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Information for Families & Guests

William & Mary received guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia that is informing our decision-making for Commencement Weekend on May 21-23, 2021. Importantly, the guidance has made it possible for a limited number of family members/guests to attend a graduation ceremony on campus.

The Commencement Committee is working to craft the best possible experience for you and your guests, including holding your graduation ceremony in Zable Stadium. There will continue to be a virtual option for those who cannot be on campus in person. All of our decisions remain contingent on the latest data regarding COVID-19 and the evolving health and safety guidance we receive from the commonwealth. 

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Stay Up to Date

Families may sign-up to receive regular email updates leading up to Commencement Weekend. We will use that information to also keep you updated on any changes or inclement weather during Commencement weekend. You can also review the latest email messages sent to the Class of 2021.

  • Like us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Download the W&M Mobile app and select W&M Grad for easy access to the schedule, parking, information about the main ceremonies, and more.
Need information or have questions?
Commencement Schedule and General Information

Office of Student Affairs
757-221-1236
[[commencement, Commencement Planning Team]]

Graduation/Academic Requirements/Diplomas

University Registrar's Office
[[wendy.urbano, Wendy Urbano]]

Regalia and General Graduation Merchandise

W&M Bookstore
757-221-1669

Tickets

Tickets will be sent to graduates electronically in mid-May. They may then share the tickets with their guests. Each ticket scans only once, so electronic tickets may not be duplicated.

Extra Tickets

Any student who registered to receive extra tickets through the lottery will receive an email on April 29 asking them to indicate the number of tickets they would like to request. Each ceremony will have a different number of lottery tickets based upon current guest counts. We will confirm the number of extra tickets each student will receive no later than Friday, May 7.

Parking
  • Download the MapDownload the 2021 parking map (pdf) to see the following recommended lots and guidelines.
  • Guests should plan to park at the Kaplan Arena lot and walk to Zable Stadium (approximately 5 minute walk). Please plan to move your car within 30 minutes of the end of the ceremony so there is ample parking for the next ceremony.
  • Guests who plan to spend additional time on campus following the ceremony should park at the parking deck on Ukrop Way and walk to Zable Stadium (approximately 10 minute walk).
  • Guests with limited mobility who display either an ADA tag or limited mobility access pass (provided electronically to the graduating student) will be permitted to drop off at the limited mobility entrance to Zable. The driver will then be directed to park in the Zable Stadium parking lot, close to the limited mobility entrance and exit.
  • Recommended lots and directions are also available on the W&M Mobile app when you select W&M Grad.
Mask Requirements
To minimize COVID-19 exposure, guests must follow all W&M guidelines for face coverings, regardless of vaccine status:
  • Wear a face covering while in any indoor space.
  • Wear a face covering while inside Zable Stadium and while waiting in line to enter the stadium.
  • When walking around campus, masks should be worn at all times because you are likely to encounter other students/guests while moving about. If you are sitting or standing outside, face coverings may be removed only if an uninterrupted 6-foot distance can be maintained between you and other individuals.
Prohibited Items for Zable Stadium

The prohibited items list is for the enjoyment and safety of Commencement guests. This list is subject to change as conditions warrant. 

  • Backpacks (exceptions: diaper bags, string backpacks)
  • Bags measuring larger than 1’ x 1’ x 1’
  • Outside food & drink (except for factory sealed non-alcoholic beverages, no larger than one liter; juice boxes, factory sealed infant snacks, and baby food). Concessions will not be served, so please time your meals before and after the ceremony accordingly.
  • Camera Tripods / Monopods / Selfie-Sticks
  • Firearms and other weapons
  • Laptop computers
  • Alcohol, use of any tobacco products, or illegal substances
  • E-cigarettes and vapor apparatuses
  • Noisemakers, laser pointers, balls, Frisbees, inflatable objects
  • Coolers, ice chests
  • Pets
  • Strollers (there will be a stroller parking tent near the entrance)
  • Anything deemed unsafe by police or event staff
Recommended Items for Zable Stadium

Due to the outdoor environment, we encourage guests to bring the following items with them into Zable Stadium.

  • Stadium Seat Backs: A majority of seats in Zable Stadium are bleacher seats, so we encourage guests to bring stadium seats with backs.
  • Water: We STRONGLY recommend guests bring their own factory-sealed water. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all water fountains and community re-fill stations are closed in Zable Stadium. As per state guidelines, we are also not permitted to sell concessions, including water. 
    • You are permitted to bring sealed containers of water or other non-alcoholic beverages (e.g. previously unopened plastic bottles of purified water, soda, gatorade, etc).
    • Each bottle should be 1 liter size or less.
    • For security reasons, guests may NOT bring glass containers or any refillable container or other container that has previously been opened (e.g. Nalgene, thermos, paper or plastic cups, or half-consumed bottles of water).
  • Food for Young Children, Diabetics or Medical Issues: Concessions will not be served, so please time your meals before and after the ceremony accordingly.
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, hats & sunglasses. Most guest seats are not shaded.
  • In Case of Rain:
    • Rain coats
    • Umbrellas are permitted, but please be aware of your surroundings and be respectful of other guests around you.
    • Small hand towels to dry your seat.
Entry

Gates will open one hour before the ceremony start time. We will provide additional information regarding parking, limited mobility accommodations and entry gates. In order to avoid too many guests at any one gate, we will assign entry gates based upon the graduate’s last name. More info to come.

Seating
  • Seating for guests is General Admission.
  • Your guest group may sit together, but each guest group must socially distance themselves from other guest groups (at least 6 feet between groups). 
  • Children 2 and younger do not require a ticket. 
  • Most seats are bleacher style with no back.
Accessibility Accommodations
  • Wheelchair/limited mobility guests will be able to drop-off directly in front of gate 5.
  • Limited mobility seating is on the track, so no stairs are required for limited mobility guests.
  • We will have American Sign Language interpreters at each ceremony. Guests requiring live ASL interpretation should enter at gate 5.
  • Live closed captioning will be available on the ceremony livestreams.
Ceremony Timeline

The ceremony will last approximately two hours. Graduates will cross the stage by major, though graduates will not necessarily cross alphabetically.

Photography

A professional photographer will be on-hand to take pictures of graduating students after they have crossed the stage. Students will receive more information about how to order and purchase their photos.

Exiting the Stadium

At the end of the ceremony, students will process out of the stadium. Once students have exited, we ask all guests to pick up any personal belongings, deposit trash and recycling in the appropriate bins, and exit the stadium as efficiently as possible so that we can prepare for the next ceremony. Guests and students should not congregate immediately outside of the stadium.

We also ask guests parked in Zable and Kaplan lots to please move their vehicles shortly after the ceremony ends so that we can prepare parking for the next ceremony.

Weather
  • Heat: Late May in Williamsburg can be very hot and humid. We recommend guests dress comfortably for the weather. Prepare to be in the sun from the time you arrive until the ceremony is finished. Sunscreen, sunglasses and hats are recommended.
  • Rain: We will hold Commencement rain or shine. Guests should dress appropriately. Umbrellas are permitted, but please be aware of your surroundings and be respectful of other guests around you. If it has been wet, we recommend guests bring their own towels to wipe seats down.
  • Thunder/Lightning: We will move graduates to Kaplan Arena only in the event of the threat of thunder/lightning. If this happens, guests will not be permitted inside Kaplan, but they may watch the ceremony via live stream.
Other Viewing Options

Live-streaming of the main ceremonies for the Class of 2021 will be available.

Class Rings

Class rings may be purchased online at the Jostens website. If you have any questions about class rings, please contact Jostens at 800-854-7464.

Graduation Announcements
  • Generic: W&M graduation announcements may be purchased at the Bookstore beginning in March.
  • Personalized: William & Mary graduation announcements imprinted with an individual's name and degree may be purchased online at the Jostens website. Basic packages start at $95.98. If you have any questions about announcements, please contact the Bookstore at 757-221-1669 or Jostens at 800-854-7464.
Flowers for your Grad

Fresh flowers are available for you to send to your grad. You may browse available products to pre-purchase and reserve your flowers ahead of time. 

Browse Products & Order Flowers