What to Expect

Commencement is held on the central campus lawn in the vicinity of Munroe and Voter Halls. The College hosts an outdoor ceremony so our graduates can invite family, friends, and guests. However, in the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be at the Peterson Family Athletics Complex. If this should happen, we will communicate all necessary logistics and information to the graduates by email, and we will post the new information on the Commencement website as soon as it is available.

Be prepared for all weather conditions. (Bring warm coats, rain gear, hats, sunscreen, etc.) Wear shoes appropriate for damp, uneven, grassy terrain.


Seating is first come, first served. We respectfully ask that guests refrain from saving multiple seats for large groups.

When to Arrive

“Early birds” begin arriving at 8:30 a.m. Attendance will grow steadily by 9:30 a.m.

Reserved Seating (See Commencement Detail Map)

The graduating class sits in front of the stage. The Parents’ Committee and special guests sit immediately behind them. Faculty sit in tents on either side of the stage. An area for American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is located to the graduates’ left, and an area for wheelchair seating is to the graduates’ right. These areas are clearly marked. General seating is behind the Parents’ Committee and special guest seating.

Indoor Venues

A tent to provide sun or rain protection will be located behind the general seating area. For those who wish to be inside, we will provide a live broadcast of the ceremony in Wilson Hall in the McCullough Student Center (directly behind the rain tent) and Mead Chapel (up the hill).

Where’s My Grad? (See Graduate Seating Chart)

Graduates sit with the department or program with which they choose to march and are called to the stage alphabetically by department. Whether a department sits to the left or the right of the center aisle depends on the number of graduates in each department, which we do not know until several days before the event.


  • Complimentary programs are available at the three small tents along the primary walkways into the Commencement site, as well as at the entrances to indoor venues. We will also offer large-print programs at these locations.
  • Complimentary beverages such as coffee, tea, and water are available at the two round beverage tents.
  • Flowers are available for purchase at the vendor tent on Storrs Walk.
  • A first aid tent is staffed by members of Middlebury-Regional Emergency Medical Services for medical emergencies.
  • The accessibility-services tent provides information and assistance for guests with disabilities.
  • Student ushers can provide directions and assist with seating guests.
  • Portable toilet facilities (including accessible toilets) are situated around the Commencement site’s perimeter for your convenience, as many campus buildings are locked for security reasons.

9:00 AM—Graduate Registration and Lineup

Graduates should arrive for lineup at 9:00 a.m. Please be punctual so we can verify attendance. You must check in at the registration tent at the Davis Family Library’s main entrance prior to taking your place in line. Your name will not be called at the ceremony if you have not registered. You will also receive the tassel for your cap at the registration tent.

You will line up alphabetically with the department or program with which you chose to march, which is listed on your intent-to-graduate form. (That decision cannot be changed on Commencement Day.) The procession will form on the paved walkway along Starr Hall and the Axinn Center. Graduates will form two lines facing Old Chapel.

Signs will indicate the location of each academic department or program. You should assemble with your department or program and line up in alphabetical order.

9:50 AM—Procession Begins

The processional music begins on stage and the valedictorian, salutatorian, and student marshals lead graduates to the Commencement site. Please maintain the double line that was formed in lineup. The marshals will stop in the center aisle at the rear of the senior seating area, and the two lines of graduates will turn to face each other, allowing the faculty to process between them. Once the faculty have passed through, the marshals will proceed to the front and direct graduates to their seats.

See Commencement Detail Map

10:00 AM—Commencement Exercises Begin

The ceremony and the conferring of degrees take approximately two hours.


The folder you receive on stage at Commencement contains your diploma. Please take it with you after the ceremony and keep track of it during the Commencement luncheon.

Luncheon for Graduates and Guests

A complimentary luncheon is served on the Mead Chapel lawn immediately following the ceremony. When the ceremony ends, recessional music plays as the graduates proceed in formation up to the chapel. Please prearrange a meeting place with your family. The luncheon rain sites are Proctor, Ross, and Atwater Dining Halls.