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Class of 2022 celebrates graduation with first regular Final Exercises in three years

Saturday and Sunday’s ceremonies marked the end of the University’s 193rd academic term

<p>More than 5,000 graduates walked the Lawn Saturday and Sunday.</p>

More than 5,000 graduates walked the Lawn Saturday and Sunday.

Balloons, flowers, caps and gowns adorned Grounds this weekend as members of the Class of 2022 celebrated their graduation. Ceremonies for Final Exercises were held both Saturday and Sunday in scorching hot heat, drawing thousands to Grounds for the first normal graduation since 2019.

Graduates gathered at bars on the Corner as early as 6 a.m. both days before congregating on the North side of the Rotunda in preparation for the class’ ceremonial procession down the Lawn. As members of the Class of 2022 proceeded down the Lawn both days, graduates hugged family members and friends, posed for pictures and waved tearful goodbyes.

In his opening remarks, University President Jim Ryan noted that he holds a special place in his heart for the Class of 2022, as this group of fourth years began their journeys at the University at the same time he did in fall 2018.

“You are leaving this community stronger than you found it, and I have no doubt you will make the world beyond U.Va. a better place,” Ryan told graduates.

Graduate and undergraduate members of the School of Arts and Sciences graduated Saturday, totaling more than 3,000 degrees. Prof. Claudrena Harold, chair of the history department, was the keynote speaker for Saturday’s ceremony.

Harkening back to the legacy of student organizers and former president Edgar Shannon’s commencement speech to the Class of 1970, Harold commended members of the Class of 2022 for changing the University for the better during their time on Grounds and remaining resilient despite the myriad of obstacles they have encountered.

“Don’t be afraid to depart from the script — the one you write and the one others will attempt to write for you. Life is a series of promising starts, unexpected disruptions, dashed expectations and beautiful surprises,” Harold said.

On Sunday, more than 4,000 graduating members of the Darden School of Business Administration, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, McIntire School of Commerce, School of Architecture, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Data Science, School of Education and Human Development, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Law, School of Medicine and School of Nursing walked the Lawn. 

Asst. Medicine Prof. Taison Bell spoke during Sunday’s ceremony and advised members of the Class of 2022 to embrace the obstacles life throws at them.

“When you’re tackling high-resistance problems, you need others on the journey with you — they can help you sustain the pressure to overcome, or cut down, the resistance to flow,” Bell said. “I urge you to tackle challenges that are worthy. The ones that have resistance. And when that resistance is high, use the power of your mentors, your friends and your colleagues to turn up the pressure and lower those barriers.”

Following both ceremonies, department-specific graduations were held across Grounds in a variety of locations, a number of which were moved inside Sunday due to high temperatures.

Class of 1983 alumnus and basketball legend Ralph Sampson also spoke at the University’s Valedictory Exercises ceremony earlier that weekend, where he encouraged graduates to stay connected to the University and maintain a positive attitude and motivation.

During the ceremony, Class of 2022 alumni Domenick Bailey and Yaa Awusi-Sarkodie, as well as Associate Dean Michael Mason were awarded the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan award, which recognizes members of the University community for excellence and service.

Class of 2022 alumna Milla Ciprian was awarded the Louis Onesty Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award. Cipirian was a member of the University's volleyball team during her time on Grounds.

The Seven Society also honored the student group History of Enslaved African American Laborers with its James Earle Sargeant Award, and the Society of the Purple Shadows honored Asst. Dean Theresa Caroll with its Gordon Rainey Jr. Award for Vigilance to the Student Experience.

Fourth-Year Trustees also awarded Class of 2022 alumni Devin Gardner with its Community Service Award, Elizabeth Aramayo with its Cultural Fluency Award and Emily Moore with its Spirit of the Wahoo Award.