Commencement Procession Line-Up Instructions
Rehearsal for Commencement will begin at 3:00 p.m., on Thursday afternoon, May 7, on Stemmons Plaza between Newcomb Hall and Reid Hall, facing Huntley Hall, behind the Colonnade.
"Parent Alumni and Grads" photos and the Class of 2015 law photo will be taken on Saturday morning, May 9, at 10:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., respectively, on the Front Lawn near the Lee House and Lee-Jackson House.
Commencement Exercises will be held on the Front Lawn in front of Lee Chapel on Saturday, May 9, beginning at 11:00 a.m.
By University regulations the diploma will NOT be awarded with the class to a candidate for a degree who fails to attend the Commencement Exercises, unless the candidate has been excused in advance by formal action of the Faculty Executive Committee. Because Commencement is such an important event in the life of the University and of the graduating class, requests to be excused are not routinely granted. Any such requests must be submitted in writing to the Dean of the Law School by April 1, 2015. A candidate who without approved excuse does not participate in the Commencement Exercises is recorded as having been graduated and having received the degree as of the date of Commencement but does not receive the diploma until the next time diplomas are customarily awarded — October 2015.
Academic costume will be worn during the Commencement Exercises.Academic costume will be worn during the Commencement Exercises. The tassel of the tam or cap is worn to the left by a candidate who already has a degree.
Candidates will assemble at 10:30 a.m. facing Huntley Hall (the Williams School) in two files in alphabetical order: Two faculty marshals will check attendance in their respective files. The LL.M. candidate followed by the Juris Doctor candidates with last names beginning with A through K will form with Professor Kish Vinayagamoorthy on the sidewalk nearest to the Colonnade (behind Newcomb Hall), extending north toward Washington Hall; Juris Doctor candidates with last names beginning with L through Z form with Professor Victoria Shannon on the sidewalk nearest to Reid Hall, extending north toward Leyburn Library.
The lines step off at 10:55, the files are led by the faculty marshals down the sidewalk toward Huntley Hall and then between Morris House and Lee-Jackson House, left in front of Morris House, and across the front campus to Newcomb Hall on the Colonnade. When halted by the marshal, the candidates will face in and open ranks, allowing the Platform Party and Faculty to march through the open ranks of candidates. Led by marshals and bagpipers, the candidates will then follow the Faculty, banners, and flags to the appropriate seating area.
Each candidate will stand in front of the seat with his/her name on it. Candidates will wear their caps throughout the Exercises except during the Invocation. When the person preparing to give the Invocation removes his or her cap at the beginning of the Exercises, all men do likewise; women may leave their caps on. Similarly, all candidates will replace their caps when the person delivering the invocation does.
In case of rain, the Exercises will be held in Warner Center. Candidates will gather for the processional on the 500 level of the gymnasium (the balcony) at 10:30 a.m. The LL.M. candidate and the J.D. candidates with last names beginning A through K will form in the right hallway, with Professor Vinayagamoorthy facing the Warner Center gym and headed toward the Doremus offices; L through Z will form in the left hallway with Professor Shannon headed toward the indoor track entrance and Sports Information Office. At 11:00 a.m., candidates will follow the Marshals down the appropriate stairs to the 400 level, through the gymnasium to their seats. Candidates should remain standing until the end of the invocation.
Conferring of Degrees: Dean Demleitner will request the candidates to rise and after they are standing, will present them to President Ruscio. The president will confer the degree. All candidates will remain standing and come forward in alphabetical order as directed by the marshals. Each will be hooded by Professors Joan Shaughnessy and J.D. King before proceeding on to the stage. After receiving the diploma, each graduate will return to his/her chair and will remain standing. When all graduates have returned to their seats, the dean will instruct the graduates to be seated.
After the Commencement Exercises, beginning at about 1:00 p.m. on Commencement day, a picnic lunch will be available for graduating law students, their families, friends, and faculty on the Law School Lawn (rain plan in the Student Pavilion).
Students who have not already done so should report immediately to the Law Records Office the addresses at which they will be receiving mail in June 2015.
Congratulations - and enjoy the ceremonies.
The following instructions will help the graduation ceremonies move smoothly. Please read them carefully, in advance. Here's a map, too.
Important: by University regulations, a diploma is not awarded with the class to a candidate for a degree who fails to attend the Commencement Exercises, unless excused in advance by formal action of the Faculty Executive Committee. A student who without an approved excuse does not participate in the Commencement Exercises is recorded as having received the degree as of the date of Commencement but does not receive the diploma until the next time diplomas are customarily awarded — October 2015.
The Class of 2015 photo will be taken at Senior Night on Monday, May 25. If the weather that evening doesn't allow, then the picture is re-scheduled for Wednesday morning, May 27 at 9:15 a.m., in the Cohen Amphitheater between Elrod University Commons and Leyburn Library. Parent Alumni and Grads photos will be taken Thursday morning, May 28, at 8:45 a.m. between Lee House and Lee-Jackson House on the front campus.
The Baccalaureate Service will be held on the Front Lawn in front of Lee Chapel on Wednesday, May 27, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Students should assemble on Stemmons Plaza between Newcomb Hall and Reid Hall at 9:30 a.m. This event is an important historical tradition and serves as the practice for the graduation processional. In case of rain, the service will be in VMI's Cameron Hall Gymnasium (#2 on the map) and candidates will line up on the lower level of Cameron.
The Commencement Exercises will be held on the Front Lawn near Lee Chapel on Thursday, May 28, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Students should assemble on Stemmons Plaza behind Robinson Hall at 9:30 a.m. In case of rain, the service will be in VMI's Cameron Hall Gymnasium (#2 on the map) and candidates will line up on the lower level of Cameron.
Academic costume is worn on both occasions. Students may wear only approved regalia and may not carry "props" or water bottles. Water is provided under your seat on the front lawn. Students who plan to carry purses should leave them with family members ahead of time or wear them under their robes. The tassel to the cap is worn to the right, except by a candidate who already has a collegiate degree. All graduates should shift the tassel from the right to the left as they as they come off the stage, after having received the diploma.
If the weather is clear, candidates will assemble for both Baccalaureate and Commencement Exercises at 9:30 a.m. as follows:
One long single file of those graduands receiving a B.S. or B.A. from the Williams School. Faculty marshals Christine Clancy (Physical Education), Jenefer Davies (Theater and Dance), and Haley Sigler (Teacher Education) will be assisted by several student marshals to help you find your place in line. The line begins as two with the B.A. graduands processing before the B.S. graduands.
- B.A. candidates with first-listed majors in the Williams School forming alphabetically at the "BA-Williams" sign behind Newcomb Hall, near Huntley Hall, extending north toward Washington Hall.
- B.S. with Special Attainments in Commerce candidates lined up alphabetically at the sign saying "BS-Williams" next to Washington Hall, extending north toward duPont.
The other long single file consists of The College B.S. and B.A. candidates. Faculty marshals Lynn Chin (Sociology & Anthropology), Nathan Feldman (Mathematics), and Chris Schall (Physical Education) will be assisted by several student marshals to help you find your place in line.
- B.S. candidates with first-listed majors in The College lined up alphabetically at the sign saying "BS-College" behind Reid Hall near Huntley Hall and extending toward Leyburn Library.
- B.A. candidates with first-listed majors in The College lined up alphabetically at the sign saying "BA-College" near the Leyburn Library bridge, behind Washington Hall, extending north past the science center toward duPont Hall.
Students receiving two degrees should line up and march at the appropriate place in the first group with which they will receive a degree, typically one of the groups of B.S. candidates.
If you have any question about which line you belong in, please check with the University Registrar's Office, especially the list posted outside the office. The order of march is determined by your most recent declaration of major and degree.
View the outdoor line-up diagram.
When you arrive at the line-up site, try to get into your approximate position in the line and stay there. Please leave space for latecomers and cooperate with the marshals in their efforts to help things go smoothly. The unavoidable confusion will be enough for the day; please do not be among the late or missing. Diplomas are handed out in the order of your line-up. You only graduate once and you probably want to receive the correct diploma. The marshals take attendance before the procession begins in order to ensure the correct distribution of diplomas. Be sure you are in your place on time. After each file is formed, the student marshals report on attendance to the faculty marshal and then take their own proper places in the file.
On both days, the Lee Chapel bell rings at 10:00 a.m. Each file is led by a faculty marshal. Graduates will follow the marshals down the sidewalk between Morris House and Lee-Jackson House, left in front of Morris House, and across the front campus to Newcomb Hall on the Colonnade. When halted by the faculty marshal, the candidates will face in and open ranks, allowing the Platform Party and Faculty to march through the open ranks of candidates. Led by faculty marshals, the candidates will then follow the Faculty, banners, and flags to the appropriate seating area.
In case the ground in front of Lee Chapel is saturated or if rain (not drizzle) is falling (and only as a last resort), graduates will assemble for Baccalaureate or for Commencement on the lower level of VMI's Cameron Hall. Enter through the front doors from Main Street, go left inside the door, and down the first set of stairs. Faculty marshals and others will provide directions and assistance. Please be in the building at the assigned spot no later than 9:30 am.
At the Baccalaureate Service, the candidates stand in front of the chairs which are unlabeled. When the University Chaplain removes his cap at the beginning of the service, all men do likewise; women may leave their caps on. Do not replace your cap until the end of the service. You will have bottled water under your chair.
At the Commencement Exercises, the candidates stand in front of the chair labeled with their names. Candidates wear their caps throughout the exercises except during the Invocation when all men remove their caps. Women may leave their caps on. You will have bottled water under your chair.
Conferring of Degrees: Degrees are conferred in the following order: B.S. with Special Attainments in Commerce; B.A. with first-listed major in the Williams School; B.S. with first-listed major in The College; B.A. with first-listed major in The College. Each dean requests the candidates in the appropriate degree group to rise. When the candidates are standing, the dean presents them to President Ruscio. The president confers the degree and the candidates then come forward in alphabetical order. Each candidate faces the president while receiving the diploma, taking the document with the left hand while accepting the president's congratulations with the right hand. After receiving the diploma, graduates return to their chairs and remain standing. When all graduates in the group have returned to their chairs, the entire group is seated.
The 18 students receiving two degrees should line up and march in the first group with which they will receive a degree. After receiving the first diploma, the candidates should walk directly to the section where the second degree group is seated and sit in the chairs labeled with their names. The candidates then come forward when their second group is called to receive a second diploma.
The ceremony ends after the president's concluding remarks, without a formal recessional.
Please help maintain the dignity of our celebration together by delaying any toasts until after the end of the ceremony.