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.

Below is this year’s schedule. We have a great group of honorary degree recipients, plus answers to your questions and a way to see the event live if you are following a Bates grad from afar.

Update May 23: Unless the forecast calls for significant and/or prolonged rain, we are committed to providing an outdoor Commencement for our seniors and their families; it is what they, and we, want. At this time, the forecast for Sunday morning is for less than a 50 percent chance of a passing shower between 8am and 2pm. No forecast at this time suggests heavy or prolonged rain Sunday morning. Unless the forecast changes, we will plan for an outdoor Commencement — and enjoy our interesting spring weather together. The forecast for Saturday afternoon, for our Baccalaureate, remains promising.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

5:30 p.m.
Farewell celebration
What: Faculty and students celebrate the academic accomplishments of the Class of 2019
Who: Seniors, faculty and coaches
Where: Clifton Daggett Gray Athletic Building

Friday, May 24, 2019

2 p.m.
Class of 2019 Photo 
What: Class picture
Who: Required for all graduating seniors
Where: Garcelon Field (Rainsite Underhill Ice Arena)

3 p.m.
Commencement rehearsal
What: Commencement ceremony rehearsal
Who: Required for all graduating seniors
Where: Historic Quad (Rainsite Merrill Gymnasium)

5:00 p.m.
College Key induction
What: Membership in the College Key is awarded to juniors and seniors who distinguish themselves through their academic performance, athletic or extracurricular pursuits, service to the community and strength of character
Who: Inductees, their families and guests
Where: Olin Arts Center Concert Hall

6:30 p.m.
Phi Beta Kappa induction
What: Phi Beta Kappa is the national honor society for liberal arts colleges
Who: Inductees, their families and guests
Where: Olin Arts Center Concert Hall

7:30 p.m.
Sigma Xi induction
What: Sigma Xi is the national scientific society for liberal arts colleges
Who: Inductees, their families and guests
Where: Olin Arts Center Concert Hall

8:30 p.m.
Senior/Parents Wine and Cheese Tasting
What: Senior/parents wine tasting
Who: Senior/Parents
Where: Pettengill Atrium

Saturday, May 25, 2019

1 p.m.
Legacy Group photo
What: Photo of students with family histories at Bates
Where: Hathorn Hall steps

1:30 p.m.
Line up for Baccalaureate
Who: Ceremony participants
Where: Alumni Walk (Rainsite Merrill Gymnasium)

2 p.m.
Baccalaureate service
What: Baccalaureate celebrates students’ journey through Bates and beyond through the languages of many religions and spiritualities, and celebrates with poetry, music, dance and reflection
Who: Graduating seniors, their families and guests
Where:  Historic Quad (Rainsite Merrill Gymnasium)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

7:30–9 a.m.
What: A complimentary breakfast
Who: Graduating seniors, their families and guests
Where: Commons

8:30 a.m.
Line up for commencement
Where: Historic Quad (Rainsite Merrill Gymnasium)

9:30 a.m.
Commencement procession
What: Procession begins
Who: All are welcome
Where: Historic Quad (Rainsite Merrill Gymnasium)

10 a.m.
What: The ceremony you’ve been waiting for!
Who: All are welcome
Where: Historic Quad (Rainsite Merrill Gymnasium) A live video feed will be available for viewing in the Olin Arts Center, and the event will be livestreamed at

Noon (immediately following Commencement)
What: Complimentary lunch
Who: Graduating seniors, their families and guests
Where: Library Quad (Rainsite Clifton Daggett Athletic Building and Alumni Gymnasium)


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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