Virginia Tech has announced that starting in 2014, the University Commencement ceremony held in Lane Stadium will begin at 9 a.m. on the last Friday of the spring semester, three hours earlier than the noon start used by the university the past two years.

Accordingly, the Graduate School Commencement ceremony, held in Cassell Coliseum, will begin at noon. College and department ceremonies will start at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon and will continue through Saturday afternoon at venues across campus.

In 2014, spring commencement ceremonies in Blacksburg will be held May 16 and 17.

“Two years ago, we moved the university ceremony in Lane Stadium from Friday evening to Friday at noon, reasoning that the threat of severe weather is less earlier in the day,” said Dan Taylor, professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and chair of the University Commencement Committee. “However, our experience these past two years has been that the threat of severe weather at noon is greater than we anticipated, and the weather can be extremely hot during the ceremony, creating potential health issues for people in the stadium both in the stands and on the field.

“Obviously, we want our students and their family and friends to be safe and well so everyone can enjoy one of the great milestones of one’s life,” said Taylor.

Taylor also noted that by reversing the order of the University and Graduates School ceremonies, the significant vehicular and pedestrian traffic problems that occurred between the ceremonies should be reduced.

To accommodate the earlier start of the University Ceremony, Virginia Tech will continue to offer on campus housing in university residence halls on a first-come, first-served basis to make the commencement experience affordable and convenient for all families attending. Families may stay on campus one, two, or three nights, and university dining centers will stay open through breakfast on Saturday to accommodate campus visitors.

More information on commencement lodging reservations may be found online.

“Last year, more than 1,200 residence hall rooms were used by families and guests during commencement weekend,” noted Taylor. “Because our residence halls and dining centers are within eyesight of both Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum, it makes attending commencement very easy and very enjoyable.”

In addition to the Blacksburg ceremonies, the first Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 10, at 8:30 a.m. at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke. The National Capital Region commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 18, at 1:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

For additional information on all commencement-related ceremonies and activities, visit the Commencement website.

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