomas?
A double major means you have completed two programs, but only one degree.  You will receive one diploma, unless you complete the hours required for two degree paths.

Will departmental and College honors appear on my diploma?
Final honors earned, based on all coursework, will appear on the official transcripts and on the diploma.

How will my name appear in the program and on my diploma?
Your name will appear in the program and on your diploma based on the information provided to the Registrar’s Office on your graduation application.

When will transcripts be available?
Final transcripts may be ordered from the Registrar’s Office after June 1.  You may order transcripts online, in person, or by telephone at 276-328-0116.

What will prevent me from receiving my diploma?
Not completing degree requirements and/or any financial obligation that would place a stop code on your student account, as well as disciplinary and honor court actions.

How do I know if I am on track to complete my degree requirements?
Check with the Registrar’s Office.  You may call 276-328-0118 or email or