Commencement FAQ

May Graduates

When is the May VCUarts ceremony?

The May 2017 VCUarts ceremony will be held on Saturday May 13.

Where is the location of the May VCUarts ceremony?

The May 2017 VCUarts ceremony will be held at the Altria Theater, 6 North Laurel Street, Richmond V.a.

Who will be the May VCUarts Commencement speaker?

The Commencement Keynote speaker will be Michael Hearst (B.F.A. ’95), composer, multi-instrumentalist and writer. You can read his bio here.

What time should my family, friends and I arrive at the VCUarts commencement?

Doors to the ceremony will open at 1 p.m. for guests and family.  Line up for students and faculty starts at 1:30 p.m.

What time should faculty arrive?

Line up for students and faculty starts at 1:30 p.m.

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

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

Passes will be available in the Dean’s Office (Pollak Building, Room 201) starting on Monday, April 10. The Dean’s Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Additional details or changes about pass pickup will be communicated from artsceremony@vcu.edu.

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

You can attend both, one, or neither; it is completely optional.

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 need to wear a cap and gown at the May VCUarts ceremony?

Yes, you may not participate in the ceremony without proper regalia. Information on how to obtain regalia has been emailed to you from the University, but it is also available at the Commencement website.

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

You can find out everything that you need to know about the University commencement here.

Is the May VCUarts ceremony wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the Altria Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Please go here to learn more.

Will there be food available?

There will be light refreshments available to students in the line-up room.

Which VCUarts majors participate in the May VCUarts commencement ceremony?

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

Where should we park?

There will be complimentary parking at the West Main Street deck, located between Main and Laurel streets.

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

All May graduates and walkers will have their names called, walk across the stage and be congratulated by your chair and the dean.

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.

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.

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 beginning on Monday, June 12. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 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 (rar@vcu.edu) 24 hours prior to the pickup. Diplomas not picked up by June 23 will be mailed starting June 26. Diplomas selected for mailing will be mailed beginning June 13.

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 about the VCUarts ceremony, please call the Dean’s Office at (804) 828-2787.  If you have questions about the University ceremony on Saturday, please call the Graduation Office at (804) 828-1917.

Cinema Graduates

Cinema graduates completing their degree requirements in August may attend the previous May VCUarts ceremony as a walker, or the December VCUarts ceremony as a graduate. You must send an email to Jody Symula at jlsymula@vcu.edu if you wish to walk in the May ceremony. Being a walker means that you walk across the stage and have your name called, but it will not be printed in the program.

Please read all FAQs at the appropriate tab to the left to learn more information.

Will my name be in the VCUarts program?

If you officially graduate in May, your name will be printed in the May VCUarts program. If you officially graduate in August or December, your name will be printed in the December VCUarts program.

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 stage, whether they are a walker or an official graduate.

August and December Graduates

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 less credits to take to complete degree requirements over the summer. You must send an email to Jody Symula at jlsymula@vcu.edu 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.

When is the December VCUarts ceremony?

The ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 2 p.m. Students, faculty and guests should arrive at 1:30 p.m.

What is the location of the December VCUarts ceremony?

The ceremony will be at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, Exhibition Hall D, 403 North 3rd Street, Richmond, V.a.

Who is the December graduation speaker?

The December 2017 graduation speaker will be announced in the fall of 2017.

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, pending 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 p.m.  Students, deans and faculty will proceed to line-up while guests will find a seat in the hall.

Do I need tickets for the December VCUarts commencement?

Yes, tickets will be required for the event. Each student may receive a maximum of eight tickets. There will not be a waiting list. Tickets may be picked up with a student ID from the VCUarts Dean’s Office, room 201 Pollak between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tickets will be available between November 14 and December 9.

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.

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 line up.  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
  • MIS Program
  • 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 proceed to to line-up.  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 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.

I am a December graduate. Will I get my diploma at the December ceremony?

No. All graduates and ‘walkers’ will be handed a prop diploma on the stage. Actual diplomas will be available for pickup in the Harris Hall Student Services Center, 1015 Floyd Avenue, room 1100 during office hours in January. Please visit the commencement website for specifics. If a third party plans to pick up your diploma, you must notify the Graduation Office at 804 828-1917 on the same day to authorize the pickup. Diplomas not picked up will be mailed unless otherwise stated on the graduation application. Questions? Call the Graduation Office (804) 828-1917.

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. Alternately, you may email artsceremony@vcu.edu with questions.

Previous Commencement Speakers

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)