Date & Times

Monday, May 15, 2023

Ceremony 1: 10:00 a.m. (last names A-K)
Ceremony 2: 3:00 p.m. (last names L-Z)


EagleBank Arena
George Mason University
4500 Patriot Circle
Fairfax, VA 22030

Melissa Lucas

Guest Speaker

Melissa Lucas, Ph.D.


Information on registration, diplomas, regalia and more.

Family & Guests

Bag policies, parking, accessibility and more.

Melissa Lucas
Melissa Lucas,
NOVA Alumna 2015

Melissa Lucas, Ph.D.

Melissa Lucas, Ph.D., is a trained applied developmental and educational psychologist, having recently earned her doctorate from the University of Virginia's School of Education and Human Development. Currently, she works as a postdoctoral associate at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Prior to Yale University, Lucas was an Institute of Education Science predoctoral fellow. Lucas holds a bachelor's in psychology and sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University and associates in social science from Northern Virginia Community College.

Her research focuses on children and the socioemotional health of educators, especially those who represent minoritized populations, to nurture healthier and more equitable classroom and school environments. Lucas' work explores how various aspects of schooling (e.g., policies, practices, relationships, cultural representations) influence Latinx and multilingual children's socioemotional and linguistic development. She works to identify and amplify the strengths and assets in children, families, and schools that may buffer the deleterious academic, social, and psychological effects that culturally and linguistically minoritized children experience in response to bias and discrimination.

In her spare time, she enjoys Latin dancing and spending time with her dog, Tofu.


Congratulations to our Summer 2022, Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 graduates! We invite you, along with your family and friends, to attend our 2023 Commencement Ceremonies on the campus of George Mason University. Below, you'll find important information to ensure that you have a successful graduation.

Student celebrating with diploma
  • Apply to Graduate

    All students must submit a graduation application by the deadline date for the semester to graduate. Once you submit your application, you will receive a graduation status message in your NOVA email. Please be sure to check your NOVA email for all graduation updates.


    Application Form

  • Deadlines

    Semester Deadlines for Graduation Applications

    Graduation Semester Application Due Date
    Spring (May) March 1
    Summer (August) June 1
    Winter (December) October 1

    Applications received after the deadline will be processed for the following semester.

  • RSVP

    Summer and Fall graduates who have applied for graduation have already received an invitation to attend graduation in their NOVA email. Spring 2023 graduates will receive an invitation when the deadline to apply for graduation has closed (March 1, 2023).

    Please note the difference between applying to graduate and participating in commencement. Applying for graduation occurs when the requirements for your degree are completed, and you are officially awarded your degree or certification. Commencement is the celebration of graduates and the ceremony where you cross the stage to receive your diploma. You are required to apply for graduation to receive your degree or certificate, but it is not mandatory to participate in commencement.

    RSVP Deadline: Saturday, April 15

    If you would like to participate in the commencement ceremony, you must RSVP to the invitation you receive after applying to graduate.

  • Regalia

    Graduation regalia (cap and gown) is required to attend commencement. Caps, gowns, official graduation invitations, and class rings can be purchased from the NOVA bookstore.

    NOVA Bookstore

    Cap & Gown Loaner Program

    There is a limited number of caps and gowns set aside to assist students in need. To reserve a cap and gown, please complete the loaner request form below no later than Thursday, May 4th. Please note that tassels are not included and must be purchased separately.

    Loaner Request Form

  • Invited Guests

    Each graduate will be able to invite six (6) guests. Please select how many guests you will be bringing when you complete your RSVP.

  • Diplomas

    Diplomas will be mailed to the address you have on file in late June 2023. Regardless if you attend commencement or not, you will receive a diploma if your graduation application was processed.

    Our Central Records Office will send all communication regarding awarded degrees and certificates.

  • Day at a Glance

    Arrival: Graduates should arrive at the arena an hour and a half before their ceremony time. Please follow the posted signage for parking and where to assemble.

    What to Bring: We kindly ask all graduates to arrive in their full academic regalia and not to bring any personal items into the arena. We recommend students leave their belongings (purse, keys, jacket, sunglasses, etc.) with their guests.

    Commencement Overview: Commencement will begin with a processional, an official welcome, and a commencement address given by a guest speaker. Following the guest speaker, graduates will walk the stage to receive their diploma, with an opportunity to take an official photo after they cross the stage. A closing speech will be given by Dr. Kress and the ceremony will conclude with a recessional.

    Students should expect the ceremony to last approximately an hour and a half.

  • Security Measures

    For the safety of our patrons, everyone must pass through a security checkpoint before entering the arena. You may be subject to a physical search prior to entry, as there are a variety of items which are not allowed inside the arena.

    Prohibited items include, but are not limited to:

    • Weapons (guns, knives, pepper spray, etc.)
    • Outside food or beverages
    • Bottles, cans, containers and coolers
    • Balloons, silly string, noisemaking devices
    • Non-service animals
  • Photography & Flowers

    Photo Specialties will be taking photographs of each graduate during the commencement ceremonies. More information on proofs and how to purchase prints will be available soon.

    Flowers will be available to purchase on the concourse level of the arena.

Family & Guests

Commencement is an opportunity to celebrate what's possible with hard work, determination and the support of family, friends and classmates.

graduate taking photos with family
  • Parking

    More information coming soon

  • Accessibility

    All entrances to the Eagle Bank Arena are at street/concourse level. There are no steps or ramps to maneuver in and out of the entrances. Parking is available for guests with disabilities at both the South and West entrances, including a drop-off location near the West entrance. Please remember that all vehicles must display state-issued accessible parking tags to park in these spaces.

    The venue provides adequate accessible seating. ASL Interpreters will be provided on the day of the event. If you are an individual with a disability and require other accommodations to participate in or attend this event, please email


  • Photography & Flowers

    Photo Specialties will be taking photographs of each graduate during the commencement ceremonies. More information on proofs and how to purchase prints will be available soon.

    Flowers will be available to purchase on the concourse level of the arena.

Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.
—Minor Myers, Jr.


For any commencement related questions, please contact us at the email address listed above.

Ceremony Info

Monday, May 15, 2023

Ceremony 1: 10:00 a.m. (last names A-K)
Ceremony 2: 3:00 p.m. (last names L-Z)

Get Social

Tag us in your photos using #NOVAGrad2023