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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 Lawn. 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.
  • Remember 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 Sunday morning.
  • Set up a predetermined location to meet your graduate after the ceremony for family photographs, to meet friends, etc.
  • Pack rain gear before you travel to Chestertown, even if rain is not forecasted.
  • Wear 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 may sink into the grass, especially if there has been rain over the previous week.
  • Wear a hat.
  • 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 son or daughter’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 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 rain or shine in the following locations:
    • Norman James Theatre
    • William Smith Hall
    • Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts
    For more information, visit the General Information page and click on the “Video” link.
  • 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 main Commencement page when it is available.
  • After Commencement, don’t forget to visit the Reception on the Martha Washington Square for light refreshments and celebration with graduates, faculty, family and friends.