Commencement 2023

Class of 2023
Motto:  Spectamur agendo
(We are proven by our actions)
Colors:  Delft blue and black
Emblem: Lion

Congratulations on your graduation!

Commencement will be here before we know it. This is quite an accomplishment, and we look forward to celebrating with you and your family and friends.


There will be a livestream of the event for family and friends who are unable to attend in person. You can view the livestream on YouTube or watch below.

If you have questions, please reach out to Shelbie Filson in the Office of the President. You can reach her at or 434-381-6202.

Commencement Speaker

To be announced soon!

From Brianna Lourdes Rabassa, Senior Class President


CONGRATULATIONS 23, we have 11 weeks until we graduate!! It seems like just yesterday we were first-years trying to figure out our lives and what we wanted to do, and now we are about to head out into the world, ready to follow our dreams. Even though our first year was cut short, we have come a pretty long way. I’m so excited to not only be walking that stage with my friends and family watching, but to also have an entire week to spend with my senior class!! 

Personalized graduation announcements, thank you notes, and accessories are available now to order, with different packages and items to choose from. You can order them through the following website:

Once again, I am super excited for a memorable and fun time with the class of 2023 and I can’t wait (but also want to cry) to celebrate with everyone on May 13! 

Holla Holla

Brianna Lourdes Rabassa ‘23
Senior Class President

Information about Visiting Campus for Commencement

There are no limits to the number of guests you can have, but we do ask that those graduating provide us with your best realistic guess on the number of attendees you will have and their names, as that information speeds up check-in and drives decisions for parking, chair quantity, and event catering. In late March, a survey called “Sweet Briar College 2023 Baccalaureate and Commencement Attendance Survey” will be sent to the Class of 2023 – please be sure to fill it out as soon as possible.

Pre-Registration of Guest Vehicles

In order to decrease traffic delays in getting everyone on campus commencement morning, we are requiring that vehicles be pre-registered to enter campus.  Please relay the following directions to your family and friends so that can pre-register their vehicles.


There will be designated handicapped parking on the day of commencement. The College will provide shuttle service via golf carts to and from that parking area.

Graduation Announcements

Personalized graduation announcements and stationary accessories are now available to order from Herff Jones:

Commencement Schedule*

Wednesday, May 10 

  • 11:00 a.m. Fancy Hat Brunch
    Hubbard House (Seniors only)
  • 2:00 p.m. Baccalaureate Rehearsal
    Mills Chapel (Seniors only)
  • 4:45 p.m. Champagne Toast
    Sweet Briar House (Seniors only)

Friday, May 12

  • 10:30 a.m. Commencement Rehearsal, Upper Quad
    (Seniors, December graduates, and graduate students)
  • 1:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony
    Murchison Lane Auditorium
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. Baccalaureate Service
    Mills Chapel (graduating students, family and friends of students, faculty, staff, and visiting members of the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors)
  • 4:00 p.m. Phi Beta Kappa Initiation
    Cochran Library Browsing Room
  • 4:30-6 p.m. President’s Reception
    Wailes Conference Center (graduating students, family and friends of students, faculty, staff and visiting members of the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors) Please note the location change due to expected inclement weather.

Saturday, May 13 

  • 10-11:30 a.m. Commencement
    Fitness and Athletic Center (graduating students, family and friends of students, faculty, staff and visiting members of the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors)
  • 11:30-1 p.m. Campus Community Picnic
    Prothro Main Dining Room (graduating students, family and friends of students, faculty, staff and visiting members of the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors)
  • 1 p.m. MAT Champagne Toast
    Elston Inn Lounge (by invitation)

* Schedule is subject to change, so please check this page for updates!

Commencement FAQs

Ordering Commencement Announcements

Sweet Briar College is partnering with Herff Jones to provide commencement announcements. Visit their website.

Accommodations for Commencement

Because guest rooms at Sweet Briar’s Elston Inn are limited, it is a tradition here to hold a lottery to give families an equal chance at reserving an on-campus room for Commencement. The lottery is completed and was the only way to book a room at the Elston Inn for 2023 Commencement weekend.

However, there are a number of other places to stay in the area.

Information from the Office of the Registrar

All students, undergraduate and graduate, must submit their graduation application to the Registrar’s Office by mid-October. Any academic changes (i.e. adding or dropping a minor) must also be finalized at this time. If a student intends to graduate in September or December, she should communicate her intentions no later than the preceding semester.

Financial Obligations of Seniors

Graduating students must settle all of their financial obligations with the Business Office before they may receive their diploma. If you need assistance with your account, please call 434-381-6335 and email

End of Year Residence Hall Move-Out Procedures

Graduating Seniors must be completely moved out no later than 12 p.m. on Sunday, May 14.

Students will be billed $100 per hour for overstaying. All students should return their residence hall room keys to their RC or Residence Life staff member checking them out.

All students must schedule an appointment to have their room reviewed by your RA, RC, or other Student Life staff before leaving. If students do not complete their checkout with Residence Life staff, the student’s account will be charged the $200 Improper Checkout fee, and the student takes full liability for any damages or cleaning assessed.

Required Cleaning

Your room should be left in the same condition you found it. All students are required to:

  • Return furniture to its original position (no furniture in closets, all beds assembled, everything in correct room)
  • Sweep the floor and/or vacuum carpets
  • Dust off all surfaces, cabinets, and drawers
  • Remove all adhesive, putty, tape, etc. from walls and furniture
  • Unplug, defrost, and clean the refrigerator/microwave (J Melvin Corp will come to collect later if you rented)
  • Clean kitchen (counters, cabinets, and appliances) and bathrooms (toilets, tub, and sink) [Suites and Green Village only]
  • Dispose of all trash in hallway bins
  • Close and lock windows, pull shades/blinds down, and lock all doors.

You must check out immediately prior to leaving the space. Once you lock the door behind you, there will be no re-access.

Senior Robes/Club Materials

Graduating Seniors who are still in possession of any decorated senior robes or club materials that need to be passed on to new officers should bring these items to student life before leaving campus. Please leave them in the lobby with a note clearly stating your name, the items you are leaving, and who the items should go to.

Commencement Photography

Check back here after graduation for images from the events!

What is the difference between graduation and commencement?

The term “graduation” refers to the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. Students will be marked as “graduated” once the Office of the Registrar has officially confirmed that all degree requirements have been met. Graduation (degree completion) may be confirmed before or after participation in the commencement ceremony.

Commencement” is the ceremony that celebrates the culmination of the Sweet Briar experience and most often occurs near the completion of the degree. However, participation in the commencement ceremony, including the publication of the names of candidates in the commencement program, does not imply that a student has graduated.

Graduation Collection

This collection provides all the products that our graduates will need for graduation, including regalia and announcements.