Attendance

We encourage all graduating seniors to attend the Commencement exercises. The Registrar’s Office sent you an email in February to declare your intent to graduate.

Feb Grads and Nongraduating Seniors

Participation

We invite Feb grads to return in May to participate in Commencement with fellow graduating seniors to receive their diplomas.

Nongraduating seniors who will complete their degree requirements after May but by February of the following year can participate in the Commencement ceremony, wear a cap and gown, and march with their department. However, they do not walk across the stage for a diploma and remain seated while the graduating seniors receive diplomas and canes. President Patton will recognize Febs and those who have not yet completed their degree requirements as a group during the ceremony.

Please notify the Registrar’s Office no later than May 1 if you are planning to participate in Commencement. Please indicate your name as you wish it to appear on the Commencement program, as well as your hometown or city, and state or nation. Double and joint majors must indicate which department they wish to march with.

Housing

Nongraduating seniors (Feb ’18 or those completing degree requirements after May 2017 but by February 2018) are allowed to stay on campus during Commencement Week. In mid-May, all nongraduating seniors will receive door slips in their mailboxes. If you do not receive a door slip, please contact Residential Systems Coordinator Karin Hall-Kolts.

Returning Febs must make special arrangements for on-campus weekend housing no later than May 1 by contacting Residential Systems Coordinator Karin Hall-Kolts at khall@middlebury.edu. Weekend housing is available from 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday of Commencement Weekend to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Please note: All students must move out of residence halls no later than 11:00 p.m. on Commencement Day so the College can prepare rooms for Reunion Weekend and Language Schools. If possible, ship nonessential items home in advance and pack remaining items during Senior Week.

Feb Celebration

Questions about the Feb Celebration in January should be directed to the Alumni and Parent Programs Office at 802-443-5183. We regret that we are unable to offer housing for families and guests during Feb Celebration.

Requirements

You must meet all graduation requirements to receive a diploma on stage during the Commencement ceremony. Nongraduating seniors may participate in Commencement exercises but will not be called to the stage. Students unsure whether they have met all requirements should contact the Registrar’s Office.

Regalia

Middlebury College provides complimentary caps, gowns, and tassels, which may be kept as souvenirs. You may pick up caps, gowns, and two keepsake Commencement invitations from the College bookstore (802-443-5334) on May 24–26 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), and May 27 (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.).

Attire

Please honor this dignified occasion and your family by wearing appropriate clothing and footwear. Dress for the weekend is typically smart casual. All ceremony participants must wear regalia at Commencement.

Tips

  • You wear a tassel on the right side of the mortarboard until after the bachelor’s degree is conferred, at which time you move the tassel to the left.
  • The dye in the gowns may bleed when wet. If it rains, you may want to wear rain gear beneath the gown to protect your clothing. The College provides ponchos at lineup that you can use for this purpose.
  • Remember to remove your tassel before throwing your cap!

Tickets

Tickets are not required for Commencement Weekend events. However, some indoor events have limited capacity. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis for the Baccalaureate service in Mead Chapel. A live broadcast of this service will be provided in Wilson Hall in McCullough Student Center and Dana Auditorium in Sunderland Language Center. Mead Chapel is not air-conditioned, so for guests who prefer a more comfortable setting, Wilson Hall and Dana offer cushioned seating and air-conditioning.

Senior Awards

Individual departments and programs will present departmental awards and prizes at their Commencement Weekend receptions or at other end-of-year events of their choosing. Departments or programs will notify students.

Phi Beta Kappa

Students elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society, are notified via email no later than 5:00 p.m. the Thursday before Commencement. The Phi Beta Kappa ceremony is Saturday at 9:00 a.m. in the Olin C. Robison Concert Hall at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Continental breakfast is available in the lobby at 8:30 a.m. Phi Beta Kappa recipients and their guests are welcome.

Private Parties

Graduating seniors may reserve certain residence hall lounges for small private gatherings on Friday and Saturday of Commencement Weekend. Gatherings may not be scheduled on Commencement Day. Nonresidential College facilities and/or outdoor public areas are not available for private parties, and no tents may be erected.

Seniors must make reservations for these gatherings no later than May 1. Please review party regulations and complete a registration form before reserving a space, then fill out an event reservation request form. (Log in with your Middlebury username and password.) Family members may not make reservations.

Due to high demand on Commencement Weekend, the College cannot provide equipment and support services for private events. The people hosting the party are responsible for tables, chairs, catering, setup, and cleanup. Caterers must be on the College’s list of approved caterers. If alcohol is to be served, the laws of the state of Vermont must be adhered to. Private parties cannot be held in those facilities licensed by the College.

Dining

The College offers several complimentary meals as part of the weekend event. Those and additional dining options are listed on the dining page.

Accessibility Services

The College offers services for guests with disabilities during Commencement Weekend. Please visit the Commencement website for details.

Photography

Professional photographers will photograph each graduate as they accept their diploma. See Commencement Gifts and Memorabilia to learn about ordering photographs and videos.

We have reserved two areas for family photography. They are on either side of the senior-seating section near the stage (see Commencement Detail Map). Families may enter these areas to photograph their graduates as they approach and cross the stage. Families should arrive just before their graduate’s department is called to receive diplomas. We ask that people not linger as space is limited.