Questions about Commencement? Here are some answers

I have been seeing some questions about Commencement from parents on social media, so I thought it might be a good time to provide answers to some frequently asked questions now, even though Commencement is still more than a month away.

If you have questions that aren’t covered in this post, please don’t hesitate to email or visit the Commencement website, which has more information than I’ve included below.

When and where is the undergraduate ceremony?

The undergraduate Commencement ceremony for students receiving undergraduate degrees will take place Saturday, May 20, outside on Wheeler Mall. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. (Information about the ceremony for students receiving graduate degrees can be found on the Commencement website.)

When do students need to arrive on campus?

Graduates are expected to arrive at Willett Hall gymnasium at 8 a.m. in their academic regalia on May 20 to receive instructions and line up. Guests should proceed directly to Wheeler Mall and may not accompany students to line up.

Do guests need tickets to attend Commencement?

No, tickets are not needed. Seating for guests is on a first-come, first-served basis. There usually are lots of people in attendance, so arriving early is a good idea.

Where can guests park?

Commencement parking is available in several locations, some on campus and some off campus.
Central campus parking
Multiple central campus lots will offer both general parking and ample ADA-specific parking. A pdf of a parking map identifying the lot locations is available on the Commencement website.
Off-campus parking
Shuttle service will run loops between two off-campus locations noted below. Those with ADA specific needs should park in a central campus ADA-identified lot as shuttle vehicles are not equipped with lifts.
Sunchase Apartments, 501 Sunchase Blvd., Farmville, VA
Lancer Park, 200 Cormier Drive, Farmville, VA

Will shuttle service to and from campus be available at area hotels?

Guests staying at local hotels are encouraged drive to the shuttle stop at either Lancer Park or Sunchase Apartments. Shuttle pickup and drop-off at hotels is not planned.

What about accessible parking?

Accessible parking is available in multiple lots on campus. Please refer to the parking map on the Commencement website for locations. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis; no reservations are required. Golf carts will be available from the ADA-identified lots for those with accessibility needs in getting to and from the ceremony area.

What if I have other questions related to access or accommodations related to a disability?

If you have questions concerning access or need accommodations related to accessibility, please contact the Accessibility Resources Office at 434-395-2391 or email Accessible parking and seating will be available at a first-come, first-served basis. There is no need to make a reservation.

What is the plan in case of rain or inclement weather?

In the event of extreme conditions, including thunderstorms, tornadoes or other severe weather events, the university will activate the rain/inclement weather plan. The announcement about activating the plan will be made on Friday, if possible, and no later than 6 a.m. on the day of Commencement. Please check the Commencement website or call 434-395-2000 for the latest weather-related information.

What are students required to wear for the ceremony?

Students participating in Commencement must wear a gown, hood and mortarboard of the style and color designated by the university. Students also should wear dark shoes. Regalia can be purchased here. Volunteers will be available in Willett Hall to assist students with putting on their regalia. Students who are not able to purchase regalia can check with Martha Butler ( in the SGA office, which has a limited number of gowns, caps and hoods available to borrow at no cost. Students can also “pass down” their regalia for use by future graduates after the Commencement ceremony at the Info Desk in Upchurch University Center.

Will I be able to purchase photos of my student from the ceremony?

Yes. Professional photographers from Grad Images will take pictures of each graduate during the ceremony. They will have proofs available by July 1 on their website: Graduates and their families are invited to pre-register their contact information to receive notifications at the following link:

What about a video of the ceremony?

Yes, a copy of the Commencement ceremony will be available for purchase on a DVD or Blu-ray. The video can also be downloaded post-ceremony through Memories Videography. You can order here.

Is there a way friends and family can watch the ceremony from a remote location?

Yes, there will be a livestream link available closer to the date of the ceremony. You’ll be able to find it on the Commencement website.

Is there any way I can offer my congratulations to the Class of 2023?

Yes, Longwood is doing something new this year. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and other family members have the opportunity to let graduating seniors know how proud we all are of their achievements and to wish them the best as they begin the next chapter of their lives. For each gift of $20.23, you can write a personal message that will be printed and attached to the back of the chair in front of a graduate. Anyone who gives 5 or more messages (or makes a gift of $100 or more) will be entered in a drawing for exclusive VIP seating at the undergraduate Commencement ceremony. If you’d like to find out more about participating in this show of support or make a gift and create a message, click here. You can participate through April 21.

—Sabrina Brown