Newport News Mayor the VPCC Commencement Speaker

Virginia Peninsula Community College announced Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones will be the guest speaker at its 54th graduation ceremony. The event is set for May 12 at 2 p.m. at Liberty Live Church in Hampton.

Jones is the 27th mayor of Newport News. Sworn in on Jan. 10, 2023, he is the city's youngest-elected mayor.

Hampton City Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith, who retires July 1, will receive the Dana B. Hamel Award. Named in honor of the first chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, the award acknowledges individuals or entities for their outstanding public service, fostering access to higher education, and promoting an understanding of workforce development’s role as an essential part of the College’s mission.

Graduates should arrive by 12:30 p.m. and guests by 1 p.m. The processional will start at 2 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served, but overflow seating will be available.

Visit for more details about Virginia Peninsula’s 54th commencement exercises.

The College will present numerous events for students, faculty and staff leading up to graduation day. Those include three commencement expos  – two at the Hampton campus and one in Williamsburg at the Historic Triangle campus.

The first two are May 2-3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Wythe Hall Gallery on the Hampton campus. The third is May 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the student lounge (Room 106) at the Historic Triangle campus. The expos are sponsored by the Office of Student Life & Leadership, and the Commencement Committee. Light refreshments will be served.

“The expos will provide an opportunity for students to come together for informal and fun activities, including graduation cap decorating and photos,” said Nykita Doggette of Enrollment Services. “Students also will have the chance to check on their completion status and check in at the last minute with an academic adviser.”

For students who want a professional graduation photo taken, TCS Photography will be on hand. Students should bring their caps and gowns. Doggette said there will be a “Bling your Cap” station for students to customize and decorate their caps. Also at the expos, students will be able to pick up their stoles and cords needed for graduation (SGA, TRiO and Veterans Services, etc.).

In addition, TSC Photography will be conducting interviews for students, faculty and staff to record well wishes to graduates. The recordings will be part of the commencement countdown video/presentation at the graduation ceremony.

On the day of graduation, there will be a gathering for faculty and staff in the Liberty Live gym/roving room at noon. There will be snacks, games, a raffle, and supplies will be available to make signs to support the graduates during the ceremony. Those interested are encouraged to RSVP to commencement by May 1.

One other item of note: On the day of graduation, Enrollment Management and Student Success offices will be closed. This includes Admissions, Records & Registration, Academic Advising, Accessibility Services, TRiO, Testing, Department of Athletics, Student Life & Leadership, and Great Expectations.