Frequently Asked Questions
Middlebury will host an in-person, on-campus ceremony for our graduates on Saturday, May 29, 2021, starting at 2 p.m. Students may each invite two guests, so students and families can be together to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2021. Seniors and their guests will assemble in six different locations to comply with Vermont crowd size limits and distancing requirements. The Commencement ceremony—including the keynote address, senior speaker address, the president’s address, and honorary degree conferrals—will be simulcast to each venue. The names of graduating seniors will be read and diploma cases and canes will be conferred at the various locations where graduates and their guests are assembled. A full schedule will be posted on the Commencement website when it becomes available.
The state of Vermont has strict gathering-size and distancing requirements, and there is no one location on campus where we can meet these regulations and include all seniors and guests. To maintain physical distancing and keep crowd size within Vermont rules requires us to use six different venues. These multiple venues will allow guests to be physically present in the audience to watch their graduates receive degrees. In addition, while we encourage all attendees to become vaccinated before attending the ceremony, we do not yet have a way to verify vaccination status. Therefore, we are planning with the assumption that all guests are unvaccinated.
Yes, each student may invite two guests. All guests must follow Vermont COVID-19 travel guidelines, which changed on April 9. All participants must wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, and practice hand hygiene along with all other state and College-mandated health and safety measures. However, seated guests may remove masks during the Commencement ceremony. Hand sanitizer stations will be available at each venue. Please note that no more than two guests will be permitted, regardless of vaccination status.
Guests are not required to register. Please review “Commencement Ticketing” on the Announcements page.
Yes, the entire event will be simulcast online. Anyone who wishes to watch it may do so. Information about how to do that will be posted on the Commencement website.
The ceremony and the proceedings at each outdoor venue will also be recorded and made available on the commencement website within 48 hours for friends and family to view, or download and share.
Q Did you consider allowing anyone who’s been vaccinated to attend Commencement, rather than limiting the number of guests?
Unfortunately, we must limit the number of guests to two. While we strongly encourage all who are able to become fully vaccinated before the event, it is important to note that the majority of seniors and many guests will not have the opportunity to do so. In addition, we do not have the ability to verify visitor vaccination status in a timely manner prior to the event and therefore must assume that all guests are unvaccinated, which limits crowd sizes even outdoors. We ask that you respect this decision and recognize the tremendous work that our students, faculty, and staff have done during this entire academic year to keep our community safe. These policies were made in the same spirit of safety that has helped Middlebury remain a vibrant learning community, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Yes. Graduating students who are studying remotely will have the option of either attending the ceremony virtually or attending in person if they are able to complete all Vermont travel and quarantine requirements and any College requirements in place at that time. For health and safety reasons, remote seniors will not be permitted to attend any other events or be on campus for any other reason other than Commencement. We regret that we are not able to allow any other guests or ’20.5 February graduates to participate. Please review the specific guidelines here.
February ’21.5 graduates presently enrolled as in-person learners were given the option to remain on campus to participate in the ceremony with approval from the Dean of Students Office. We regret that we will not be able to allow those individuals to invite guests to this ceremony and that Febs enrolled as remote learners or on leaves of absence are not eligible to attend. We will, however, have our typical Feb Celebration and ceremony for all February ’21.5 graduates next year.
Q Can students who graduated earlier this year as part of the Class 2020.5 participate in Commencement?
Unfortunately, we cannot invite 2020.5 alumni back to campus or include them in the Commencement ceremony. They may, however, attend as one of each senior’s two guests.
Siblings currently studying on campus may attend as one of each graduating senior’s two guests at the ceremony. They may not be a third guest. To be counted as a guest, siblings must first request and receive approval from Residential Life to remain on campus. Please email email@example.com to request permission.
Due to the circumstances of the pandemic, we cannot offer the same types of activities that we would in an ordinary year leading up to Commencement. However, the Senior Committee is planning celebratory events for the senior class. The goal is to give graduating seniors a chance to connect as a class before Commencement. Informal group gatherings have, however, been the source of recent outbreaks on other college campuses, and we need to do everything we can to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
All May graduates will receive their diplomas by mail by the end of June. New this year, Middlebury graduates will also have access to a digital copy of their diploma that can be securely downloaded or shared. Graduates will receive an email with instructions on how to access their digital diploma around mid-June.
We regret that we are not able to hold the usual senior picnic or allow other gatherings on campus after the ceremony. All guests and remote seniors who have returned for the ceremony must leave campus at the conclusion of Commencement.
Yes, Baccalaureate will be held Friday, May 28th at 5:00 p.m. on Voter Lawn. Only seniors may attend the ceremony. Please RSVP vis Presence. Others may view the ceremony via live stream. The link will be available on the Commencement web site on Saturday.
GradImages has been on campus to take photos of students for their Senior Portraits. If you have not signed up there is one more session of photos scheduled for May 27th from 9am to 6pm. These photos will be put in the 2021 yearbook and this will include the 2021.5 Febs. If you are unable to have photos taken on campus, please put a photo in the google folder.
When placing a photo in this link, please make sure you are dressed appropriately, it is submitted as a jpeg and that you name the file with your last name, first name. Please click the link below to access the google folder:
To sign up for photos on May 27th, please click the link below:
Our official photographer GradImages will be at the ceremony to photograph graduates in their cap and gown immediately after receiving their diploma case and cane. Photographs will be available for purchase the following week at gradimages.com.
Guests must remain in their designated seating areas as graduates accept their diploma cases and canes and may not move to other sections to take photos or for other purposes.
The regalia that on-campus grads ordered is available for scheduled pick-up in the Grille Conference Room in the Student Center. Pick-up is by appointment only. Please use the following link to schedule: https://piezbwcigdjkwfgvsw.10to8.com
Graduating remote seniors that will attend the commencement ceremony will receive their cap and gown when they check in at the registration tent at their department’s seating site. Remote seniors may not pick up their regalia from the College Store prior to the ceremony.
The College Store will mail caps and gowns to students studying remotely who are not returning for Commencement.
If you have any questions about ordering regalia or scheduling an appointment, contact the College Store at firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduating seniors living on campus may remain on campus until noon Sunday, May 30—the day after the Commencement ceremony.
The move-out deadline is noon on May 30. Many airlines are allowing for flight changes without fees during the pandemic. Please try to reschedule your flight to May 30. For the rare circumstances that require a late stay, please email email@example.com.
Many airlines are waiving change fees during the pandemic. For students for whom this is not the case, and for whom the associated costs present a substantial financial hardship, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact email@example.com.
Unfortunately, no. We will not be able to welcome the members of the Class of 2020 back to campus for a commencement celebration this June, as we had originally hoped. The College will work with Class of 2020 representatives to plan a future celebration. We understand the importance of marking the achievements of the Class of 2020 and are committed to offering a celebration for them at the earliest possible opportunity.