Family and friends of Virginia Tech's graduating seniors are finalizing plans to travel to Blacksburg or Fairfax, Virginia, to attend one or more of the university's commencement ceremonies.

Approximately 30,000 friends and family members are expected to travel to Blacksburg for commencement ceremonies Thursday through Saturday, May 12-14, in Blacksburg. 

The first ceremony is the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12, in Cassell Coliseum. 

This year, the University Commencement ceremony will begin Friday, May 13, with the 8:30 a.m. procession into Lane Stadium. Gates to the stadium will open at 7 a.m. to allow guests ample time to find seating.

Lead investigators of the Flint Water Study Team, Marc Edwards, the Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, and Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, will deliver the keynote address at the University Commencement Ceremony.

Virginia Tech will offer a live stream of both the Graduate School Commencement and University Commencement ceremonies from the university homepage.

Beginning at 12:30 p.m. Friday, 28 college and departmental ceremonies will be held across campus, continuing through Saturday afternoon. A complete schedule of all departmental and college convocation ceremonies may be found on the commencement website.

Approximately 46 associate degree candidates from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and 4,703 bachelor’s degree candidates from all the colleges will be honored at the ceremony.

This year, 1,987 graduating seniors will complete their baccalaureate degree programs with honors, having achieved an accumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale.

As it was last year, this year's most popular major among graduating seniors is mechanical engineering. The next four most popular majors are human nutrition, foods and exercise; biological sciences; business information technology; and human development.

At a ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday in Burruss Hall Auditorium, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will honor 240 students graduating from its program. At the same ceremony, 65 students will be commissioned in the U.S. Army, 42 will be commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, 22 will be commissioned into the U.S. Navy, and seven will commission into the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bachelor’s degrees to be awarded to students from each of Virginia Tech’s seven undergraduate colleges:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: 552
  • College of Architecture and Urban Studies: 265
  • College of Engineering: 1,391
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences: 832
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment: 196
  • Pamplin College of Business: 757
  • College of Science: 710

Stanley Atcitty, an energy storage systems researcher for Sandia National Laboratories, will speak at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. Approximately 1,349 students will be honored at the ceremony: 935 master’s degree candidates, five education specialist degree candidates, five Ed.D. candidates, 98 advanced graduate certificate candidates, and 296 Ph.D. candidates.

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Commencement Ceremony will be at 6 p.m. Friday in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre of Moss Arts Center.

Virginia Tech’s 36th National Capital Region Commencement Ceremony will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at the George Mason Center for the Arts in Fairfax. Former congressman Jim Moran, recently appointed professor of practice in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, will give the keynote address to approximately 150 graduates and their guests.

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands will preside over the two Blacksburg ceremonies and the National Capital Region event.

The academic procession at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony will be led by Commencement Marshal Rami Dalloul and Graduate Student Marshal Richard Rodrigues. Joseph Merola, professor of chemistry in the College of Science, will lead the University Commencement Ceremony as the commencement marshal. The National Capital Region Commencement Ceremony will be led by Commencement Marshal Kathleen Hancock.

Student remarks given during the University Commencement Ceremony will include opening reflections from Tanushri Shankar, a senior majoring in public relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; a speech by the Class of 2016 president Luke T. Carroll, a senior majoring in management in the Pamplin College of Business; and closing reflections by the Class of 2016 Vice President Caitlin Wilkinson, a senior majoring in environmental science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Soprano Jessica Vance, a junior majoring in music in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will sing the National Anthem and the Alma Mater at the University Commencement Ceremony, as well as the National Anthem at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. Jarreau A. Williams, a graduate with bachelor's degrees in psychology and theatre arts, will sing the National Anthem during the National Capital Region Commencement Ceremony.

Meredith L. Scaggs, a master’s candidate in mining engineering, will provide student remarks during the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. Philip R. Egert, a doctoral candidate in science and technology in society, will give students remarks during the National Capital Region Commencement Ceremony.

2016 marks the 144th year of Virginia Tech. More information on all commencement and convocation activities may be found online.

In the event of inclement weather, the University Commencement ceremony in Lane Stadium may be delayed. If heavy rain or dangerous conditions prevail, the university may cancel the ceremony. Once a decision has been made, details will be posted on the Virginia Tech homepage and the Virginia Tech News page. Information will also be recorded on the University Weather Line (540-231-6668), shared with area news outlets, sent using campus-wide email and VT Alerts, and posted to the VT News page on Twitter and the Virginia Tech page on Facebook.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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