Virginia Tech gives details on in-person commencement ceremonies and how to sign up
March 31, 2021
Editor's note: This story has been edited to reflect a recently announced update that Virginia Tech will host a ceremony this spring for the Class of 2020.
Virginia Tech will host 16 in-person commencement ceremonies in Lane Stadium May 10-16 that will be divided up by college to celebrate graduating Hokies while also adhering to public health guidelines.
The virtual university commencement will be on Friday, May 14, at 6:15 p.m., and degrees will be conferred at this time. This year’s commencement keynote speaker will be announced later this month. The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the greater Washington, D.C., metro area will also host in-person ceremonies separately.
Registration for graduating students and their guests is required. Each graduate may invite up to four guests.
Graduates can see the schedule of in-person college commencement ceremonies and sign up online. The last day to register is April 16.
During the week of April 19, all registered students will receive an email to secure up to four guest tickets. In order to comply with the state guidelines, information for each guest must be submitted when signing up for tickets. Entrance without a ticket will not be permitted.
Each ceremony is expected to last two hours. Large colleges will have more than one ceremony, and students will select which time they will attend. If a graduate would traditionally attend a departmental ceremony they should now attend their college ceremony. Graduates that associate with multiple colleges should choose their preferred ceremony.
Ceremonies will include a message from the dean, and graduates will be able to walk across the stage as their name is read. Photos will be taken, and graduates will be able to choose to have their image mailed to them.
Here’s a look at the schedule for the in-person college ceremonies that will be held at Lane Stadium.
Monday, May 10
- 2 p.m. Graduate School (1 of 2)
- 6:30 p.m. Virginia–Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
Tuesday, May 11
- 4 p.m. Graduate School (2 of 2)
Wednesday, May 12
- 1 p.m. Class of 2020
- 6 p.m. College of Engineering (1 of 3)
Thursday, May 13
- 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. College of Engineering (2 and 3 of 3)
- 6 p.m. College of Architecture and Urban Studies
Friday, May 14
- 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. College of Science (1 and 2 of 2)
- 6:15 p.m. University Commencement virtual ceremony
Saturday, May 15
- 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (1 and 2 of 2)
- 6 p.m. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Sunday, May 16
- 8 a.m. College of Natural Resources and Environment
- 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Pamplin College of Business (1 and 2 of 2)
The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the greater Washington, D.C., metro area will also have in-person ceremonies, which will take place in Roanoke and Falls Church, respectively. The school of medicine will host its ceremony May 8 and the D.C. area ceremony will be May 18. Details about these ceremonies will be communicated to graduates separately.
The Corps of Cadets will also host a graduation ceremony. It will be May 3 at 5:30 p.m. on Upper Quad. Details will be available at vtcc.vt.edu/commencement.
More than 8,000 Hokies are graduating this spring. Because of that, hosting multiple in-person events, as well as an online ceremony, is necessary to accommodate public health protocols while also making the experience special for graduates and their families.
Recently released state guidelines and feedback from the Class of 2021 have helped inform the format of in-person celebrations. More than 2,000 graduating students completed a survey seeking commencement feedback. Overwhelmingly, graduates wanted a chance to celebrate with family and friends in Lane Stadium.
While all of Hokie Nation is thrilled to commemorate this milestone in person, it will not be a traditional commencement ceremony. Graduates and guests will not be permitted to gather in large numbers outside the stadium. Tailgating and congregating will not be allowed and public health measures will still be in place.
The entire community is encouraged to celebrate online Friday, May 14, at 6:15 p.m. for the universitywide virtual commencement ceremony. Students, families, friends, and alumni can all participate.
Last spring marked the university’s first online graduation when commencement exercises for Class of 2020 were moved online to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Recently, more than 600 graduates of the class completed a survey sharing how they would like to celebrate their commencement now that restrictions are loosening. Most survey respondents did not want to come back this spring to celebrate their commencement alongside another class with public health protocols in place. The survey did indicate that having a traditional commencement ceremony and a celebration with family is important to the class.
Plans for the Class of 2020 are expected to be released at a later date. The university’s commencement delivery team is working with representatives of the class to plan a future event.
Information about all commencement activities will continue to be shared via email, online, and through Virginia Tech social media channels. In the meantime, here’s how you can get ready for commencement and stay informed.