2024 Graduation Events

graduation balloons

Congratulations to Batten’s Class of 2024!

We look forward to celebrating our BA and MPP graduates’ achievements during 2024 Finals Weekend!

While we encourage you to visit the University’s official Final Exercises website, here you will find the most relevant Batten-specific information. Please read this information carefully, and continue to check the University Finals site, which is updated frequently.


Batten School Finals Weekend Schedule

Various University- or department-sponsored (non-Batten) Finals activities take place on Friday, including Valedictory Exercises; Joint Commissioning Exercises for Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force Candidates; the Donning of the Kente Ceremony, and the Fourth Year Class Party. The Batten School is not involved in the hosting of these optional events; click here for more information.

It’s a big day! For the first time, both of Batten’s graduation-related ceremonies will be taking place on the same day!


UVA Final Exercises – The Lawn

7 a.m. – Guest entrances to the Lawn open

7:45 a.m. Batten student line-up at the Rotunda’s Southwest Terrace

9 a.m. Procession begins

**UPDATED AS OF MAY 15** Graduates will now need to present either their UVA student ID or a downloaded digital “graduate ticket” to gain access to the Lawn ceremony. Guests will need to present their own digital tickets, which should be downloaded in advance. For more information on this process, click here.

Batten School Diploma Ceremony – Highland

4:30 p.m. Guest and graduate arrival begins

4:45 p.m. Graduate line-up and assembly

5:30 p.m. Procession begins promptly

Please plan to arrive on the Highland property (approximately 20 minutes from Grounds) no later than 4:45 p.m. to allow yourself time to park and walk from the parking field to the procession site. School staff and signage will direct you once you arrive. Guests with limited mobility will be directed to pre-reserved parking spots and limited “golf cart” shuttle service will be provided on an as-needed basis. Graduates do not need tickets for this event; guests should bring the tickets their graduates secured through our internal distribution process.

This is Batten’s primary graduation event, at which you will have your name read, walk across the stage, and have your photo taken when receiving your honorary diplomas. Graduates should come to the event dressed in regalia.


  • Weather: It looks rainy as of Wednesday's forecast, but things can change dramatically. While students will be seated under a tent, guests will be seated on chairs on an open field. Please tell your guests to bring protective outerwear or umbrellas if there is rain in the forecast. If the weather becomes severe and necessitates a move to Old Cabell, we’ll let you know by midday on Saturday via email.
  • Carpool to Highland if possible: Guests will be parking in an open field, and with this week’s rain, more cars = more mud = fewer potential parking spots.
  • Disability Access: If you requested services for a guest with special needs, we will be writing you individually with special instructions. Watch your email!   
  • Balloons! As you may have heard, UVA is discouraging balloons that cannot be collected and shared with patients at the UVA Hospital. Combined with our inability to secure printed “globe balloons” this  year, we are not providing them before the Lawn ceremony, as we have done in the past. With that said, we do have a limited supply of uninflated Batten globe balloons from previous years, and if you’d like to get one to inflate yourself, just stop by Garrett Hall between now and the Lawn ceremony on Saturday. They are in the Great Hall. 
  • Phonetic pronunciations! We work hard to ensure correct pronunciation when we announce your name during the ceremony. If you haven’t filled out the pronunciation form, please do so!


7:15-9 p.m.

Graduation Celebration and Dinner

Join us under the Highland pavilion and tents for a delicious dinner buffet, ticketed cash bar (plus lemonade, water, and tea), class photos, and beautiful vistas! Drink tickets may be purchased in advance; pre-purchasing is encouraged to reduce lines at our event!








Other Important Details

Saturday Lawn Ceremony: As you can imagine, parking is tricky during Finals Weekend. This website will show you the various options available around Grounds. Guests with mobility issues should click here.

Saturday Highland Ceremony: Highland is located about 20-25 minutes from Charlottesville. Free parking is available in an adjacent field. While it is a well-manicured field located only about 5 minutes from the site of the ceremony, plan your footwear choice accordingly and we will have a golf cart available for our guests who need assistance. Please use this link to indicate any special needs, including dietary restrictions, you or your guests might have.





Attire for the entire weekend for graduates and their guests is business casual—or whatever will allow you to stay cool and comfortable, particularly while wearing black graduation gowns. Jackets and ties are welcome but not required. Given the amount of walking on grass or historic brick, spiky heels are not advisable!

Because students will be asked to unzip their gowns before entering the Lawn for the UVA ceremony, graduates should make certain they are fully clothed! Graduates should wear their regalia to both the Lawn and Batten Highland ceremonies.

While there are three different UVA-wide weather contingencies, know that if something dramatic happens, we will email you with timely updates and make updates to our website. You also can check UVA’s homepage or call the weather hotline at 924-SNOW. In short, unless the weather is quite extreme, events will take place on the Lawn and at Highland as scheduled.

In the highly unlikely event severe weather necessitates moving our Batten ceremony indoors, it will be moved to Old Cabell Hall on Saturday, May 18, at 6 p.m.; given this smaller venue, graduates would then be limited to 3 additional guests. The severe weather location for the Lawn ceremony is John Paul Jones Arena; the University would make this announcement by 5:30 a.m. on May 18.

Stay tuned to your email for last-minute changes—changes to our Batten events will NOT be posted on the greater UVA website or hotline, but will be sent to students via email and posted at batten.virginia.edu.

Please use this link to indicate any special needs, including dietary restrictions, you or your guests might have if they are attending Batten's Regalia Ceremony.

Click here for all other related information about the University-wide Lawn ceremony and resources. For those wishing to view the Lawn ceremony remotely, either at indoor locations across Grounds or via Live Stream, click here.  


Graduates who did not meet with Dean Rockwell during Batten’s Graduation Fair should complete this form to share their names as they (1) would like them printed in the Batten Diploma Ceremony program and (2) pronounced during the ceremony. Please help us get your names perfect!

For your actual diplomas, the deadline to correct or update your name as it will appear on your diploma is May 1, 2024. Complete the “SIS Primary Name Update” form on UREG's website


Batten has hired a professional photographer to capture Batten’s Saturday evening events, including all-class/cohort photos, which will be taken immediately after our Academic Regalia ceremony. These photos will be available for download and/or purchase; we will send you a link when the proofs are available online for your review. Your guests are, of course, welcome to take photos of the events as well.

There will be security checks/metal detectors at the Lawn ceremony for EVERYONE participating in graduation–-from guests to the graduates themselves—with the “clear bag policy” in effect. The greater UVA administration has asked us to let students know that any unauthorized items—including alcohol—will be confiscated. Given related safety concerns, security officials are instructed to remove visibly intoxicated students from all graduation processionals. For more information on UVA’s graduation-related security policies, including specifically prohibited and permitted items, click here.

Per University guidelines, access to Garrett—inside and out—will be controlled before and during the Lawn ceremony and monitored by RMC security, in part because of the building’s official, designated use as a restroom facility for persons with disabilities and because of restricted access to the Lawn via the path in from of our building.

Lawn Tickets: For the first time ever, Lawn tickets (6/graduate if outdoors or 3/graduate if severe weather moves the ceremony indoors) will be distributed electronically. There will be a lottery for an additional 1 ticket taking place during the month of April. Batten is not involved with the Lawn ticketing process, all of which is explained in more detail here.

Batten Ceremony Tickets: Graduates have received their first wave of tickets during the Graduation Fair; a lottery will be held to distribute additional tickets in waves. Please watch your emails from Shawn Anderson for additional information and pick-up times, which will take place in Garrett Hall.

Regalia: BA and MPP graduates with a valid photo ID can pick up their complimentary regalia and guest Lawn tickets from the UVA Bookstore during the following times:

  • Wednesday, May 15 - Friday, May 17: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 18: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Be sure to specify whether you are an undergraduate or MPP candidate, as the undergraduate and master's robes are distinct.

IMPORTANT: Graduates should come to Saturday’s Lawn and Batten ceremonies wearing their caps, tassels, gowns, stoles (BA) and hoods (MPP). Hoods have already been distributed at the Graduation Fair, and stoles will be distributed upon arrival. Your stoles and hoods are graduation gifts from our school! Watch for updates from Shawn Anderson about the time and location of stole and additional hood distribution, which will take place before Finals Weekend.




Congratulations to our winners! Link to presentation

Legacy revised

Legacy Awards (Undergraduate Students)

Each year, the Batten Undergraduate Council invites students, faculty and staff to make nominations for its “Legacy Awards,”  given in five categories to honor graduating BA students who have, in their own way, demonstrated leadership at the Batten School. Each of these awards reflect the virtues and experiences that distinguished Frank Batten, Sr. throughout his inspirational life.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients! Below are excerpts from their nominations.

Leader of Leaders Award

Ellie Stombres

Ellie's leadership style—both dignified and effective—embodies the ideals Mr. Batten envisioned for future leaders. She prioritizes public service and community betterment, making her an exemplary choice for this award. Her legacy at the Batten School sets a high standard for future leaders, making Ellie Strombes the ideal candidate for the Leader Among Leaders Award.

‘Fearless Frank’ Integrity Award

Makayla Bibby

Makayla’s courage to raise challenging and often controversial points in class discussions exemplifies her strong moral compass and her readiness to challenge conventional practices. Her ability to engage in these conversations is not just about raising points for the sake of it but stems from a deep-rooted commitment to fostering understanding and driving positive change within our community. What distinguishes Makayla further is her approach to these discussions. She navigates complex topics with kindness and respect, ensuring that her points are made in a manner that encourages dialogue rather than division.

Perseverance Award

Allison Alston

Allison's journey is a remarkable testament to resilience, dedication, and an unwavering spirit of perseverance in the face of daunting challenges. Her perseverance is not just about overcoming personal challenges; it's about pushing forward with a positive impact on those around her. Her active engagement in office hours and her relentless pursuit of academic excellence, despite personal and professional challenges, is truly inspiring. Her ability to face life's obstacles head-on, to overcome them, and to continue to excel academically and professionally embodies the spirit of the Perseverance Award. Allison has not only persevered; she has thrived, making her an exemplary candidate for this honor.

Liah Lawson

Liah has faced more challenges in her life than many of her classmates can even imagine. Liah continues to passionately pursue policy change in her interest areas which are very close to her heart, while balancing supporting herself and maintaining a ‘normal’ college life. She continues to show up and show out in class. Throughout it all Liah shows up constantly serving and supporting her community whether through advocating for the interests of Native American students at the University or simply helping friends--like me--when they may be struggling with a class concept.

Pioneer Award

Renee Bryan

Renee will absolutely make an impact in whatever field she chooses to pursue. She is always pursuing creative solutions to problems posed in and outside of the classroom. Every time she says something in class, I want to snap because she always has something so insightful to bring to the discussion. She is a great person I can tell will do great things in the future and leads in a way that I’m sure make the communities she is a part of better than she found them. Renee Bryan always is a bright light and ensures that she clears paths for those around her. She is one of a kind–and so inspiring.

Virginian-Pilot Intellectual Curiosity Award

Tristan How

Tristan is extremely curious about the world, and has expressed that in class, in discussions, and in daily informal conversations. Tristan’s love for learning has shown up in the ways he encourages me to share my experiences, even when I feel like they may not be heard or add to class discussions. His love for learning and his openness to listen to new perspectives showed me, personally, that the world is still a place for constructive dialogue. When he told our Lead from Anywhere class that his favorite thing to do is “learn,” I really believed him. Tristan, with a kind, curious, approachable disposition, quietly pushes his classmates to go deeper in their pursuit of learning, by listening to his classmates, affirming where they are coming from, and then proposing another point of view that, though contrary, doesn't seem far-fetched through his thoughtful and intellectual phrasing.



pilot awards

Pilot Awards (Graduate Students)

Named for the newspaper run by our school’s late founder, Frank Batten, Sr., the Batten Graduate Council annually invites students, faculty, and staff to nominate graduating MPP students for one of five Pilot Awards. The awards recognize the recipients’ leadership, impact, and service within the greater university and policy communities. Congratulations to this year’s recipients; you’ll find excerpts from their student, faculty, and staff nominations below.  

Policy Analysis Impact Award 

Maggie Sparling

Maggie is an incredibly talented policy analyst, to the point where she has been asked to advise policymakers and to present her research and commentary on national security at multiple conferences to military professionals. She brings a nuanced, thoughtful, and human-centered perspective to the national security space and is an amazing citizen and representative of Batten. As the Head GTA for our "Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century" class, Maggie has kept all of us on track to offer a transformative learning experience to nearly 200 undergraduate students. She handled a vast array of new challenges we have not seen in decades of teaching, with grace and level-headedness, always grounded in ethical leadership and students' best interests. Maggie continually goes above and beyond typical responsibilities, such as with offering a multi-part workshop for the entire class on policy research and report writing. Her leadership was truly instrumental in developing the next generation of Batten-educated leaders. She is thoughtful, kind, empathetic, and willing to listen to the perspective of others. These are the very traits we hope to find in our nation’s and world’s policymakers, and we have been so lucky at Batten to have Maggie sharing her own personal example on daily basis in the halls of Garrett. We are all better for knowing her, and I can’t wait to see where her path may lead. Surely she must have been the type of student Frank Batten had in mind when he founded our school.  

Inclusive Advocacy Impact Award

Sebastian Singh

Sebastian has displayed exceptional leadership skills in advocating for the inclusion of those who are often out-of-sight and out-of-mind-- underrepresented populations in policy discussions and decision-making processes. He has been a vital research assistant in the Public Engagement in Governance Looking, Listening and Learning Laboratory (PEGLLLLab).Through this work, he helped to foster and facilitate the environment that ultimately led to the co-creation of policies, programs, and structures that assisted in the efforts in sites to co-produce public safety, public order, and community well-being. Sebastian is a bridge builder. Sebastian understands the importance of action and not just words. He has positioned himself to look, listen, learn, and grow – to appreciate the opportunity that he has had to serve all. Sebastian has intentionally and actively uplifted marginalized perspectives and voices in academic, professional, communal, and institutional settings in an effort to continually broaden his own perspective, and those of his fellow RAs and classmates. He cares in ways that would be unsettling and uncomfortable to many. He reflects the description of this award - he “has worked tirelessly to promote the voices and perspectives of marginalized communities” in meaningful and intentional ways. Like light, he pierces through the darkness and illuminates a path that others should follow. Similar to Mr. Batten, he is willing to do what might not be popular, but what is right. He has extended grace to all – starting where people and communities are, not where we may want them to be. He manifests this award.

Leadership Excellence Impact Award

Abigail Cornwell

Abby has been Head TA for Intro to Public Policy the past two semesters. She not only did an excellent job teaching and mentoring undergraduate students, but she also was an exemplary leader for her fellow TAs. We could always count on her calm, level-headed judgment and genuine desire to help others. The 80 students in her sections and 400+ students in the course have benefitted tremendously from her work. As one of her students noted, "Abby displayed a natural knack for the teaching profession and has a sort of intrinsic leadership that is rare and cannot be taught. Abby's talents for both public policy and leadership are extraordinary and she will excel wherever she lands after UVA." Another student shared this sentiment saying, “She is, unquestionably, the best TA I have ever had.” Abby is a strong and inspiring leader. As head of the Intro to Public Policy GTA team, she has demonstrated countless times the ability to make difficult decisions and prioritize the needs and growth of her students. She is willing to make sometimes big sacrifices herself to make sure the needs of her teaching team are met and they have the necessary level of support. She never holds her leadership authority over her team and empowers and inspires them to lead well. Watching from afar, I'm impressed with how Abby has left a lasting and powerful impact on both her students, the teaching team, and the broader community. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for her.

Outreach & Service Impact Award 

Garreth Bartholomew

Garreth works hard to use his gifts in service to his community. He volunteers at several organizations, working to address food insecurity in the Charlottesville community, across the Commonwealth, and even on a national scale. He serves on several UVA committees, such as the Food Waste Reduction Working Group where he is currently one of its Co-Chairs. Garreth exemplifies servant leadership and inspires others to get involved in their local community. Garreth is well-deserving of the Outreach and Service Impact Award. . . in recognition of his remarkable contributions to public service within the Batten School and the broader UVA community. When I met Garreth, I was deeply impressed by his expertise in food and climate policy, encouraged by his positive, proactive, and solutions-oriented attitude, and inspired by his dedication to serving his community. Garreth gets things done – he turns ideas into action. One of Garreth's most notable contributions to public service has been his leadership and involvement in the UVA Sustainable Food Collaborative. He also oversees the regional food justice stakeholder meetings, working closely with partners like the Shenandoah Blue Ridge Hunger Action Coalition to recover and redirect food to address food insecurity. Additionally, Garreth co-founded the UVA Food Union and Food Assist club, where he led efforts to transport food waste to food kitchens in Charlottesville....Garreth embodies the values of integrity, empathy, and social responsibility. His exemplary contributions to public service, selfless spirit, and incredible work ethic, make him a deserving candidate for the Pilot's Outreach & Service Impact Award.

Transformative Impact Award 

Jenny Tran

Jenny has made such a broad impact here at Batten. She has been a TA for 3 semesters, an incredible research assistant, and has volunteered her time in so many other ways. Batten would not be the same without her and we are all lucky to feel her impact. I have never met someone as hardworking, dedicated, empathetic, motivating, or kind as Jenny Tran. Jenny takes on many roles at Batten as a graduate teaching assistant for Economics of Public Policy and former tutor, and she works alongside Professor Mahoney as a research assistant for two different projects. As an international student, she brings a diverse perspective to the program and touches lives here and in her home country of Vietnam. Jenny is always prepared, pleasant, and present in all that she does, despite what she has going on personally. She goes above and beyond what is required of her to support students, professors, and other Batten staff each day. Jenny has been a supporting mentor to all first-year MPPs. As the Economics Teaching Assistant, Jenny has shown the impressive ability to interpret questions, hear personal worries, and address academic weaknesses with patience and empathy. She is an incredible leader who inspires all of her students to do better and motivates them to focus on their progress, instead of their fears. She has a passion to share her education, knowledge, and insights and lives a life of service for the sake of others. Jenny is a public-focused leader who cares deeply about the success of others. To me, that's the fundamental requirement of a good leader. Jenny is the epitome of the Batten family and support we pride ourselves on. And, he aspirations surpass these walls and this University--as she has goals (and the ability) to have meaningful impact in economics and climate change, as a policy analyst, advocate, and teacher. Jenny is the prime example of leadership and passion. It is with the utmost regard that I put her name forward for this recognition. She once said to me "You are a star." but I think that is the perfect way to describe her, and any student or professor you speak with about her will agree!




Z Society Edgar F. Shannon Award  

Amanda Leizman

Amanda (BA '24) is from Cleveland, Ohio. She is majoring in Leadership and Public Policy and is a diver on the Women's Swim & Dive Team. Her areas of interest include education and health policy. She has worked with local K-12 school district leaders on delivering health-based needs assessments to students and staff and is involved in research examining leading equity practices in large K-12 school districts. Upon graduation she hopes to work for an organization that promotes youth health and wellbeing.

Elizabeth Link

Elizabeth (MPP '24) is from Peoria, IL. As an undergraduate, she majored in Economics at the University of Virginia where she studied at the intersection of economics and education. At the Batten School, Elizabeth continued to pursue her interests in education policy, research methods, and economics. She has worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate Research Methods and Data Analysis class and the undergraduate Economics of Public Policy class. She has also worked as a research assistant for Professor Sarah Turner since her third year of undergrad. Upon graduation from the Batten School, Elizabeth will start as a Research Fellow at Blueprint Labs, an Economics research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, she will continue to work at the intersection of economic research and education policy.

UVA Sustainability Leadership Award

Garreth Bartholomew 

As president of Food Assist, founder of the UVA Food Union, and in his role on the leadership team of the UVA Community Food Pantry, Garreth (MPP '24) and fellow students have transported over 20,000 pounds of would-be food waste from UVA organizations and local restaurants to those in need both on and off Grounds. (See the announcement from the Office for Sustainability.) Garreth is from Nashville, TN and Falls Church, VA. In addition to his MPP, he majored in Environmental Thought and Practice, and was a writer and editor at the Cavalier Daily. His past experience includes being a field organizer for several political campaigns in Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Carolina, the Climate Microgrant Program Director at Smithsonian Institution, and a Grantmaking & Data Analyst Intern at Britepaths. He was also a Community Revitalization Intern at the Appalachian Regional Commission. 

Batten balloons

For the most up-to-date information on Finals Weekend, please visit the UVA Major Events page