Class of 2021 Families – Commencement Briefing

On May 11, the Bates Parent Team hosted a briefing for Class of 2021 families. The recording below includes comments from:

  • President Clayton Spencer, who welcomed families and shared perspective on the Class of 2021;
  •  Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Josh McIntosh, who discussed ongoing health protocols for seniors, returning remote seniors, and Commencement guests;
  • Assistant Vice President for Dining, Conferences, and Campus Events Christine Schwartz, who shared numerous details on Commencement itself as well as how guests can navigate campus this year; 
  • Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life and Health Education Molly Newton ’11, who updated us on the move-out process for seniors.

Numerous questions were answered, covering everything from whether family photo ops are possible on campus (Wednesday is your best bet, as Thursday is seniors and guests only on campus), the menu for post-Commencement box lunches for seniors and guests (lobster rolls or portobello mushroom sandwiches!), and what ticket holders can expect from the Commencement Day schedule. We encourage you to watch the session in its entirety.

In addition to the questions answered live during the session, a number of questions were answered in writing. Those appear below the video.

What is the proper attire for guests attending Commencement?

Be prepared for the ever-changing Maine weather, particularly this year as we will be outside rain or shine!

When do Bates email addresses “expire?”

Seniors lose access to their student email accounts about a year after graduation. The Help Desk sends detailed information about this directly to their accounts, including the formal last day of access.

What do you want to see as proof of vaccination or a negative test?

We do ask that every guest be tested or fully vaccinated prior to arrival on campus , but neither children nor adults will be asked to show proof of a negative test or vaccination. We ask guests to take the health of the Bates and Lewiston communities – and of one another – seriously and observe these guidelines in good faith on the honor system.

For students who will not be at graduation due to rowing championships, when and how do they need to move out?

Rowers will receive detailed information around the move-put process when their schedule/travel details are finalized. The Housing Team works with the coaches/team to make sure they have enough time. If your rower wants to check in, have them email

Will Baccalaureate be recorded for viewing later?

Yes, there will be a recording, and the Parent Team will share it out via email with all senior families. Full details can be found here.

Will the graduation be “live-cast” via the internet?  And, will the graduation be recorded and available for viewing at other times?

Yes. All details about the livestream and about downloading or viewing the event after the fact can be found here

You mentioned that guests should meet their students after their Commencement ceremony and get boxed food at one of the four locations near senior residences.  What about students living off-campus or students who are remote or who finished in December and are coming back for Commencement? 

Students and ticketed guests can get boxed food from any of the distribution areas marked on the campus map. Your student can go to whatever location works best for them. The Frye Street location will be a great option for many students living off-campus.

Thank you – this all sounds great! What are you as staff most looking forward to about this graduation ceremony?

We are so excited to see so many seniors together in one place at one time. It hasn’t happened in 15 months!