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Coming to commencement? Here's what you need to know

May 5, 2017

Virginia Tech will offer a live stream of both the Graduate School Commencement and University Commencement ceremonies.
Virginia Tech will offer a live stream of both the Graduate School Commencement and University Commencement ceremonies.

Family and friends of Virginia Tech's graduating seniors are finalizing plans to travel to Blacksburg or Fairfax, Virginia, to attend the university's commencement ceremonies.

Approximately 30,000 friends and family members are expected to travel to Blacksburg for commencement ceremonies May 11-13. 

  • The Graduate School Commencement Ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11, in Cassell Coliseum.
  • The University Commencement ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 12, with the procession into Lane Stadium. Gates to the stadium will open at 7 a.m. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to avoid traffic delays.
  • Virginia Tech’s 36th National Capital Region Commencement Ceremony will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 14, at the George Mason Center for the Arts in Fairfax.

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org, will deliver the keynote address at the University Commencement Ceremony Friday morning. Virginia Tech alumna Regina E. Dugan, vice president of engineering and leader of Facebook’s new Building 8 hardware product development team, will introduce Sandberg to the graduating class.

Virginia Tech will offer live-stream video of both the Graduate School Commencement and University Commencement ceremonies from the university homepage.

Beginning at 12:30 p.m. Friday, 28 college and departmental ceremonies will be held across campus, continuing through Saturday afternoon. A complete schedule of all departmental and college convocation ceremonies may be found on the commencement website.

Approximately 38 associate degree candidates from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and 4,767 bachelor’s degree candidates from all the colleges will be honored at the ceremony.

This year, 1,821 graduating seniors will complete their baccalaureate degree programs with honors, having achieved an accumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale.

As it was last year, this year's most popular major among graduating seniors is mechanical engineering. The next four most popular majors are business information technology; human nutrition, foods and exercise; biological sciences; and finance.

At a ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday in Burruss Hall Auditorium, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will honor 207 students graduating from its program. At the same ceremony, 66 students will be commissioned in the U.S. Army, 43 will be commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, 35 will be commissioned into the U.S. Navy, and nine will commission into the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bachelor’s degrees to be awarded to students from each of Virginia Tech’s seven undergraduate colleges:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: 545
  • College of Architecture and Urban Studies: 267
  • College of Engineering: 1,565
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences: 712
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment: 138
  • Pamplin College of Business: 814
  • College of Science: 726

Laura Lindenfeld, director for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York, will speak at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. Approximately 1,275 students will be honored at the ceremony: 862 master’s degree candidates, 28 education specialist degree candidates, 24 Ed.D. candidates, 103 advanced graduate certificate candidates, and 259 Ph.D. candidates.

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Commencement Ceremony will be at 6 p.m. Friday in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre of Moss Arts Center.

Mehul Sanghani, founder and chief executive officer of Octo Consulting Group, will give the keynote address to approximately 190 graduates at the National Capital Region Commencement Ceremony on Sunday.

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands will preside over the two Blacksburg ceremonies and the National Capital Region event.

Student remarks given during the University Commencement Ceremony will include opening reflections from Rebecca Oswalt, a senior majoring in human development and Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; a speech by the Class of 2017 president Patrick M. Finn, a senior majoring in marketing management in the Pamplin College of Business; and closing reflections by the Class of 2017 Vice President Allison L. Crandell, a senior majoring in public relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Soprano Jessica L. Vance, a senior majoring in music in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will sing the national anthem and the "Alma Mater" at the University Commencement Ceremony, as well as the national anthem at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. 

Shekila Melchior, a Ph.D. candidate in counselor education, will provide student remarks during the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. Jean M. Raleigh, a master’s candidate in business administration, will give remarks during the National Capital Region Commencement Ceremony.

2017 marks the Virginia Tech's 145th year. More information on all commencement and convocation activities may be found online.

In the event of inclement weather, the University Commencement ceremony in Lane Stadium may be delayed. If heavy rain or dangerous conditions prevail, the university may cancel the ceremony. Once a decision has been made, details will be posted on the Virginia Tech homepage and the Virginia Tech News page. Information will also be recorded on the University Weather Line (540-231-6668), shared with area news outlets, sent using campus-wide email and VT Alerts, and posted to the VT News page on Twitter and the Virginia Tech page on Facebook.

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org, will deliver the keynote address at the University Commencement Ceremony.

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org, will deliver the keynote address at the University Commencement Ceremony
Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org, will deliver the keynote address at the University Commencement Ceremony.

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