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Tips for an Enjoyable Commencement

This page contains numerous tips shared by graduates, parents and other guests who have attended previous Commencement ceremonies.

  • The College makes every effort to hold Commencement exercises outside on the Campus Green. If there is a passing threat of rain we will try to have an outdoor ceremony. We suggest that graduates and their guests prepare accordingly. We will move Commencement inside if severe weather is expected.
  • Make plans to obtain the rain location tickets from your graduate. Students will receive them on Friday afternoon at the mandatory rehearsal, even if rain is not forecasted for Saturday morning.
  • Set up a location to meet your graduate after the ceremony for family photographs, to meet friends, etc.
  • Pack rain gear before you travel, even if rain is not forecasted.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen – it is far more common to have a very sunny day in May than a rainy one!
  • Bring binoculars.
  • Wear sensible shoes. High heels sink into the grass and get stuck in bricks.
  • Wear layers. It could get hot; or, it could be cool and windy.
  • Give yourself at least a full hour to find a seat and get settled. It’s exciting to watch the preparations.
  • The seating for Commencement is on flat ground. Please don’t expect to get great photographs from the general seating area. Two photographers will capture the awarding of your graduate’s diploma from different angles. These professional photos will be available for ordering on-line following Commencement Weekend. We encourage you to sit back and enjoy the moment!
  • Restrooms are available in the surrounding campus buildings including: William Smith Hall, Miller Library, Daly Hall and the Hodson Hall Commons
  • Water will be available, but we recommend that you bring your own as well.
  • Indoor air-conditioned viewing locations with live streaming video coverage of the Commencement Exercises will be available in the following locations:
    • Norman James Theatre, William Smith Hall - Shine Only
    • William Smith Hall 113 - Shine Only
    • Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts - Rain Only
  • Commencement will be offered to virtual guests via the web as a live video stream. The link to this stream will be posted on the college’s homepage.
  • After Commencement, join the reception in Martha Washington Square for light refreshments and celebration.