Guest Information

Arrival Time
Traffic will be heavier than usual on the day of Commencement. Plan to arrive on campus early. Guests should park as directed by Campus Police, then go directly to the Carl Smith Stadium.  Gates will open at 90 minutes before ceremony.  Guests should be at their seats 15 to 30 minutes before the ceremony begins.

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.

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

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 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.

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.

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.

Guests Need to Know

  • Concessions will not be sold in the stadium.  However, you may bring your own water.
  • The campus bookstore located in Slemp Student Center will be open as follows:
    • Saturday, May 8 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
    • Sunday, May 9 – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • All ushers and official Commencement staff will be wearing red vests and/or 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.

Lodging and Dining

View more information on lodging and restaurants.

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. To inquire about accommodations, please contact by April 20.  At the event, staff can direct guests to assistance.

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 parking tag or license plate. There is an accessible drop off at the fieldhouse entrance.

Seating and Wheelchairs
Accessible seating will be available for guests to accommodate wheelchairs or other mobility impairments. Due to protocols, there is no seat reservation. Accessible seating will be available on the field-level, but guests can also use accessible seating built-in to the home seating at either the bottom or top of the bleachers.

Deaf and Hearing Impaired
Individuals in need of ASL services should contact by April 20, 2021.