Commencement 2018 Guide: Speakers, Schedules, Facilities, and Parking

Student address: Andy Gilliam

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise 2018 commencement speaker is a Jonesville, Virginia native Andy Gilliam.

Andy is majoring in mathematics with a minor in secondary education and an add-on endorsement to teach Theater Arts K-12.AndyGilliam1-900x869

Gilliam plans to attend graduate school to get a master’s degree in mathematics.

He hopes to teach dual credit classes at the high school level or become an instructor at a college or university.

Gilliam has wanted to be a teacher since sixth grade.

“I had amazing math teachers all the way through my school years and so I really aspired to be like them and teach,” Gilliam said.

Gilliam considered which grade he wanted to teach and found that starting as a high school math teacher was his ideal job.

Aside from majoring in education, Andy has also been very involved with UVa-Wise as a member of the Student Virginia Education Association for four years and been president for three years.

Gilliam has also been a member of the LGBTA Society, Spirit Haven, the Darden Society, Sigma Zeta and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Gilliam has also worked as a mathematics tutor for Tutor Connections and the MCS Department for four years.

Gilliam has been an actor in “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine” – the Official Outdoor Drama of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and he earned the rank of Eagle Scout of the Boy Scouts of America.



Keynote address: U.S. Senator Mark Warner

Senator Mark Warner will be the speaker at Commencement 2018 at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Commencement is set for May 5 at 11 a.m. in the David J. Prior Convocation Center.

“We are honored that Senator Warner has accepted our invitation to deliver the commencement address to our Class of 2018,” Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. “He has visited Southwest Virginia often as governor and Senator, and he knows the region well. We look forward to hosting Senator Warner during Commencement.”FE5F9BEEB93C43D7C68F63B4ACE42139.mark-warner-headshot-1-

Senator Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 and reelected to a second term in November 2014. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget and Rules Committees as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the vice chairman. Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in fighting for the nation’s military men and women and veterans, and in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions to address our country’s debt and deficit.

From 2002 to 2006, he served as Governor of Virginia.  When he left office in 2006, Virginia was ranked as the best state for business, the best managed state, and the best state in which to receive a public education.

The first in his family to graduate from college, Senator Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public office. An early investor in the cellular telephone business, he co-founded the company that became Nextel and invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies that created tens of thousands of jobs.




It is that time of year again folks. Graduation is fast approaching and guests want to know where to park. Please arrive early to get a parking spot near the Prior Convocation Center. The first convocation center lot will be used for handicapped parking only; all other spaces will be first come first serve.

There will be four MEOC Transit/Cavalier Connection buses running shuttles if parking is not available at the convocation center. The shuttle runs from 9 a.m. until about an hour after commencement.

The pickup and drop-off spots will be located at the circle parking lot at Crockett Hall, in front of Greear Gymnasium and at the top of the steps of the softball field. There will be signs showing people how to get there and where they are.

Campus police asks that people please be patient at the end of the ceremony due to having nearly 3,000 people attending and one main road exit from the Convocation Center complex.

The UVa-Wise community hopes that everyone will enjoy the ceremony and have a great time with family and friends while attending Commencement.


Schedules, facilities

Commencement is May 5, 2018. Approximately 260 students will walk in Saturday’s ceremony.


Pre-commencement events

  • Thursday, May 3

4 p.m. Graduation rehearsal – Prior Convocation Center. Seniors do not need to bring their cap and gown.


  • Friday, May 4

3:30 p.m. Department of Nursing Pinning Ceremony- Prior Center

5 p.m. Senior Celebration- Prior Center

6 p.m. Presentation of Awards – Prior Center


  • Saturday, May 5

9:30 a.m. Doors Open- Prior Center

10:00 a.m. Graduates Gather- Prior Center

10:15 a.m. Faculty Assembles- Prior Center

10:30 a.m. Cabinet and Board Members Assemble – Prior Center

11:00 a.m. Academic Procession and Ceremony – Prior Center


Available facilities

Commencement day: Concessions will be open on both sides of the Prior Convocation Center starting at 9:30 a.m.

Smith Dining Commons will operate on normal schedule on Friday, May 4.

On Saturday,  brunch (10:30 a.m.- 2 p.m.)  and dinner (5-6 p.m.) will be served.

Dining Commons will be closed on Sunday.

The bookstore is open regular hours on Friday. On Saturday, during Commencement, only the bookstore kiosks at the Prior Convocation Center will be open.

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