Commencement 2014: A quick guide

For Bates seniors and their families, Commencement is one of life’s peak experiences.

Politics professor Leslie Hill hugs a graduate after the ceremony. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen

Politics professor Leslie Hill hugs a graduate after the 2013 Commencement ceremony. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen

It closes one chapter and opens another, with all the attendant hugs, goodbye and hello. It culminates a huge personal and intellectual achievement.

For seniors, it’s spring foliage, Senior Week togetherness, something silly on your mortarboard and that long dazed walk behind the piper.

The Class of 2014 by the numbers. (Click to enlarge.)

The Class of 2014 by the numbers. (Click to enlarge.)

Life’s peak experiences, of course, tend to happen just once. This is a plus on the specialness side of the ledger, but a minus on the knowing-the-ropes side.

In that spirit, here’s a primer for getting the best from Commencement at Bates, the 2014 edition.

When, Who, Where

Though related activities begin days earlier, Bates’ 148th Commencement ceremony itself takes place at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 25, on the Historic Quad, Campus Avenue and College Street (or Merrill Gym in case of rain).

Some 448 students will receive bachelor’s degrees, and President A. Clayton Spencer will confer honorary degrees on four notable Americans:

Isabel Wilkerson, author of "Warmth of Other Suns."

Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns.

Commencement weekend happenings also include a panel discussion with the honorands at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 24, in the Olin Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.; and Baccalaureate, a senior-designed celebration embracing many faiths and the arts of poetry, dance, music and more, at 2 p.m. May 24 on the Historic Quad.

Resources for Attendees

Visit for a host of resources for families attending Commencement, including a schedule of events, campus map and list of FAQs.

Virtual Commencement

If you won’t be on campus, Bates Communications provides multiple channels for following Commencement at a distance.

The next best thing to being there is the college’s Commencement livestream, available at

Fans of social media are invited to participate using #batesgrad and #batescollege, but with social media channels abundantly abuzz during the weekend, you can keep abreast of the action at a single site:

After the Fact

Starting on Commencement afternoon with photography, video and a news report from the May 25 ceremony, Bates Communications rolls out coverage during the following hours and days. For news stories and all manner of still and motion photography, including the ceremony in excerpts and its entirety, please bookmark