Weather and Frequently Asked Questions

11:59 p.m. May 30 update: Commencement on Sunday will be held indoors at Merrill Gymnasium due to forecast of rain and thunderstorms. This information has been communicated via to seniors. See below for ticket information.


Are tickets needed?

  • Tickets are required for Commencement on Sunday In Merrill Gymnasium.

How do I get tickets?

Graduates were given four tickets on Friday at Commencement rehearsal to be distributed at their discretion.

It is the responsibility of the graduate to retain these in a secure place as replacement tickets will not be issued. Once the tickets have been distributed, no more will be available.


Where is overflow seating?

If Merrill Gymnasium is filled to capacity, family or friends who do not have tickets can watch the livestream in Olin Concert Hall or Underhill Ice Arena, the latter being directly across from Merrill Gymnasium. Both locations will feature a live video projection of the Commencement ceremony and are pinned on our Campus Map.


What is the Baccalaureate Service on Saturday?

You can find more information about this year’s Baccalaureate Service on the Multifaith Chaplaincy site, or by contacting Emily Wright-Magoon with questions: ewrightm@bates.edu or 207-786-6125.


How is Commencement seating arranged?

Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis except in those areas reserved for graduates.


Where can I park?

Campus Parking Lots are available to Commencement visitors throughout the weekend. A map of lots can be viewed here. Parking on nearby city streets is permitted according to posted parking regulations.


Is Commencement Weekend handicapped accessible?

All Commencement weekend events are handicapped accessible. Bates reserves a parking lot for the convenience of guests with handicap vehicle tags. The lot is on the corner of Campus Ave. and Nichols St. across from the Historic Quad.

For Commencement itself, if held inside Merrill Gymnasium because of inclement weather, the first row of parking spaces in the Merrill Gym parking lot will be reserved for guests with handicap vehicle tags.

To assist those who may have difficulty walking on campus, the college provides a number of wheelchairs to be borrowed for the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies. To reserve a wheelchair, please contact Brenda Pelleteir at 207-786-6400 or via email bpelleti@bates.edu.


Where can we find a hotel?

We recommend you make hotel or inn reservations as early as possible for this busy weekend. As with Parents & Family Weekend, local hotels fill up early, and families find Freeport, Augusta, Brunswick and Portland convenient alternatives. See our list of area accommodations here.


Who are the Commencement speakers?

Each year a different group of commencement speakers are chosen and an announcement will be made in early May. Stay tuned!


How do I get a copy of the professional photographs taken?

Bates hires a commercial studio to photograph each senior receiving his or her diploma. Seniors and their families will be contacted in mid-June about ordering prints.