News & Events

Posted March 9, 2011
Class of 2011 Graduation
Sunday, May 22



Students' guests will need tickets to sit in the family-designated seats for the University-wide Lawn Ceremony, and each graduate will receive three; there are also seats and standing room available towards the rear of the Lawn for any additional guests who wish to attend. If the weather is good, no tickets will be required for the Law School ceremony, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. In the event of rain, tickets will be required for the Law School ceremony. 


Saturday, May 21

4–7 p.m. Reception for graduates and their families, Spies Garden and Caplin Pavilion

The reception will be open to all family members and friends. RSVPs for this event are not required and everyone in town for the festivities is welcome. Dress will be “summer cocktail attire.” Members of the faculty and administration will join as we celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2011. The Law School Foundation is generously subsidizing this event. There will be heavy hors d’oeuvres and a live quartet. The reception occurs, rain or shine.

Sunday, May 22 (Good Weather)

8–9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast, East Range between Rotunda Alley and Green Alley

A light breakfast will be provided on the East Range; this is on the far side of the Lawn, toward the Medical School. Detailed directions will be provided. The area will be roped off and marked with signs. This is a great time to put on your caps/gowns and find your friends before the Lawn procession; line-up for the ceremony is at 9:45 a.m. 

9:30 a.m. Line Up for Lawn Ceremony with the class in Rotunda Alley (east side of Lawn, Rotunda end) for the University Ceremony on the Lawn, where law degrees are conferred en masse by President Sullivan. 

The Lawn Ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and ends around 12:30 p.m.  You are very much encouraged to attend the Lawn Ceremony; it is truly a remarkable experience. Following the University Ceremony's conclusion, those attending must return promptly to the Law School for the Law School Ceremony.

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Lawn Ceremony
Following the University Ceremony's conclusion, those attending must return promptly to the Law School for the Law School Ceremony.
1:15-2:45 p.m. Law School Ceremony Begins

Academic Procession

Welcome by Dean Paul G. Mahoney

Announcement of Class Gift and Introduction of Commencement Speaker by Student Bar Association President Chris Martin

Commencement Address by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Announcement of Awards by Dean Paul G. Mahoney

Hooding Ceremony and Presentation of Diplomas
After the Law School Ceremony Return Gowns and Hoods, Holcombe Green Lawn (graduates may keep the cap and tassel)

Light Refreshments, Withers-Brown Hall (near the library), provided by the Law School Foundation

Sunday, May 22 (Severe or Inclement Weather)

The University determines if the "severe" or the "inclement" weather plan will be implemented for Final Exercises. This decision will be made and announced by 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 22, on the Law School website.

In the event the University implements the severe or inclement weather plan, the Law School will move its graduation ceremony indoors, inside the Law School. The Law School events will begin promptly at 1:15 p.m.

Graduates will gather in Caplin Auditorium to hear the address by the featured speaker and the announcement of graduation awards. Up to three guests per graduate may view that portion of the program via a video feed to classrooms and Caplin Pavilion. Tickets will be required. A limited amount of overflow seating in rooms with the video feed will be available for guests without tickets.

The distribution of diplomas will follow in Caplin Auditorium. The graduates will be divided into three groups; the first group's diploma ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m., the second at 3:15 p.m., and the third at 4 p.m. Each graduate may have up to three guests attend his or her ceremony inside the Auditorium. Tickets will be required. Other guests will be able to view the diploma ceremonies via video feed in designated classrooms.

12 p.m. Caplin Auditorium Doors Open for Graduates
1:15-2 p.m. Commencement Main Ceremony
Students will be seated in Caplin Auditorium. Guests with tickets can watch the video in marked locations. Ticketed areas are open following the attorney general’s remarks. Overflow viewing rooms (no tickets required) are also available where marked.
1:45 p.m. Blue Group guests line up in the library
2-2:30 p.m. Break
Graduates leave the auditorium.
  • Blue Group lines up in the hallway outside the auditorium
  • Orange Group and their guests line up in the library (graduates line up no later than 2:30; guests assemble 2:30-2:45)
  • Green Group joins their guests
2:30-2:50 p.m. Blue Group Diploma Ceremony
2:50-3:15 p.m. Break
Green Group and their guests line up in the library (graduates line up no later than 3:15; guests assemble 3:15-3:30)
3:15-3:35 p.m. Orange Group Diploma Ceremony
3:35-4 p.m. Break
4-4:20 p.m. Green Group Diploma Ceremony

For More Information

Dean Steve Hopson and Sherry Morris in the Career Services Office and SBA Graduation Committee members can address specific questions or concerns regarding graduation not discussed here.

Details on the Sunday Ceremonies

At the beginning of the Lawn ceremony, law students march together down the Lawn from the gathering point in Rotunda Alley to seats in front of Cabell Hall, where they will, at an appropriate point in the program, be conferred their degrees en masse. Law students will march down the Lawn in two non-alphabetized lines, each led by two faculty marshals, as part of the University's general processional composed of faculty and graduates from all the schools. The path you will take while marching down the Lawn will be closer to the east side of the Lawn than to the west side.

After the Lawn ceremony, you should proceed immediately to the Law Grounds and find your seat for the Law School ceremony in front of Clay Hall on Holcombe Green Lawn. The seats are arranged alphabetically, and student and staff marshals will be available to assist you. Your name will be taped to the back of your seat. The J.D. graduates are seated first, followed by the joint degree graduates, the LL.M. graduates and the S.J.D. graduates. The Law School ceremony will begin promptly at 1:15 pm, which gives graduates only a short amount of time to get to the Law Grounds from the Lawn ceremony, which typically ends around 12:30. The quickest way will be to proceed west from the Lawn past the Amphitheater to the McCormick Road bus stop in front of Alderman Library, then catch the shuttle to the North Grounds via University Hall which will let you out at the gatehouse in front of Darden. There is no need to change buses at University Hall. Any bus that is loading in the vicinity of Alderman Library will take you to the North Grounds after the Lawn Ceremony.

Once the graduates are in their seats and the faculty has assembled, the faculty will enter the Holcombe Green Lawn area and take their places on the stage. The Colonnades Brass Quintet will provide music for the processional.

Following remarks by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the presentation of graduation awards, the graduates will be hooded and presented with their diplomas. At the appropriate time, student marshals will ask each row of graduates to rise and be hooded by professors just before going on stage. Graduates will be hooded by the first available professor. Dean Hopson will announce each graduate's name and Dean Mahoney will present the diplomas. A professional photographer will be taking pictures of each graduate. After receiving your diploma, graduates should proceed back to your seat while others receive theirs.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates may join friends and family directly. Graduates should return rented gowns and hoods before leaving the Holcombe Green Lawn area. (Graduates may keep the cap and tassel.) Following the ceremony the Law School Foundation will provide light refreshments in Withers-Brown Hall near the library.