For Bates mason Ron Tardif, installing the class ivy stone each May is a labor of respect for the graduating class.

“On behalf of the whole Facility Services crew, I wish the Class of 2020 the best of luck. Congratulations!” he said while expertly placing this year’s stone into brickwork near the Pettengill Hall entrance.

Commencement 154

What: 154th Bates Commencement
When: Noon, Eastern Daylight Time, May 31, 2020
Where: The ceremony will be conducted remotely via livestream.
How to Watch:
Bates Web: bates.edu/commencement/live/ (via Facebook embed)
Facebook: facebook.com/batescollege
            The two locations will afford the same viewer experience.

Ron Tardif, mason for facility services, installs the Class of 2020 ivy stone on the front of Pettentill Hall, to the right of the building's entrance.

Bates mason Ron Tardif installs the Class of 2020 ivy stone near the front entrance of Pettengill Hall. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Paying close attention to detail, Tardif chiseled, adjusted, and spread mortar on the four sides of the stone, before cleaning away the excess and inserting the stone into the side of the building.

Showing the Hathorn bell tower, the favored design is by Hazel Simpson ’20 of Katonah, N.Y. She did the work before the pandemic put a premature end to the Class of 2020’s campus experience. Collette Monuments of Lewiston engraved the design into the stone.

Ron Tardif, mason for facility services, installs the Class of 2020 ivy stone on the front of Pettentill Hall, to the right of the building's entrance.

The Hathorn Hall bell tower is the focus of the Class of 2020 ivy stone, shown being inset on a front wall of Pettengill Hall by Facility Services mason Ron Tardif. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“In a way, the stone I designed no longer seems fitting,” she says at first. “It doesn’t reveal anything about the Class of 2020’s unique and challenging graduation and senior year.”

But after reflecting a bit more, Simpson changes her mind. While the pandemic has cast a long shadow over their senior year and graduation, the class still has a precious trove of positive Bates memories.

The focus on Hathorn reflects some of her experience. “I have great memories of Hathorn: classes I attended there, walking up the steps in the snow, and taking photos outside in the fall. My friends and I took a photo on the steps on our last day at Bates.”

Installing the ivy stone is a labor of respect for Facility Services. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“I spent three and half years at Bates before COVID-19,” Simpson says. “The pandemic does not define my college experience. I want our class to be remembered as the Class of 2020, not as the COVID class.”

Installation of a class ivy stone is a Bates tradition dating to the 1870s.

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