FAQs: What to expect for Commencement 2022

Last updated: May 18, 2022

We are looking forward to welcoming Bates families and friends to campus in May to celebrate the Class of 2022 graduates. Please note that we will continue to monitor COVID-19 and our plans, as outlined below, may need to change as the pandemic evolves. We will be updating the website as more details become available.

If you have any questions, email cschwart@bates.edu.

What, where, when

When is Bates Commencement 2022?

The 156th Commencement of Bates College will take place on Sunday, May 29, 2022, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending shortly after 12:00 p.m., on the Coram Library Terrace on the Historic Quad.

Will Commencement be in-person?

Yes, seniors will be able to participate in person.

Are tickets required? Is there a limit on how many guests graduating seniors may invite to the Commencement ceremony?

At this time tickets are not required and  there is no limit on the number of guests graduating seniors may invite to Commencement.

Where do families and guests sit? What time should they arrive?

Families and friends may sit in any areas not marked as reserved. Please ask an usher if you are unsure. Family members can arrive as early as 7:30 a.m. to begin selecting seats and we ask that all guests arrive and take their seats by 9:15 a.m. to view the Commencement procession.

Where do graduating seniors sit during the ceremony?

Seniors are seated in front of the stage in reserved seating alphabetically according to their last name. Seniors with the last name A-K will sit on the right side and seniors with the last name L-Z will sit on the left as you are facing the stage.

What will the Commencement look like?

It will be a traditional Commencement which will include a processional; various welcomes, remarks, and addresses; and the presentation of seniors. Each senior will be announced and invited to cross across the Coram Library Terrace and be congratulated by President Clayton Spencer. There will be a Senior Speaker as well as Honorands at the ceremony.

Will Commencement Weekend be accessible for people with disabilities?

Yes, all of our events are accessible. We will have a limited number of wheelchairs available to reserve. Please call Brenda Pelletier in the Conferences and Campus Events Office at 207-786-6400 to rent a wheelchair.

Will there be a professional photographer taking pictures during the ceremony?

Professional photographers from GradImages will photograph each senior as they step off the stage after receiving their diploma. A notification will be sent to each graduate approximately two weeks after Commencement to access their proofs.

When do graduating seniors need to move out of their dorms?

Graduating seniors should plan to move out of their dorms by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 29. Please contact the Bates Housing Office at housing@bates.edu for any questions or concerns regarding the move-out process.

If graduates have a sibling on campus can they stay through Commencement?

Siblings of graduating seniors who wish to remain in their campus housing through Commencement should reach out to housing@bates.edu to request approval. All siblings should note that attendance at senior week events is limited to seniors.

Will parents and families be allowed in campus buildings during Commencement weekend?

No, campus buildings remain closed to guests, and parents and families may not access campus facilities during the event for any reason. Portable restrooms will be available throughout campus.

The only exceptions to building entry will be those permitted by the Office of Residence Life during specific hours of student move-out.

What dining options will be open for parents and families?

We look forward to hosting families for the following meals: 

  • Saturday, May 28 from 5:30-7:30pm: BBQ outside Commons with seating under the Bardwell Field Tent
  • Sunday, May 29 from 7-8:30am: Coffee and continental breakfast under the Library Arcade 
  • Sunday, May 29 from 12-2pm: Traditional Commencement lunch in front of Commons and under the tent on Bardwell Field

Please note that the Den will be closed in preparation for the renovation of Chase Hall. Additionally, Commons will be open to students with a Bates ID only.

If you have not already made arrangements for other meals during the weekend, this list may be helpful.

Will there be water available on campus?

Water will be available during all events. Look for the canoes under the garnet feather flags along Alumni Walk, on the Historic Quad, and in other high-visit areas.

What dining options will be available for students during Commencement Weekend?

Members of the Class of 2022 and any other students who have been approved to stay on campus will have access to the following meals in Commons over the weekend. Commons is not open to families; Bates student ID is required to enter Commons.


Friday May 27 

  • 8-10am: Breakfast (Commons, students with a Bates ID only)
  • 12-2pm: Lunch (Commons, students with a Bates ID only)
  • 4:30-8pm: Dinner (Commons, students with a Bates ID only)

Saturday May 28

  • 10am-12:30pm: Brunch (Commons, students with a Bates ID only)
  • 5:30-7:30pm: BBQ Dinner with families (In-front of Commons, seating in the Bardwell Field Tent)
  • 12:30-1:30am: Senior Breakfast (Commons, students with a Bates ID only)

Sunday May 29

  • 7-8:30am: Breakfast (Commons, students with a Bates ID only)
  • 7-8:30am: Coffee and Continental breakfast with families (Library Arcade)
Where do I find local lodging accommodations for Commencement Weekend?

Rooms and hotels book very quickly over Commencement Weekend so we recommend planning for overnight accommodations as early as possible. For information on local accommodations, please visit https://www.bates.edu/about/location/area-dining-and-accommodations/.

What will the weather be like? How should I dress?

May weather in Maine is very variable. You should plan to bring clothing that is appropriate for rain and cool temperatures, as well as for warm weather. Please remember the ceremony is outside, so we recommend wearing shoes suitable for walking on wet grass.

What happens in the case of inclement weather?

Commencement is outside – rain or shine – but, in the case of thunder or lightening, the ceremony will be paused. Guests will be directed to the Gray Cage and Alumni Gym, students to Commons and Faculty to the Perry Atrium until the ceremony can be resumed.

Where can I purchase Commencement gifts?

The Bates College Bookstore sells Bates Commencement items. Items can be purchased online at http://store.bates.edu/.

Can I bring my pet to campus?

Pets are prohibited inside all campus buildings and at all dining events. Service animals are welcome.

The Commencement livestream

How can I watch the livestream?

The livestream will be public so friends and family members will be able to watch.

The two locations will afford the same viewer experience, With a four-camera setup, the livestream will show everything that takes place!

Will I be able to download the video file?

Yes. After the livestream is done, the video will be available on demand on Facebook and on the Bates YouTube channel, and available on demand and for download at https://www.bates.edu/commencement/live/

What time will the livestream begin?

The livestream will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. with the procession starting at 9:30 a.m. and the Commencement ceremony starting at 10:00 a.m.

How can families and loved ones participate in the Commencement livestream?

Our goal is to use all elements of social media to help a wide range of families and loved ones join this event in the virtual space. The event will be available on the Bates College Facebook page, allowing audience members to share in real-time their congratulations and shout-outs.

Leading up to Commencement, family members and loved ones can contribute a sentiment to the seniors, and it will appear on the #Bates2022 aggregation page within the hour. 

Will the ceremony livestream be accessible to viewers with disabilities? 

As with all Bates programming, we are committed to providing an accessible and inclusive commencement experience for students and their loved ones. While access considerations have been an important part of the planning process, we know that we may not be able to anticipate every potential barrier or need ahead.

If you anticipate barriers or would like to request an accommodation related to any of the planned programs, activities, or materials, please reach out to Brenda Pelletier, Associate Director of Conferences and Campus Events at bpelleti@bates.edu or 207-786-6400.

Will I experience connectivity issues, as I do with video conferencing?

Bates has successfully streamed past Commencements through the Facebook platform and it has proven reliable and accessible. There still could be hiccups based on internet speed and signal strength.

Public health guidelines

What are the guidelines for participants and guests at Commencement 2022?
  • All guests who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine must be fully vaccinated and boosted, or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arriving on campus.
  • As Commencement events are outdoors (rain or shine), the programs will be mask-optional. 
  • Campus buildings are closed to guests, and parents and families may not access campus facilities for any reason except as permitted by the Office of Residence Life during specific hours of student move-out. Portable restrooms will be available throughout campus.

As the college continues to monitor COVID-19, additional guidelines will be updated on this site.  

Where can I find information about COVID-19 rules and restrictions in Maine?

Information about COVID-19 restrictions in Maine can be found on the Maine CDC Website.

Where can I learn about the regulations affecting international air travel into the United States?

The Federal CDC offers guidance informing travel into the United States from other countries. For specific information about preparing to travel and next steps to take, please visit the Testing and International Travel page on the Federal CDC website.