General Information for Commencement
Please click on an option below to learn more about that particular topic.
Academic Regalia (Cap and Gown Information)
Students should order their Cap and Gown from Oak Hall by April 1, 2020: washingtoncollege.shopoakhalli.com. There is no direct cost for the regalia, as this expense is covered by the graduation fee that all students must pay in order to graduate from Washington College.
Befitting this formal occasion, all graduates must wear the College-approved academic regalia in order to participate in Commencement exercises. This regalia includes a black cap and gown complemented by a maroon and white hood. For the commencement ceremony, students may wear cords or stoles that indicate their participation in a Washington College-recognized organization or activity, in addition to approved honor society pins or philanthropy cords. Only these cords or stoles may be worn; no other decorations or accessories, including decorations to graduation caps, are permitted. If you are unsure whether an item is approved, please contact the Registrar’s Office at email@example.com.
In keeping with the George Goes Green initiative, the regalia worn by students will be made from 100% recycled products and are for students to keep following the ceremony!
Commencement accommodations and events can be managed more efficiently if your reservations and payments are made in advance.
A list of area accommodations can be found on our Local Accommodations website. Some area hotels may have a “Commencement” rate. Please call them directly to inquire and make the necessary arrangements. You may also check the Chestertown Lodging page for other accommodation options.
A limited number of College residence hall rooms will be available for families and guests the nights of Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16, 2020 through Conference Services. The registration website will be posted here in the Spring for advanced sales.
For more information, call: (800)422-1782 ext. 7253 / or (410)778-7253.
Please note: All graduates must be moved out of their residence halls by 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, 2020.
ADA Access and Reserved Seating
There is no reserved seating at Commencement. If you expect to need assistance, please plan to arrive early to secure adequate seating. Seating at Commencement is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
No tickets are required if the Commencement is held outside. There is no limit to the number of guests you may bring. If poor weather conditions prevail and Commencement exercises are moved indoors, each guest must produce a ticket to gain entry to the Johnson Fitness Center. See the Indoor Ceremony Information section below or the Seating Diagrams and Ticket Information page for more information.
ASL Interpretation Services: There will be a sign-language interpreter at the Commencement ceremony. If you need direct sightline seating, please contact the Campus Events Office at (410)778-7888 by Friday, May 8.
Outdoor Ceremony Information
ADA Seating (Outdoor Ceremony): Accessible seating areas will be set aside to accommodate guests with disabilities and one companion. Seating in these areas is general and unreserved. Wheelchair spaces with companion seating are dispersed throughout the Commencement site’s general seating area. Please note that all seating areas are in the grass. Washington College does not provide wheelchairs. Ushers will help guide individuals to the designated area, and they will be available to assist attendees in any emergency.
Simulcast information, Captioning and ADA access (Outdoor Ceremony): Simulcast with captions are available via our streaming site https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/digital-media-services/live/ and in William Smith Hall in Room 113 and Norman James Theatre, both rooms are located on the 1st floor. ADA access to the 1st floor is via the ground floor through the rear of the building (Help Desk entrance) by use of the elevator. Please note that Norman James Theatre is a sloped space. This building is air-conditioned.
ADA Access for Restrooms (Outdoor Ceremony): Restrooms at the outdoor Commencement ceremony are available in William Smith Hall. For ADA Access, please use the rear of the building to access the elevators on the ground floor. Women’s Restrooms are available on the 1st and 2nd floors; Men’s Restrooms are available on the ground floor and the 3rd floor. Additional directional signs will be displayed.
ADA Parking (Outdoor Ceremony): Parking near the ceremony is limited. If your car has an accessible parking tag, you will be directed to drop-off guests with disabilities behind William Smith Hall and park in the nearest accessible parking space. There will be some reserved accessible parking and an easy drop-off area for guests with disabilities near the seating area. Courtesy carts and shuttles will be available to assist family members from parking areas to event venues. Designated areas near the Public Safety officers will be present at the location to help direct traffic and parking.
Indoor Ceremony Information
ADA Seating (Indoor Ceremony): In the event Commencement is indoors, the Johnson Fitness Center is ADA Accessible at the Main Entrance point. All seats are ADA accessible with room for wheelchairs. Restrooms in the hallway outside of the Field House are accessible.
Simulcast information, Captioning and ADA access (Indoor Ceremony): Simulcast with captions are available via our streaming site https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/digital-media-services/live/ and in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. This building is ADA accessible via the rear (Kohl Gallery entrance) or the front of the building (via a ramp to the left of the main entrance). This building is air-conditioned.
ADA Parking (Indoor Ceremony): Parking near the ceremony is limited. If your car has an accessible parking tag, you will be directed to drop-off guests with disabilities at the driveway of the Johnson Fitness Center and park in the nearest accessible parking space. Please note that there is a hill to enter the building, but access is available without steps. Courtesy carts and shuttles will be available to assist family members from other parking areas to event venues. Public Safety officers will be present at the location to help direct traffic and parking.
For access questions, contact Liz Shirk, Disability Access Specialist at 410.810-5799 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For guest comfort, indoor video-viewing locations will be available in several campus locations. Ushers will help you find these locations.
In the event that Commencement is held indoors, two additional viewing areas will be available
Rain Location venues will not open until 9:00 a.m.Guests that attempt to reserve seating for their families in rain locations will be limited to a total of four seats per family. There will be no reservations after 10:15 a.m.
- Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts (1st floor)
- Norman James Theatre, William Smith Hall (1st floor)
In the event of fair weather, air-conditioned alternate viewing with live video streaming will be available in the following locations:
- Norman James Theatre, William Smith Hall (1st floor)
- Room 113, William Smith Hall
On the Web
This event will be offered to virtual guests at https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/digital-media-services/live/ beginning at 10:25 a.m. on Sunday, May 17, 2020.
Do not bring your pets; only service animals are permitted at the Commencement.
Custom graduation announcements and other items may be ordered through Herff-Jones on their website or by calling (800)447-4723. The Washington College Bookstore does not provide this service.
The faculty and administration of Washington College wishes to create a courteous and respectful environment in which to celebrate our newest alumni. We ask that all Commencement attendees refrain from disrupting the weekend’s formal ceremonies through the use of noisemakers (such as air horns, cowbells and bullhorns), shouting or chanting, or high-volume mobile phone ringtones and conversations. Beach balls and other objects of distraction are prohibited. Additionally, College policies which restrict the use of tobacco and alcohol remain in force before, during and after the Commencement ceremonies. In particular, current students found to have provided alcoholic substances to their graduating classmates during the procession or conferral of degrees may be subject to judicial action.
Several weekend events will serve light refreshments while others require tickets or payment at the door. Please visit the schedule of events page for Java George and Dining Hall hours during Commencement Weekend or visit our site for advanced meal purchases. The registration website will be posted here in the Spring for advanced ticket sales.
Diplomas and Diploma Pick Up
Graduates’ diplomas will be available for pick up for one (1) hour immediately following the conclusion of the Commencement Ceremony.
Diploma Pick-up will take place in the Underwood Lobby of the Gibson Center for the Arts.
Graduates must present their student ID or other government issued ID to the Registrar’s Office Staff to receive their diploma.
Please be advised that family or friends may not pick up the diploma; the diploma must be picked up by the graduate.
Graduates who omit to pick up their diploma following the ceremony must contact the Registrar’s Office to make arrangements to receive their diploma.
Parents, Family & Friends
We invite the families of the Class of 2020 to honor their graduates and to show appreciation for a special member of the Washington College community by making a gift to the Washington Fund in honor of their graduate. Visit the Washington Fund page to find out more.
Display & wear your Washington College pride! From diploma frames to sweatshirts, find graduation gift ideas at the Washington College Bookstore.
Seniors! Use this link to the Washington College Donation pageto give your senior class gift. You can designate your gift to any cause of your choosing (Washington fund, club, department, team, etc.). Simply indicate that on the form followed by “2020.”
Graduating in absentia
Graduating students who are unable to attend Commencement must request to graduate in absentia. This request must be provided to the Registrar in writing or by e-mail no later than Monday, April 13, 2020. Students should briefly explain the circumstances leading to their request and should also confirm their mailing address. The Registrar’s Office will mail diplomas to in absentia graduates within one week after the Commencement ceremony, provided the student does not have any outstanding balances owed to the College.
Juniors and seniors approaching graduation will find a host of information related to the College’s graduation policies and requirements on the Graduation Requirements page.
Parking is available throughout campus. Please be aware that parking near the Commencement site and on the nearby streets is limited. Cars parked illegally or otherwise blocking College or town streets are subject to towing at the owner’s expense. Courtesy shuttles and golf carts will be running on Sunday starting at 9 a.m. and immediately following the ceremony to transport guests to and from their vehicles.
ADA Parking: Accessible parking is limited on campus. Even if your car has a handicapped permit, you will be directed to drop-off guests with disabilities behind William Smith Hall (outdoor ceremony) or front of the Johnson Fitness Center (indoor ceremony) and park in the nearest ADA parking area. Courtesy carts will be available to assist family members from parking areas to event venues. Designated areas near the Commencement ceremony venue will be restricted for special needs parking and easy drop-off of special-needs guests near the seating area. Public Safety officers will be present at the location to help direct traffic and parking.
The College has a contract with Grad Images to take photographs during the Commencement ceremony. Following Commencement, you will be contacted independently by the photo company with proofs to order. For more information, please visit their website: Grad Images. Due to the carefully orchestrated nature of the conferral procession, it is not possible for each family to approach the platform to take a picture of their graduate as they receive their diploma.
Ushers will distribute programs, one per person, starting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Digital versions are expected to be available after noon on Friday, May 15, 2020. The program will be posted online in a downloadable PDF format for mobile devices. You can download the program from this page or access it during the ceremony on a smart phone or a mobile web browser. We encourage you to consider the environment and Washington College’s commitment to sustainability by utilizing the digital version of the program during the ceremony.
No tickets are required if the Commencement is held outside. There is no limit to the number of guests you may bring. In the event of inclement weather, Commencement will be held in the Benjamin A. Johnson Fitness Center. To prepare for this eventuality, the Registrar’s Office will distribute tickets to graduates at the mandatory rehearsal on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Each graduate will be issued six tickets. It is each student’s responsibility to distribute these tickets to their friends and family in a timely manner, as admission to the Field House will be limited only to those with a ticket.
We encourage students who anticipate needing more than six tickets to speak with their fellow graduates well in advance of the rehearsal to secure extra tickets that others may not need. Additional tickets are not available for purchase.
Indoor viewing locations with live-streaming video will be available in several campus locations. See the “Alternate Viewing” section above for more information.
Weather and Rain Site Information
We all hope Commencement will be an outdoor ceremony. It will only be held indoors, in the Fieldhouse of the Benjamin A. Johnson Fitness Center, in the event of inclement weather. Please view the “Tickets” section above for more information on how to obtain a ticket if the Commencement exercises are moved indoors.
Guests are advised to check the Washington College website after 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Commencement for the location of the ceremony.
The College yearbook, Pegasus, will only be available electronically. The yearbook should be completed by Commencement; you may check for updates at anytime on their website: www.washcoll.edu/pegasus.