Each year, Virginia Tech holds commencement ceremonies at the end of the academic year in May, as well as at the end of the Fall semester in December. Since 1990, a separate Graduate School Commencement Ceremony has been held to confer degrees to master's and doctoral students. Fall commencement is held in Cassell Coliseum, and Spring Commencement is held in Lane Stadium.
University Commencement Speakers
|Academic Year||Semester||Speaker(s)||Degrees Conferred|
|1958 - 59||Spring||John N. Thomas, professor of systematic theology, Union Theological Seminary||All|
|1959 - 60||Spring||Albertis Harrison, 28th Attorney General of Virginia||All|
|1960 - 61||Spring||John M. Devine, commandant of cadets, Virginia Tech||All|
|1961 - 62||Spring||Colgate W. Darden, former governor, Commonwealth of Virginia||All|
|1962 - 63||Spring||Mills Godwin, 28th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia||All|
|1963 - 64||Spring||J. G. Farrar, president, Rockefeller Foundation||All|
|1964 - 65||Spring||Albertis Harrison, 59th Governor of Virginia||All|
|1965 - 66||Spring||Dr. T. Marshall Hahn, president, Virginia Tech||All|
|1966 - 67||Spring||Mills Godwin, 60th Governor of Virginia||All|
|1967 - 68||Spring||Dr. T. Marshall Hahn, president, Virginia Tech||All|
|1968 - 69||Spring||Warren W. Brandt, first president of Virginia Commonwealth University and former executive vice president, Virginia Tech||All|
|1969 - 70||Spring||Dr. T. Marshall Hahn, president, Virginia Tech||All|
|1970 - 71||Spring||Linwood Holton, 61st Governor of Virginia||All|
|1971 - 72||Spring||David Brinkley, NBC news correspondent||All|
|1972 - 73||Spring||Bill Moyers, former White House Press Secretary to President Lyndon B. Johnson||All|
|1973 - 74||Spring||G. Burke Johnston, C. P. Miles Professor of English, Virginia Tech||All|
|1974 - 75||Spring||Sam J. Ervin, former U.S. Senator from North Carolina||All|
|1975 - 76||Spring||E. F. Shannon, former president, University of Virginia||All|
|1976 - 77||Spring||Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences||All|
|1977 - 78||Spring||John N. Dalton, 63rd Governor of Virginia||All|
|1978 - 79||Spring||Eric Sevareid, correspondent, CBS News||All|
|1979 - 80||Spring||Jean Harris, Virginia Secretary of Human Resources||All|
|1980 - 81||Spring||Dr. William Edward Lavery, president, Virginia Tech||All|
|1981 - 82||Spring||Christopher C. Kraft Jr. '44, director, NASA Johnson Space Center||All|
|1982 - 83||Spring||Clifton C. Garvin Jr. '43, chairman of the board, Exxon Corp.||All|
|1983 - 84||Spring||Chuck Robb, 64th Governor of Virginia||All|
|1984 - 85||Spring||Alexander F. Giacco, rector, Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and chairman of the board, Hercules Inc.||All|
|1985 - 86||Spring||Neil Armstrong, astronaut, first person to step on the Moon||All|
|1986 - 87||Spring||Gerald Baliles, 65th Governor of Virginia||All|
|1987 - 88||Spring||David Roselle, president, University of Kentucky||All|
|1988 - 89||Spring||Mary Sue Terry, 38th Attorney General of Virginia||All|
|1989 - 90||Spring||Douglas Wilder, 66th Governor of Virginia||Undergraduate|
|1990 - 91||Fall||Mark O. Hatfield, U.S. Senator from Oregon||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Sheikh Saud Nasir Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti ambassador to the US||Undergraduate|
|1991 - 92||Fall||W. Ann Reynolds, chancellor, City University of New York||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Jack Nelson, Washington Bureau chief, Los Angeles Times||Undergraduate|
|1992 - 93||Fall||Samuel D. Proctor, professor emeritus, Rutgers University and pastor emeritus, Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Dr. John Ashworth, director, London School of Economics and Political Science||Undergraduate|
|1993 - 94||Fall||John Kelly, registrar (provost), University College Dublin (Ireland)||Undergraduate|
|Spring||George Allen, 67th Governor of Virginia||Undergraduate|
|1994 - 95||Fall||Paul Antonie "Tony" Distler, Alumni Distinguished Professor and director of the Division of Performing Arts, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Beverly H. Sgro, Virginia Secretary of Education and former dean of students, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|1995 - 96||Fall||Dr. James I. Robertson Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor of history, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||John Wilson, retired president, Washington and Lee University||Undergraduate|
|1996 - 97||Fall||Lucinda Roy, Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Raymond J. Lane, president and chief operating officer, Oracle Corporation||Undergraduate|
|1997 - 98||Fall||Charles "Jack" Dudley, director, University Honors Program, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Jim Gilmore, 68th Governor of Virginia||Undergraduate|
|1998 - 99||Fall||James R. Craig, professor of geological sciences, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Dr. Eric Schmidt, chairman and chief executive officer, Novell Inc.||Undergraduate|
|1999 - 2000||Fall||Dr. Paul Torgersen, president and John W. Hancock Jr. Chair of Engineering, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||John Warner, U.S. Senator from Virginia||Undergraduate|
|2000 - 01||Fall||Arthur L. Buikema Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor, Department of Biology, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Rick Boucher, congressman, U.S. House of Representatives||Undergraduate|
|2001 - 02||Fall||Dr. Charles J. Dudley, professor of sociology and director of the University Honors Program, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Mark Warner, 69th Governor of Virginia||Undergraduate|
|2002 - 03||Fall||Dr. L.A. "Andy" Swiger, dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr., chief justice, Virginia Supreme Court (spring)||Undergraduate|
|2003 - 04||Fall||Dr. Ezra A. "Bud" Brown, professor of mathematics, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Pierre Thomas '84, justice correspondent, ABC News||Undergraduate|
|2004 - 05||Fall||Dr. Diane Zahm, associate professor of urban affairs and planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Dave Calhoun '79, president and chief executive officer, GE Transportation Systems||Undergraduate|
|2005 - 06||Fall||Minnis E. Ridenour, former executive vice president and chief operating officer at Virginia Tech and Senior Fellow and director of the Office of Government and Non-Profit Organization Management, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Tim Kaine, 70th Governor of Virginia||Undergraduate|
|2006 - 07||Fall||Henry J. Dekker '47, former president of North American operations, Louis Féraud, past member of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Gen. John Abizaid, U.S. Army (ret.), former Commander of the United States Central Command||Undergraduate|
|2007 - 08||Fall||E. Scott Geller, Alumni Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology in the College of Science||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Hoda Kotb '86, Dateline NBC correspondent, co-anchor of NBC's Today show|
|2008 - 09||Fall||Dr. Gary Downey, Alumni Distinguished Professor of science and technology studies||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Gen. Lance L. Smith '69, U.S. Air Force (ret.), former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation||Undergraduate|
|2009 - 10||Fall||Dr. Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of human development/associate dean, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Bob McDonnell, 71st Governor of Virginia||Undergraduate|
|2010 - 11||Fall||Dr. Jacqueline Bixler, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Spanish, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the 9/11 Victims Fund||Undergraduate|
|2011 - 12||Fall||Dr. Edward F. D. Spencer, former vice president for student affairs, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, and Mark Warner, U.S. Senator from Virginia||Undergraduate|
|2012 - 13||Fall||Dr. Annie Hesp, professor of Spanish, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Dr. Charles Steger '69, president, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|2013 - 14||Fall||Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, professor of biomedical sciences/dean, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Terry McAuliffe, 72nd Governor of Virginia||Undergraduate|
|2014 - 15||Fall||Dr. Thomas M. Gardner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of English, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Dr. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Google||Undergraduate|
|2015 - 16||Fall||Tom Tillar '69, vice president for alumni relations, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Dr. Marc Edwards and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, lead researchers in the Flint, Michigan water crisis||Undergraduate|
|2016 - 17||Fall||Ben Davenport Jr. '64, chairman of Davenport Energy, former member/rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, Facebook||Undergraduate|
|2017 - 18||Fall||Dr. Art Keown, Alumni Distinguished Professor and the R. B. Pamplin Professor of Finance, Virginia Tech||Undergraduate|
|Spring||Ralph Northam, 73rd Governor of Virginia||Undergraduate|
- "University Commencement Speakers (1959 to 2008)". Virginia Tech News Service.
- "Virginia Tech names retired Air Force general as commencement speaker". April 2, 2009.
- "Va. Tech graduates urged to 'work hard, dream big'". Roanoke Times.
- "2011 Commencement Speaker". Virginia Tech News Service.
- "Annie Hesp, Kirk and Noel Schulz to address graduates at 2012 Fall Commencement ceremonies". www.vtnews.vt.edu. November 26, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "Previous speakers".
- "Dennis R. Dean, Thomas M. Gardner to deliver 2014 fall commencement addresses". www.vtnews.vt.edu. December 1, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "Karen Roberto, Tom Tillar to deliver 2015 fall commencement addresses". www.vtnews.vt.edu. November 23, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "Ben Davenport Jr., Andy Morikawa to deliver 2016 fall commencement addresses". www.vtnews.vt.edu. November 30, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to deliver 2017 Virginia Tech University Commencement address". www.vtnews.vt.edu. March 2, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "Fall commencement scheduled for Dec. 21". www.vtnews.vt.edu. November 22, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to deliver 2018 University Commencement address". www.vtnews.vt.edu. February 23, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2018.