BLACKSBURG — The spring 2016 Graduate School Commencement ceremony in Cassell Coliseum is scheduled to begin with a procession at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, one day before the University Commencement ceremony in Lane Stadium.

In recent years, the university has held both ceremonies on Friday but an increase in student enrollment means larger venues for college and department commencement ceremonies are needed. Moving the Graduate School ceremony to Thursday allows Cassell Coliseum to be available for larger ceremonies to begin earlier on Friday than in previous years.

"It allows us to better accommodate the growing number of friends and families who attend the more than 30 ceremonies on our Blacksburg campus," said Dan Taylor, chair of the university’s Commencement Committee. "We want to ensure that the ceremonies are accessible to all who wish to attend this celebratory occasion."

Graduate School Commencement is scheduled to end by 5 p.m. on May 12 and the ceremony should not overlap with any of the cultural achievement ceremonies held that day.

On-campus lodging for commencement is available with the earliest check in on Thursday night.

The May 13 University Commencement is scheduled to begin with the procession at 8:30 a.m. Friends and families are encouraged to arrive early for all ceremonies and to consider the fact that traffic congestion could lead to increased travel times. More information is available on the university’s commencement page.