All details related to commencement, including number of guests permitted and other event day operations, are subject to change based on Commonwealth of Virginia directives and other COVID-related issues.


Are tickets needed for the Commencement ceremonies? 

YES! The registration form was sent to members of the Class of 2021 and graduate students via email on Friday, April 30. Deadline to submit guest names is Thursday, May 6. 

Tickets are limited to up to three guests per graduate and are required for guests to enter the field. The graduates do not need a ticket; they will check in with the faculty marshals at the tennis courts upon arrival.   

Tickets will be emailed to the graduate in advance. Graduates will be responsible for giving tickets to their guests prior to the event.  All guests must have a printed ticket in order to be admitted and all three guests must arrive and check in together. 

We recognize how important commencement is for our graduates, and we know that three tickets can be limiting for some families. However, in order to have an in-person ceremony we have to uphold the COVID-19 safety restrictions for physical distancing and other measures. Therefore, there are no exceptions to the three ticket limit for each graduate and no extra tickets are available for the commencement ceremony.

Will there be a rehearsal?

No.  All graduates will report to the tennis courts by no later than 9:15 a.m. the morning of the ceremony for the processional lineup.  Please be sure to bring all regalia with you.

Can I choose my guests’ seats? 

No. Seats are assigned randomly. 

Can I watch the ceremonies online? 

We will have a live broadcast of the ceremony that is available to everyone via the Hollins University website and the university’s social media channels.  We will have the link for that posted to we get closer to the date. 

What kind of seating is on the practice field? 

Groups of up to three guests per graduate will be seated together in pods with 3 chairs in the pod. Each pod will be ten feet apart from other pods.  We are unable to accommodate split seating or adjust the location of seats in a group of three. Ticket exchange is not permitted as we need to have all guests who are in attendance to be registered with their party. 

What about inclement weather? 

Commencement will be held rain or shine so please be prepared for all weather conditions.  This could mean ground saturation from previous rain that causes mud on the field. In the event of severe inclement weather, we may delay the start time of the ceremonies. We will use HU Alerts and the college website to relay any changes on the morning of the ceremonies.  

Where should I park?

All students (residential, commuter, graduate) are asked to park in the East Lot. Full details can be found on the Seating and Parking page.  We strongly encourage all guests to review the parking and seating information prior to coming to campus so they are familiar with the event space and where their seating pod is located on the athletic field. 

What can I bring to the ceremony? 

Graduates and guests should be prepared for all weather conditions as weather in Virginia can be unpredictable in May.  Some items to consider bringing are: 

  • Sunscreen 
  • Rain jacket or poncho 
  • Personal sized umbrella 

Each graduate and guest will have a bottle of water placed under their seat. No other food or beverage is permitted; absolutely no alcoholic beverages are permitted. 

Can graduates wear high heels? 

We kindly ask that all graduates wear flats or wedges in order to minimize the risks of accidental falls and injuries. Graduates will be processing from the tennis courts onto the grass athletic field, which is uneven in many areas. 

What should guests wear? 

Guests should dress comfortably, including appropriate footwear for a grass field, and be prepared for Virginia temperatures. Please check the weather forecasts for the day. 

Will graduates receive their diploma at the ceremony?

No, graduates will be given an empty diploma cover that is theirs to keep before they cross the stage.  Diplomas will be mailed to graduates at a later date once all grades are entered by professors and the Registrar’s office finalizes their graduation requirements.  It is very important that all graduates have the correct address on file to ensure that their diplomas and any awards they may receive are shipped to the correct address.  Please email registrar@hollins.edu with any address changes. 


We ask that our graduates and guests respect the ceremony and all the people involved. In keeping with decorum and tradition, we ask that guests adhere to the following guidelines:  

  • Please remain in your seats during the ceremony; 
  • Confetti, balloons and noisemakers are not permitted at the ceremony or the stands; 
  • No alcohol; 
  • No animals except for registered service animals; 
  • No smoking. 

Please continue to visit this page frequently in the weeks ahead for updates and more details as we get closer to the ceremony date.