Commencement FAQ

December and August Graduates

When is the December VCUarts ceremony?

The ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 2 pm. Doors will open at 1 pm for guests and family. Students, faculty and guests should arrive at 1:30 pm in room E24 for lineup.

What is the location of the December VCUarts ceremony?

The ceremony will be at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 North 3rd Street, Richmond, Virginia.

I am an August graduate. Which ceremony do I attend, May or December?

It is preferred that you attend the December ceremony as an official graduate of VCUarts. August graduates may attend the previous May ceremony as a “walker” only if they have six or fewer credits to take to complete degree requirements over the summer. You must send an email to Jody Symula at if you fit the credit criteria and wish to walk in the May ceremony. Being a walker means that you walk across the stage and have your name called like May graduates, but your name will not be printed in the May program. All August grads are welcome to attend the December ceremony as official graduates and their names will be printed in the December program.

Who is the December graduation speaker?

Ashley E. Hawkins (BFA 2007, MPA 2012), co-founder and executive director of Studio Two Three.

Will my name be listed in the program?

All August graduates will be printed in the December program. If you applied to graduate in December, your name will be printed in the December VCUarts program, provided you checked out on eServices on or before the deadline as stated in the academic calendar. Please contact your departmental advisor for questions.

What time should deans, faculty and students arrive?

Those participating in the ceremony should arrive at 1:30 pm in room E24 for lineup. Students and faculty will proceed to lineup while guests find a seat in the hall.

What time should my family, friends and I arrive?

Doors to the ceremony will open at 1 pm for guests and family. Lineup for students and faculty starts at 1:30 pm in room E24.

Do I need tickets for the December VCUarts commencement? Is there a limit to how many people I can invite?

The VCUarts ceremony requires tickets for admission. Each student may pick up a maximum of eight guest tickets.

Tickets will be available in the Dean’s Office (Pollak Building, Room 201) from November 20 through December 8. The Dean’s Office hours are from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Additional details or changes about ticket pickup will be communicated from

Do I need to do anything to be included in the School of the Arts Ceremony?

No, if you have successfully submitted your graduation application to your department by the deadline stated in the academic calendar, you are automatically included.

Do I have to attend both the December University and December VCUarts commencement?

No, you may attend one, both, or neither.

Do I need to wear a cap and gown at the December VCUarts ceremony?

Yes, a cap and gown are required for graduating students. Graduating students may not attend without proper regalia. Please visit the University Commencement website for more information on the cost of regalia and pickup time and location.

Will my name be called when I walk across the stage?

Yes. All students who attend the VCUarts ceremony will have their name called when they walk across the stage. Graduates will complete a reader card at lineup registration in room E24. Keep this card with you and present it to the associate onstage. Photo Specialties will send proof images of you receiving your diploma to the address you provide on the reader card.[

Where do I find information for the December University commencement on Saturday?

You can find out everything that you need to know about the University commencement here. (December graduation information will be updated the start of the fall semester)

Will there be food available?

There will be light snacks available for students and those participating in the ceremony when you lineup.  However, it is strongly encouraged that all guests and students have lunch before the ceremony.

Which VCUarts majors participate in the December VCUarts ceremony?

  • Art Education
  • Art History
  • Cinema
  • Communication Arts
  • Craft/Material Studies
  • Dance + Choreography
  • Fashion Design + Merchandising
  • Graphic Design
  • Interior Design
  • Kinetic Imaging
  • Music
  • Painting + Printmaking
  • Photography + Film
  • Sculpture + Extended Media
  • Theatre

What do I do once I arrive?

Parents, family and guests will take a seat in the exhibition hall upon arrival. Students will meet in room E24 at 1:30 pm for lineup.  Students will get a name card when they arrive. This card will be used to call your name when you walk across the stage.

Will there be an opportunity for my family and friends to take pictures?

Photo Specialties will be taking professional photos of graduates as they cross and descend the stage. Additionally, there is an area roped-off near the stage for family members and friends to take photos.

If I graduate with Latin honors, will VCUarts provide me with cords?

No, however this distinction will be indicated on your diploma and on your transcript.

I am an August graduate. How do I get my diploma?

The release of diplomas is handled by Records and Registration. For information on diplomas please visit the commencement ceremony website.

Will I get my diploma at the VCUarts ceremony?

No. All graduates and ‘walkers’ will be handed a prop diploma on the stage. Diplomas selected for pickup will be available in the Harris Hall Student Services Center, 1015 Floyd Ave., Room 1100, during office hours. Office hours are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. If a third party plans to pick up your diploma, you must provide an authorization notification to the Graduation Office via email ( 24 hours prior to the pickup.

What if I have more questions?

The School of the Arts takes great pride in recognizing its graduates. If you have any questions or need more information, please call the Dean’s Office at (804) 828-2787.

Previous Commencement Speakers

Michael Hearst (May 2017)
Noah Scalin (Dec. 2016)
Jarvis Jefferson (May 2016)
John Paolini (Dec. 2015)
Anne Holton (May 2015)
Eric Booth (Dec. 2014)
Andy Stefanovich (May 2014)
Stephen Nachmanovitch (Dec. 2013)
Teresita Fernández (2013)