Four hundred sixty-nine members of the Class of 2019 will receive their Bates degrees on Sunday, May 26, at the college’s 153rd Commencement.

The ceremony will take place on the Coram Library Terrace on the Historic Quad beginning at 10 a.m.


The college’s Commencement livestream features a four-camera setup that promises to bring viewers right onto the Quad.

The livestream begins at approximately 9:20 a.m. as the processional, which starts on Alumni Walk, reaches the Historic Quad. The livestream will be available on this page.


Is it going to rain? Well, somewhere, probably. But during the window of Commencement, the current forecast (as of noon Friday) calls for a slight chance of a shower, not enough to move the ceremony indoors.

Resources for Attendees

Bates’ Commencement page presents a host of resources for anyone attending the ceremony, including a schedule of events, campus map, and a list of FAQs.

Past Facts

For the history-minded, these 15 facts about past Commencements answer a variety of questions, including if this is the 153rd, or 156th, ceremony.

Jennifer Doudna is the 2019 Commencement speaker and will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Jennifer Doudna is the 2019 Commencement speaker and will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Bates will grant honorary degrees to three individuals, including speaker Jennifer Doudna, co-inventor of the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology and a leading public voice in the discussion of its societal and ethical implications.

Also receiving honorary degrees are Travis Mills, a Maine resident and Army veteran who became a quadruple amputee in combat and is now an advocate for combat-injured veterans; and Megan Smith, CEO of shift7 and former Google executive and U.S. chief technology officer who is a visionary for tech innovation, collaboration, education, and inclusivity.

The Setting

Weather permitting, Bates has held outdoor Commencements since 1971, with Coram Library as the ceremony’s backdrop.

In chronicling Coram’s design by New York City architects who helped to shape the Broadway theater district, Phillips Professor of Art and Visual Culture Rebecca Corrie once noted, “Is it any wonder that the facade of Coram has become such a perfect stage for the College’s most public and important ceremonies?”

In the early 1900s, students mounted a Greek play on the Coram porch each Commencement Weekend. This clip shows the 1934 performance of Aristophanes’ The Birds by the 4-A Players (now the Robinson Players).

Senior Address

Claire Ruth Naughton ’19, an environmental studies major and four-year volleyball player from Darien, Conn., will use the Icarus myth as the jumping-off point for her Senior Address.

It’s well-known that Icarus was told not to fly too close to the sun (a metaphor for hubris). Fewer are aware, says Naughton, that Icarus was also told to stay far above the sea, lest his wings get wet. Naughton wonders: Do our worries and fears keep us too low to the ground?

Claire Naughton '19 poses for her volleyball portrait in August 2018. (Brewster Burns for Bates College)

Senior speaker Claire Naughton ’19 poses for her volleyball portrait in August 2018. (Brewster Burns for Bates College)

Shades of Green

If it’s warm, much of the audience will be afforded welcome shade by various species of trees. Which ones? The Bates Canopy map has your answers.

New to the Stage

This year’s Commencement will be the first since last fall’s completion of the Coram Library Terrace. This project extended the library’s porch 15 feet outward from the original structure, eliminating the need to install a temporary wooden extension. New aluminum ramps up to the stage have replaced the resonant old wooden walkways.

By the Numbers
  • States represented in the Class of 2019: 36
  • Nations represented: 36
  • Maine students: 10.2 percent
  • First generation: 10.4 percent
  • Studied abroad: 61.2 percent
  • Varsity athletes: 40.1 percent


The class has accumulated 565 majors (374 single majors, 94 double majors, and 1 triple major, in economics, mathematics, and physics)

Majors Distribution

African American Studies: 2

American Cultural Studies: 2

Anthropology: 12

Art and Visual Culture: 20

Biological Chemistry: 19

Biology: 29

Chemistry: 8

Chinese: 9

Classical and Medieval Studies: 15

Dance: 5

Economics: 63

Engineering: 3

English: 36

Environmental Studies: 33

European Studies: 5

French and Francophone Studies: 8

German: 2

History: 18

Interdisciplinary Studies: 3

Japanese: 1

Mathematics: 29

Music: 3

Neuroscience: 19

Philosophy: 18

Physics: 14

Politics: 74

Psychology: 52

Religious Studies: 5

Rhetoric: 19

Sociology: 21

Spanish: 6

Theater: 4

Women and Gender Studies: 8











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