Schedule & Tickets FAQ
- What happens to outside events if it rains?
- Are there any events on Friday that families/guests need to attend?
- What is the Service of Celebration for the Graduates on Saturday? Is it mandatory?
- Can parents attend the Candlelight Ceremony and the Senior Class Reception on Saturday night?
- What time do the doors open on Sunday morning at William and Mary Hall?
- Will families be able to watch the Walk Across Campus and make it to William and Mary Hall in time for the Commencement ceremony?
- Will there be food and drinks available at the ceremonies on Sunday?
- What is the difference between the main ceremony and the 2:30 p.m. departmental ceremony on Sunday?
- Is there shuttle service provided from the main ceremony at William and Mary Hall to the 2:30 p.m. departmental programs?
- What time is everything over on Sunday (especially for those trying to make dinner reservations that evening)?
- What time do students have to be out of the residence halls?
- Can a student get more than his/her allotted number of tickets to the Commencement Ceremony?
- Do young children need a ticket if they will sit on someone's lap?
- Does the 2:30 p.m. departmental diploma presentation ceremony limit the number of guests as well?
Do you have another question? Contact the [[w|studentaffairs, Office of Student Affairs]] by email or phone (757-221-1236).
If a Commencement weekend event might be affected by inclement weather, a rain plan location (or a notice of cancellation) will be listed in the official schedule of events. Should we need to implement any of our rain plans for the weekend, an announcement to that effect will be posted on the Special Events Information Line, 757-221-3868.
Students who are being initiated into Phi Beta Kappa will invite guests to be a part of their Initiation ceremony and banquet on Friday evening. The Senior Class dance scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday is intended for students and their dates.
The Service of Celebration for the Graduates is a multi-faith worship service planned by the Senior Class and Campus Minstries United (a group that represents major faith traditions). The service consists of music, readings, and prayers, as well as an address by an invited speaker. The event is not mandatory, but it is well-attended each year by graduating students and their families.
Family and friends are welcome to attend the Candlelight Ceremony and the Senior Class Reception on Saturday night. Please note, however, that the Candlelight Ceremony is a stand-up event and chairs are not provided. In the event of rain, the Candlelight Ceremony will be held under a tent in the Sunken Garden, with the available space going to graduating seniors first. The Candlelight Reception will be canceled in the event of rain.
Doors open two hours before the scheduled start of the ceremony.
Will families be able to watch the Walk Across Campus and make it to William and Mary Hall in time for the Commencement ceremony?
If family members would like to see the Walk Across Campus, we recommend that at least one person from their party stay at William and Mary Hall to save seats.
Yes, concessions will be sold in William and Mary Hall before the main ceremony. Concession windows will close shortly before the ceremony begins. Water fountains are also available on all levels of the building. Most departmental diploma ceremonies include light refreshments.
What is the difference between the main Commencement ceremony and the 2:30 departmental ceremonies on Sunday?
The main ceremony is the primary Commencement exercise, and all degrees are officially conferred upon graduates by the President during that ceremony. The main ceremony includes remarks from the President of the College, the Commencement speaker, the student speaker, the granting of several awards and the general conferral of degrees. Graduates will be recognized in groups by degree or undergraduate major. The 2:30 p.m. ceremony is a more intimate setting for each department to recognize students individually. Most students will receive their diplomas at this time.
Is there shuttle service provided from the main ceremony at William and Mary Hall to the 2:30 p.m. departmental programs?
No. With nearly 30 separate ceremonies taking place around our largely pedestrian campus, a shuttle service would not be efficient. The Commencement Committee has scheduled enough time between the main ceremony and departmental ceremonies for faculty, graduates and guests to make their way from W&M Hall to the various diploma presentation sites. Those people with state-issued handicapped tags can park their vehicles in any one of the designated areas for handicapped parking around the campus. The College and local community share a bus transit system with stops throughout Williamsburg and across campus. Families might find this public transportation system convenient. For details of the routes, please visit the Williamsburg Area Transport website.
What time is everything over on Sunday (especially for those trying to make dinner reservations that evening)?
We expect that all Commencement Weekend events will be done no later than 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, and many small departments will conclude their diploma ceremonies before that time. Given the traffic in Williamsburg, and the time needed for taking photos, saying good-byes, etc., a 6:00 p.m. (or later) dinner reservation is recommended.
Graduating seniors must turn in their residence hall keys by 12:00 noon on the Monday following Commencement. If you have any additional questions about moving out of the halls, please contact the Office of Residence Life at 757-221-4314.
In order to ensure the safety of our graduates and guests, we have to limit the number of tickets each student receives. Any tickets left after the Commencement registration period ends will be made available to degree candidates through an online application in the spring. Students may also ask their friends to share any extra tickets they may have. Please note that the buying or selling of Commencement tickets is prohibited by the College.
Remember that the W&M Hall ceremony is one of the few Commencement events that requires tickets. Most other activities on Commencement Weekend -- including the Baccalaureate Service, the picnic lunch, the Alumni Induction Ceremony, the Candlelight Ceremony, and most departmental diploma presentation programs and receptions -- are open to any number of guests. (Note of exception: Some departmental diploma ceremonies may require tickets.) If students are unable to secure enough tickets to the main ceremony, we encourage them to invite those who cannot attend the W&M Hall ceremony to meet them at their diploma presentation ceremony. This has worked well for families in the past, especially when there are young children or older relatives who really would prefer not to sit through the main ceremony, but do want to see the graduate receive his/her diploma at the more intimate departmental event.
Children ages two and under are allowed to sit on someone's lap and do not need a ticket.
Some academic departments have a limit on the number of guests who can attend, particularly in the event of rain. Degree candidates are encouraged to ask their major department about any restrictions that would affect guests attending the diploma presentation ceremonies.