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Commencement 2023

May 17th • 6 pm • Virginia State University • Multi-Purpose Center

Commencement Show & Live Stream Begins at 6pm

Watch the pre-commencement show at 6 pm, followed by the graduation ceremony.

2023 Commencement Ceremony



Commencement Program

Download the 2023 Commencement Program

2023 Commencement Program

2023 Commencement Speaker - Tom Walker

“Richard Bland College of William & Mary is absolutely honored to announce that this year’s commencement speaker will be Tom Walker,” says RBC President, Debbie L. Sydow, Ph.D. “Mr. Walker is Founder & CEO of DroneUp, an American technology company specializing in advanced commercial drone services.”

Previously, Mr. Walker served as an Officer in the U.S. Navy for almost 17 years, pioneering government digital reform through re-programming and web enablement of systems to support both U.S. and International Special Forces.  As a natural early adopter of innovative technology, his interest turned to drones many years ago. Working with a team of industry veterans and experts, he built DroneUp to be the largest drone delivery operation in the United States.

“Richard Bland College’s contribution to innovation and workforce development within the Commonwealth of Virginia is unparalleled among two-year schools,” says Mr. Walker. “I look forward to interacting with the students, and am honored to serve as this year’s commencement speaker.”

Congratulations on your graduation from Richard Bland College of William & Mary. Below are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ’s).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I order my commencement photo?

    • Eric Carlson Photography is the official photographer of the 2022 Ceremony. Photos can be purchased at the link below. 

      2022 Commencement Photos

  • When do I arrive at Virginia State?

    • Graduating students must be on site and checked in with staff by 4:00 pm.

      Virginia State University Multi-Purpose Center
      20809 2nd Ave, Petersburg, VA 23803
      (804) 524-3300

  • Where do I go once I arrive at VSU?

    • RBC staff will direct graduates to the pre-commencement holding area.

  • Where is the pre-commencement holding area?

    • This area is in the Multi-Purpose Center located right behind the main commencement stage.

  • Where do I park at VSU?

    • Parking will be available at the Multi-Purpose Center. Staff will direct you to the closest space. Handicapped parking will also be available in designated areas next to the building.

      Virginia State University Multi-Purpose Center
      20809 2nd Ave, Petersburg, VA 23803
      (804) 524-3300


  • Where do my family and friends park?

    • Please see above. There are no special parking areas for family and guests.

  • Where will I connect with my family after the ceremony?

    • The grassy area located outside the front doors of the Multi-Purpose Center is the area to connect with family. At the end of the ceremony, the faculty and student recessional march flows to the front of the building and out into that area.


  • How many tickets do I get?

    • No ticket is required for entrance. There are plenty of seats available in the Multi-Purpose Center for family and friends. 

  • How do I receive my diploma?

    • After crossing the stage, you will receive a diploma cover. Your actual diploma will be mailed to your permanent home address in 60 to 90 days.

  • Is there a viewing area for handicapped or the elderly?

    • Limited space/seating is available on the floor for handicapped or elderly family and friends needing floor space.

  • Do I need to wear my mask during the ceremony?

    • At the time of the ceremony, students, families, and guests will be expected to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID mitigation policies that are in place. 

  • Flowers and balloons are not allowed.

    • Flowers and balloons must be purchased inside the VSU Multi-Purpose Center, they cannot be brought in from your personal collection.

  • How do I order my cap and gown and what is the deadline?

    • Graduates
      Regalia sets (cap, gown, hood, tassel) will also be for sale in The Grove prior to Commencement. Payment for all orders is due at time of pick up. Graduates will be notified via RBC email when orders arrive. Total price for Associate Degree regalia set (cap, gown, hood, tassel) is $23.
      Rentals are unavailable for graduates. Note: Thursday, May 12: Caps & Goans are available for pickup in the Grove Market Campus Store. 

      Faculty will have the option to rent regalia. Information to follow in RBC email.

      The Grove Market
      Jessica Mahoney
      Retail Manager
      The Grove Market
      804-862-6100, ext. 6500

Join the RBC Nation

Please fill out your graduation form in the below box.

Click RBC Nation


Commencement Photos

Eric Carlson Photography is the official photographer of the 2023 Ceremony. Photos can be purchased at the link below.

2023 Commencement Photos

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