About VWU

2017 Commencement Information

altCongratulations, Class of 2017!

This is the day that you've all been working toward. The information below will serve as your guide to making this day special for you, your family and friends.

2017 Commencement Ceremonies

Virginia Wesleyan College 48th Commencement Ceremony

Saturday, May 20, 2017
11 a.m.
Commencement will be held in the Convocation Center inside the Jane P. Batten Student Center on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan College (Campus Map/Parking). Doors to the Convocation Center will open at 10 a.m.

Commencement Speaker
David R. Goode, nationally recognized philanthropist and retired chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern Corporation


Friday, May 19, 2017
6 p.m.

A Baccalaureate service will take place at Haygood United Methodist Church (4713 Haygood Rd., Virginia Beach) with keynote speaker Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones, a 1980 VWC graduate and senior fellow of the Institute for Faith and Learning at Baylor University. A prelude concert will be held by the SOAR Worship Team and Gospel Choir at 5:30 p.m. and a reception will follow the service. Questions regarding Baccalaureate may be directed to Chaplain Greg West at 757.455.3400 or gwest@vwu.edu.

Commencement Ticket Information
Due to safety specifications, all guests will be required to have a ticket to attend Commencement (infants and small children who are able to sit in the same seat as a ticketed guest will not require a ticket). Up to seven Commencement tickets are available to each graduating senior.

Tickets will be issued to graduating seniors in the Business Office in early May, when students pick up their caps and gowns. Graduates who do not anticipate needing seven tickets are asked to take only the number they need. 

Out of respect for their classmates, graduating seniors are also asked to pick up caps and gowns and tickets promptly so that any extra tickets may be distributed to those students who have submitted requests for additional tickets.

As additional tickets become available, requests will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis as indicated by a log in the Business Office. Graduates will be contacted about the opportunity for additional tickets via email.

Please note: All student account balances, as well as Registrar Office and Financial Aid Office holds must be satisfied prior to receiving a cap, gown and commencement tickets.

Live Stream Information
Commencement will be live streamed and will also be simulcast in Boyd Dining Center for guests on campus during the ceremony. Go to www.vwc.edu/commencement_webcast.

Senior Week Events

Visit the Senior Week Events page or contact the Office of Student Activities at 757.233.8785 for more information.

Important Information For Graduating Seniors

Mandatory Rehearsals

All students intending to participate in the graduation must attend a rehearsal. If it is impossible to do so, it is particularly important that you contact College Marshal Dr. Kathy Merlock Jackson via Kathy Reese at 757-455-3240 or kreese@vwu.edu.

Two rehearsals for commencement exercises are scheduled for your convenience; you need attend only one. The main rehearsal will take place at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17 in the C-MAC of the Jane P. Batten Student Center. The make-up rehearsal will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17 in the C-MAC. You will not need to bring your cap and gown to the rehearsal.

Commencement Day Instructions

Please note that graduates must be in the C-MAC of the Jane P. Batten Student Center no later than 10 a.m. on Commencement Day (Saturday, May 20) to prepare for the procession. Bring your cap and gown to the gym, but do not bring purses or similar items of value. There is no safe place to leave them during the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, graduates and faculty members will process to the C-MAC of the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Diploma pick-up will take place in the C-MAC following Commencement. Graduates may retain their caps and gowns as keepsakes.

Following the ceremony, family and friends of graduates should travel to Boyd Dining Center to meet graduates and enjoy refreshments.

Attire for Graduates

Guidelines for appropriate attire at Commencement have been established by the Commencement Committee in order to maintain the dignity suitable for the occasion and to show respect for the College, its graduates, and their families. Black academic gowns and mortar boards are the dress of the day, complemented by dark skirts, dresses, or dress pants and black dress shoes for women and dark dress pants and black shoes and socks for men. Flip-flops, tennis shoes, bare feet and shorts are unacceptable.

In accordance with the national code on academic regalia, no personal adornments of any kind are to be worn on the cap, gown, or hood. This includes badges, corsages, and lettering of any kind. Religious-based head wear should be a solid dark color.

ALL GRADUATES MUST FOLLOW the College's Commencement Attire Policy, which outlines appropriate Commencement attire including detailed guidelines for academic honor cords, military honor cords, stoles, pins and more.

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns will be available in the Business Office beginning Monday, May 15 once you have cleared your account.  You are requested to pay any account balance you may have due at the Business Office during regular business hours prior to 12 p.m. on Friday, May 19.  Caps and gowns may be kept by the graduates as a keepsake. Questions regarding caps and gowns and settling your Virginia Wesleyan account should be directed to Elaine Aird in the Business Office at 757.455.3310. 


Following the ceremony, all graduates will process to the C-MAC in the Jane P. Batten Student Center, where you will pick up your diploma. Students with financial holds on their account will not receive their diploma until the hold is cleared by the Business Office and/or Financial Aid Office.

Required Application/Other Information from the Registrar

Students must submit an Application for Graduation via the Registrar to participate in Commencement, available on WebAdvisor. Click on "Application for Graduation" under Academic Profiles heading on the Student Menu. December graduates from the previous semester are eligible to participate in May Commencement.

Potential August graduates (students who have at most two courses remaining to be completed by the end of the spring semester of their graduating year) may petition the Registrar for approval to "walk" in the May ceremony. The specifics of the Two-Course Rule are listed on page 55 of the Academic Catalog. Complete the form and return it to the Office of the Registrar. Summer registration must be completed before approval can be granted. The Registrar's Office can be reached by calling 757.455.3358.

Financial Aid Information

Any student who received a Stafford Loan (Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized) is required to complete an exit counseling session prior to graduation. Each semester there will be multiple sessions held on campus. You can contact Betsy Payne by email at epayne@vwu.edu or call 757-455-3102 for more information. Additionally, before you will be able to pick up your cap, gown, or official transcript you must complete an online session. To complete the online exit counseling session, please log in to www.studentloans.gov with the same PIN number you used to sign your Master Promissory Note and FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  Once you complete the online session, be sure to let financial aid know. Should you have difficulty completing the online exit counseling session or have questions, please contact us at 757.455.3345 or finaid@vwu.edu.

Any student who has received a Perkins Loan while enrolled at Virginia Wesleyan College must complete an exit counseling session prior to graduation.   To complete the exit online please go to www.mycampusloan.com.  Once there, follow the instructions to complete the exit.  Go to "View my Account" and go to E exit.  More information concerning this important matter will be sent by email and to campus mailboxes for resident students or mailed home for commuters. Please call Ms. Dely Johnson at 757.455.3286 with any questions.

Other Commencement Notes


If you need to drop off elderly guests or persons with disabilities at the door of the Jane P. Batten Student Center, please inform security personnel of that fact. You will be directed to the front of the Center for the drop-off. Please move your vehicle to the parking lot as quickly as possible to clear the drop-off area.  There will be designated space on the floor for guests in wheelchairs.  For the hearing impaired, the commencement ceremony will be signed.

Scribner Bookstore

Scribner Bookstore will be open on Commencement Day from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. VWU diploma frames and other college memorabilia will be available for purchase. Graduation announcements, diploma frames and other college memorabilia may be ordered online

Commencement Photographs

Candid Color Photography will photograph each graduate crossing the stage. Professional photos will be available for purchase online at www.candidcolor.netSelect "Graduation Day" and use access code  VWSG17.

Please do not approach the stage to take your own photographs as this may interfere with the work of the photographers.

Hotel Accommodations

A variety of hotels are located in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach area. Visit our hotel information page to find out more. You can also find hotels, attractions and other information through the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau or the Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau.