smallest hero image

Commencement

The information below contains information pertaining to the May 22, 2021 Commencement exercises. (Rain date: May 23, 2021.) 

General Information for Commencement

Students coming to campus to participate in commencement in person will pick up their regalia and honor regalia at commencement rehearsal. We will ship all regalia and honor regalia to graduates who do not wish to participate in commencement in person. The Office of Student Records and Registration will send out a link with RSVP and address request information. This RSVP is due by April 16th.
 

There is no direct cost for the cap and gown, 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 Office of Records and Registration at registrar@washcoll.edu.

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.

HOUSING FOR GRADUATES

All graduates currently living on campus will remain on campus through commencement. Any graduates not currently living on campus or in the local community (Chestertown and surrounding areas) are invited to request a room in a residence hall on campus for a portion of commencement week. We are working on a registration form for graduates to request housing, and we will communicate more details in the coming weeks. Housing for graduates is not limited, so rest assured that any graduate that needs housing in order to participate in commencement activities in-person will be able to sign up for it! There will be no cost associated with this housing. 

HOUSING FOR GUESTS

We regret that we are not able to house commencement guests in our residence halls this year.

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 Kent County Lodging page for other accommodation options.

DINING HALL/MEALS

Meals in the dining hall for graduates that are currently living on campus will continue to be covered through commencement under their respective meal plans. All graduates moving to campus for commencement week will be able to pay a special rate for meals in the Dining Hall.

Accommodations for Students:

All graduates currently living on campus will remain on campus through commencement. Any graduates not currently living on campus or in the local community (Chestertown and surrounding areas) are invited to move into dorms on campus for a portion of commencement week. We are working on a registration form for graduates to request housing, and we will communicate more details in the coming weeks. Housing for graduates is not limited, so rest assured that any graduate that needs housing in order to participate in commencement activities in-person will be able to sign up for it! There will be no cost associated with this housing.

Even if you are fully vaccinated we are still requiring proof of a negative PCR COVID test. Even vaccinated individuals can get the virus and/or transmit it to others (although that risk is certainly less than for un-vaccinated people) and we want our ceremony to be as safe as possible!

COVID TESTING FOR GRADUATES

All graduates planning to participate in commencement in-person will be required to have a PCR COVID test, administered by Washington College Health Services on campus, on Wednesday, May 19. Anyone with a positive test result will not be permitted to participate in commencement. Graduates planning to participate in the in-person commencement who are not currently on campus or in the Chestertown area and cannot make it to campus on May 19, can submit proof to Health Services of a negative PCR COVID test no more than 72 hours prior to May 22.

An e-mail with details was sent to students on April 29, 2021 from Gina Ralston. Please check your e-mail or the main commencement page for the contents of this e-mail.

 COVID TESTING FOR GUESTS

Guests will be required to send in proof of a negative PCR COVID test no more than 72 hours prior to May 22. Guests who have been vaccinated still must send proof of a negative COVID test. 

You must email the results of your negative test to Health_Services@washcoll.edu. They should be emailed no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 21.

For more details, please visit the Commencement COVID FAQs page.

Each graduate is permitted to invite and register two guests. Guest invitations are not transferrable among graduates. Registered guests will pick up their tickets at commencement check-in on the morning of the ceremony. Each registered guest must pick up their own ticket.

The due date for registering guests will be Monday, May 3. 

Each graduate may register two guests to attend the commencement ceremony. You will need the following information to register your guests: 

  • First and last names 
  • Phone numbers 
  • Email addresses 

If your guests will need a disability-related accommodation, please indicate this on the form when you register them. 

Guest registrations are not transferrable. If graduate A is not attending commencement, and graduate B is attending, graduate B may not use graduate A’s guest registrations. With all of the COVID restrictions, space limitations, and information we have to gather in advance, we have to limit each in-person graduate to two guests regardless of how many graduates attend in-person. Thank you for understanding! 

This registration is being done through CampusGroups. We have tagged all graduates in CampusGroups that have RSVPed to the Office of Student Records and Registration that they will attend commencement in person. If you have not RSVPed, you will not have access to the guest registration form. To RSVP for yourself for commencement, please respond to the Commencement RSVP email from the Office of Student Records and Registration. If you think you have not received the RSVP email, please email registrar@washcoll.edu with Commencement RSVP in the subject line. Once you have RSVPed for yourself, we will tag you in CampusGroups for the guest registration, and you will be able to register your guests. If you do not have access to log into CampusGroups with your WC email and password, please email Carol Landis (clandis2@washcoll.edu).  

Graduates may now use the link to register their guests: http://cglink.me/2gU/r1076133 

We will have a designated section of ADA seating for registered guests with mobility concerns or those requiring sight line seating. To request ADA seating, in addition to registering this guest when guest registration is open, please email campus_events@washcoll.edu.

The Transportation Department is happy to offer shuttle services for graduating students who are planning to attend graduation.  These services are provided to graduating students only, no guests will be permitted on the shuttle Space is very limited due to COVID 19 and passengers must follow all protocols, including wearing a mask at all times while in the vehicle.  
 

Transportation will be provided from/to the following:  Dulles Airport (IAD), BWI Airport (BWI), Philadelphia Airport (PHI), New Carrollton Train Station, and Wilmington Train Station.  Please note, these are the only days/times that shuttle transportation is available.  

To secure a seat on the bus, please do the following as soon as possible and no later than Friday, May 14, 2021:  

Graduates must do the following: 

  1. Email transportation@washcoll.edu 
  2. In the Subject Line, type - Graduation Shuttle
  3. In the body of the email please include the following information:  

1.  Full Name and Washington College ID number

2​ Cell Phone number

3.  Arrival Location (BWI, Dulles, Philadelphia Airport, New Carrollton or Wilmington Train Station) 

4.  Date of arrival (see pickup/times below)

5.  Departure location (BWI, Dulles, Philadelphia Airport, New Carrollton or Wilmington Train Station) - see drop off times below

6.  Date of Departure 

 

Dates the shuttles are available:  

SHUTTLE TO CAMPUS: 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021  
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 
Thursday, May 20, 2021 
Friday, May 21, 2021 

Pick up times/locations: 

Dulles Airport (IAD):  7:00 p.m.  Pickup will be at Ground Level Door 2 Curb 2B 

Philadelphia Airport (PHI):  7:00 p.m.  Pickup will be curbside at Terminal C. 

BWI Airport (BWI):  7:30 p.m. Pickup will be at the Southwest departure area (outside) 

New Carrollton Train Station:  7:00 p.m.  Pickup will be at the Kiss and Ride area on Rt. 50 side. 

Wilmington Train Station:  7:30 p.m.  Pickup will be in front of the French Street Entrance. 

IMPORTANT NOTE
Students arriving on campus on the Tuesday shuttle will participate in the Wednesday, May 19 on-campus Covid surveillance testing protocol. Those students should email Health_Services@washcoll.edu prior to May 14 and let them know that they will be arriving on Tuesday and need to enroll in the Wednesday testing. All other arrivals must have proof of a negative PCR Covid test in the 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus and submit that proof to Health Services no later than May 21 at 4:00 p.m. Health Services staff will not be available to accept emails after 4:00 p.m.  Students who have not been accessing campus this semester will also be required to complete a paper symptom attestation form on the morning of all graduation activities as well as commencement.
 
For more information about commencement and answers to some FAQs, go here: https://www.washcoll.edu/campus-events/commencement/commencement-covid.php

On the web:

Senior Awards: This event will be available to stream at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 20 at bit.ly/SeniorClassAwards2021

Sophie Kerr Announcement: This event will be available to stream at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 21 at bit.ly/SophieKerrPrize2021

Commencement Ceremony: This event will be offered to virtual guests  beginning at 10:25 a.m. on the day of the event at bit.ly/WC2021Commencement

Animals are not allowed at Commencement.  Do not bring your pets.

Shoes: If held outside the cermony is on grass. We recommend that all guests and graduates wear flat-soled shoes.

Clothing: We recommend guests dress in layers. The temperature can change quickly and it may be windy.

Other Items: Wear or bring sunscreen,  sunglasses and a hat. Pack rain gear, just in case! Binoculars are also helpful. A water station will be available, but pack your own as well.

Chairs: The college will provide a chair for each guest. 

Custom graduation announcements and other items may be ordered through Herff-Jones on their http://colleges.herffjones.com/college/_washingtoncoll/ or by calling (800)447-4723. The Washington College Bookstore does not provide this service.  

The faculty and administration of Washington College wish 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.

College policies restrict the use of tobacco and alcohol before, during, and after the Commencement ceremony. 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.

The location for diploma pick up for 2021 is in Martha Washington Square.

Graduates’ diplomas will be available for pick up following the conclusion of the ceremony utnil 2:30 p.m.

Graduates must present their student ID or other government issued ID to the Office of Records and Registration staff to receive their diploma.

Please be advised that family or friends may not pick up your diploma; the diploma must be picked up by the graduate.

Graduates who neglect to pick up their diploma following the ceremony must contact the Office of Records and Registration to make arrangements to receive their diploma.

We invite the families of the Class of 2021 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.

Use the Washington College Donation page to 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 their class year. Graduates who donate $20.21 or more before graduation will be recognized by being provided a philanthropic honor cord to wear for the ceremony.

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.

Please visit our dedicated Commencement Parking webpage for more information, including information on ADA accessible 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.

Each ticketed guest will find a program on their designated seat.

For those attending virtually, a digital version is available here: 2021 Commencement Program

Restrooms are available in the surrounding campus buildings including William Smith Hall, Daly Hall, and the Hodson Hall Commons. 

Signs will direct you to the restrooms in William Smith Hall. This building is ADA accessible by use of the back door (opposite of the Campus Green). 

COMMENCEMENT GUESTS

With Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement on March 9th lifting capacity restrictions on indoor and outdoor venues, we are able to announce that we will be holding commencement in-person for our graduates and some guests. (Waiting to make a final decision has paid off!) We have been unsure of our ability to allow guests, and we are now moving forward with plans to allow each graduate to invite and register two guests to attend the outdoor ceremony. This is not something we thought would be possible even just a month ago, and we are so excited to allow limited numbers of friends and families to celebrate with us in-person. We will, of course, live stream the event for any family and friends who cannot attend in-person. Unfortunately, because of the capacity restriction, we will not be able to have the usual presence of faculty at commencement, either on the platform or in the audience. 

COVID TESTING FOR GUESTS

Guests will be required to send in proof of a negative PCR COVID test no more than 72 hours prior to May 22. Guests who have been vaccinated still must send proof of a negative COVID test. Please be on the lookout for information on how to submit those results.

For more details, please visit the Commencement COVID FAQs page.

GUEST REGISTRATION

Graduates will be responsible for registering their two guests in CampusGroups. A registration link will be emailed to all graduates in the coming weeks.

COMMENCEMENT SEATING FOR GUESTS

Upon arrival to campus, all guests will check in at Roy Kirby, Jr., Stadium before making their way to the Campus Lawn where the ceremony will be held. At check-in, all guests will complete a symptom attestation with a temperature check before being issued a ticket. Each ticket will show an assigned seat on it. We will distribute tickets for seats closest to the stage first. Tickets will be distributed on a first come first served basis. 

If your guest needs access to seat assignment specific to a disability related accommodation (wheelchair, sight-line seating for ASL interpretation, etc.), please e-mail campus_events@washcoll.edu.  

All guest chairs will be set up in pairs with six feet of distance between each pair.

ADA SEATING AND ACCESS

We will have a designated section of ADA seating for registered guests with mobility concerns or those requiring sight line seating. To request ADA seating, in addition to registering this guest when guest registration is open, please email campus_events@washcoll.edu.

We all hope Commencement will be an outdoor ceremony so that graduates can celebrate with their guests!

We plan for Commencement to be held on Saturday, May, 22, 2021 at 10:30 AM with a rain date of Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 10:30 AM.

If the weather is questionable, we will make a decision 24 hours prior to the ceremony start time and will communicate that decision through email and social media.
 
In the event that the ceremony cannot happen outside on either day, the ceremony will be held for graduates only in the Benjamin A. Johnson Fitness Center Fieldhouse.
 

Others may watch the event through the college's livestream.

Guests are advised to check the Washington College website after 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Commencement for ceremony updates.

Please check back soon for information on The Pegasus. This publication is now completely digital.