Candlelight Ceremony

The Candlelight Ceremony, one of the University’s longest-standing traditions, is the last time the senior class comes together before graduation. The night before Commencement, graduates line the banks of the iconic Westhampton Lake, holding candles for a reflective and celebratory event. A selected student gives remarks, students sing the alma mater, and the ceremony is capped off with a brilliant fireworks display.

Candlelight Ceremony 2024
Saturday, May 11, 2024, 9:00 p.m.
Westhampton Lake

All graduates of the School of Arts & Sciences, the Robins School of Business, and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies are invited, as well as their parents, families, and supporters.

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  • Information for Graduating Seniors


    Students should plan to arrive at the University Forum by 8:30 p.m. Students will gather at the University Forum just prior to the start of the Candlelight Ceremony. Please direct your parents, families, supporters, and other guests should proceed to Boatwright Library hill where they will be able to view the ceremony and the fireworks.


    Attire is up to whatever the student feels comfortable in, but most students wear business casual attire for this event. 


    There are stairs involved in getting from the University Forum level to the lake level. If a student needs assistance, please contact the Center for Student Involvement in advance and arrangements can be made for a student to fully participate.  

    Please note that there is a firework display, which contains flashing lights and loud noises.

    Candlelight Ceremony Program

    Students can expect the ceremony to last around 45 minutes. Students will receive a lit candle as they arrive at the lake level, and will be marshaled around the lake. We ask that students stay in a single-file line as they circle the lake and listen to the directions of the student marshals. 

  • Information for Parents & Families

    Many parents, families, supporters, and other guests attend Candlelight Ceremony. We encourage them to arrive at 8:30 p.m. and proceed to the hill outside Boatwright Library where they can view the ceremony. 

    We encourage spectators to bring a blanket or portable chair.

    An elevator is located inside Tyler Haynes Commons that goes from the lake level to the Boatwright Library hill level. 

    Please note that there is a firework display, which contains flashing lights and loud noises.