Frequently Asked Questions

Important Commencement Information

Are tickets needed?

  • Tickets are not needed for Baccalaureate on Saturday, whether the event is inside or out.
  • Tickets are required for Commencement on Sunday if there is inclement weather and the ceremony is moved inside.  If outside, no tickets are necessary.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets are required for the indoor Commencement ceremony in Merrill Gymnasium. Graduates will be given four tickets at rehearsal on Friday 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. If the forecast predicts inclement weather please plan accordingly, knowing that seating will be limited.


What if the weather is bad?

In the event of inclement weather, both Baccalaureate and Commencement will be relocated to Merrill Gymnasium. Weather-related location changes will be communicated on this page as well as via an e-mail sent to your senior. As seating is limited in Merrill Gymnasium for Commencement, a ticket is required for entry.

Overflow Seating

If Merrill Gymnasium is filled to capacity, overflow seating is available at Olin Arts Center and Underhill Arena. 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: 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

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.