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When is fall commencement?

Fall commencement is Friday, Dec. 15. The University Commencement (undergraduate) ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. The Graduate School ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. Both are held in Cassell Coliseum.

The 2024 spring University Commencement will be Friday, May 10, 2024.

What can I expect during the ceremony?

Ceremonies are expected to last around two hours. The University Commencement ceremony will include remarks from President Tim Sands, a student speaker, and a keynote speaker. Degrees will be conferred. The Graduate School commencement ceremony will include remarks from President Tim Sands, Dean Surprenant, and several student speakers.

Both fall ceremonies will offer graduates a chance to hear their name called and walk across the stage. Graduates will be able to fill out a card at the ceremony with the phonetic spelling of their name to be read as they walk across the stage.

When should I arrive at the ceremony?

Doors will open an hour before each ceremony for families, friends, and guests of graduates to enter Cassell Coliseum. Please note metal detectors will now be in use at all guest entrances. Guests will be able to walk through the metal detectors without having to take things out of their pockets. Clear bag policy is still in effect.

Graduates should arrive an hour before each ceremony and should enter Cassell Coliseum at the Merryman Center entrance. Directional signs will be posted. Metal detectors will be in place at entrances and graduates are advised to limit what they bring in with them. There is no storage area for bags or coats. Each ceremony will start promptly. Graduates that arrive after the ceremony begins may not be permitted into the ceremony. During the University Commencement graduates will be seated by college, first come, later arrival may result in graduates seating in back or overflow seating and not with college. Graduates are advised to arrive with whom they would like to sit next to within their college.

What if there is inclement weather?

The fall commencement ceremonies are held indoors. If inclement weather does affect a ceremony information will be shared on the homepage.

Will the clear bag policy be in effect for commencement?

Yes, the clear bag policy will be in effect. Attendees are permitted to bring one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon, clear, re-sealable plastic storage bag per person. 

Flowers are allowed.

No wrapped presents or other bags will be allowed inside, including gift bags. All items, including clear bags, are subject to search at all commencement venues. No items can be left or stored at the doors/gates.

Metal detectors will be in use at all guest/student entry points into Cassell Coliseum. Guests and students will be able to walk through the metal detectors without having the hassle of taking things out of their pockets.

A list of prohibited items can be found online.

Do friends and family need tickets to attend commencement?

At this time tickets are not required and there is no limit on guests. Please note seating is first come. Graduates will be seated by college. 

If you have guests from out of the country who needs an invitation letter for a U.S. visa, please contact the Registrar's Office at or 540-231-6252.

How can graduates prepare for commencement?

  • Apply for your degree via Hokie Spa.
  • Update your mailing address so your diploma is shipped to right location.
  • Use #HokieGrad to share your photos and be included in the ceremony.
  • Order your cap and gown online. For questions, contact the University Bookstore at: 540-231-5991 or
  • Check out the FAQ's below and be on the lookout for communications regarding commencement.
  • Arrive on time for the ceremony.

What should graduates wear to commencement?

Graduates must wear a cap and gown to participate in commencement. Regalia can be purchased online

For questions, contact the University Bookstore at: 540-231-5991 or

How do I get my cords?

Cord distribution is managed by the organization that has implemented a specific cord. For questions about particular cords, please reach out to the sponsoring organization.

How do I purchase honor sashes?

Honor sashes can be purchased in person at the University Bookstore, Volume 2 Bookstore, or online at the Hokie Shop.

Can I bring in food? Will concessions be available?

Attendees and graduates may only bring in a factory sealed bottle of water. Concessions will be available at one stand on the West and East side and the Hethwood Market location, but payment will be credit card only, no cash. Available concession may include: Hot Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Water, Sodas, Breakfast sandwiches, Danishes, Hot Dogs, Pretzels, Nachos, and Snacks such as candy, popcorn, peanuts.

Where can I meet my graduate or family after the ceremony?

Graduates and guests are asked to exit promptly after each ceremony in order for the staff to clean up and prepare for the next ceremony. Graduates are required to exit through the tunnel and Merryman Center entrance. Guests will not be allowed onto the Cassell floor. Graduates and guests can meet up outside of Cassell Colliseum. Graduates and guests are asked not to block roadways and not block others from arriving for the next ceremony.

Will the commencement ceremonies be live streamed?  

Yes, all ceremonies will be livestream. Visit the Virginia Tech home page or to view the ceremonies. 

I need an accommodation and/or someone in my family will require a special accommodation, who should I contact?

Requests for accommodations for guests attending the Graduate School or the University Commencement ceremonies must be made to the Office of Equity and Accessibility at least two weeks before the ceremony. If a family needs a parking pass for those needing help, the student must go to the Service for Disability office at Lavery Hall suite 310 or call (540) 231-3788.

For additional information concerning accessibility and disability accommodations, contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).

ADA parking will be available in the Cassel Lot/Lot 1. An ADA placard or parking pass from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is required to park in this lot. For questions about ADA parking call (540) 231-2010. 

What is included on graduation announcements?

Students choose what they want to include in announcements. Announcements can be purchased onlineA list of degrees are available online.

How can I get the photo of me walking across the stage?

GradImages will take photos on the stage and a head shot off stage and will email graduates who provided an email address to purchase photos.

Only the photos taken by GradImages will be sent to students. 

If you have any questions regarding these photos, contact GradImages at and or (800) 261-2576  or

I’ve purchased my cap and gown, but I’d like to return them. How does that process work?

Caps and gowns can be returned minus the cost of shipping. Packages must be sealed, and they must be returned prior to graduation.   

If you purchased a cap and gown online for pickup, please contact the bookstore to process your return. You can email to request a refund for any online orders.  

Customers with specific questions may contact the bookstore by phone, email, or send a message directly from the return policy page. The University Bookstore can be reached at (540) 231-5991 or email The address to ship returns is 115 Kent St., Blacksburg, VA 24061.

How will I get my diploma?

All undergraduate and Graduate School diplomas will be mailed to graduating students as soon as possible. Diplomas will no longer be available for pick-up in person.
If your diploma mailing address is a Blacksburg residence, please email to confirm this. Without confirmation your diploma will not be ordered.
Diplomas will only be ordered if a diploma mailing address has been provided. Please update your diploma mailing address by following these instructions:

  • Log into HokieSpa:
  • Go to the HokieSpa Tab
  • Click the Graduation Menu
  • Select Undergraduate (or Graduate) Student Degree Menu
  • Click Add/Update Diploma Address
  • Click Add/Update

Students living in the United States will receive their diploma within two weeks once the email with tracking information is issued. Students living outside the United States should allow up to eight weeks for international shipments.

Certified Electronic Diplomas (CeDiploma) may be available prior to receiving your printed diploma. You will be notified via email when your CeDiploma is available to order with instructions on how to order it.  

If you need verification immediately following graduation, you may request a certified letter or order your official transcripts through HokieSpa.

For undergraduate students with questions about the diploma mailing process, please contact Rebecca Jones at

For Graduate School students with questions about the diploma mailing process, please contact Graduate Admissions and Academic Progress at

I want to frame my diploma, what size is it?

Undergraduate diplomas are 13.5” x 15.5”. Graduate School diplomas are 11” X 14” with the exception of Biomedical Engineering at 13.5" x 15.5".

What local lodging options are available for commencement?

For fall commencement, on-campus housing for guests is not available.

Guests can also find a directory of lodging options in the area online. For more information please contact the Montgomery County Regional Tourism office at

Will there be RV parking?  

There will be RV parking in the Cage Lot for spring commencement only. More parking information, including a map of parking options can be found online.

Is there shuttle service or other transportation to commencement?

There is no shuttle service available for commencement, but Blacksburg Transit will be operating. For more information visit the BT website.

What are the future dates of commencement?

The University Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Friday mornings. The tentative dates for future University Commencement ceremonies are as follows:

  •  Spring 2024: Friday, May 10, 2024
  • Fall 2024: Friday, Dec. 20, 2024
  • Spring 2025: Friday, May 16, 2025
  • Fall 2025: Friday, Dec. 19, 2025

Don't see the answer to your question here? Please reach out to the Office of Special Events at or 540-231-5027.