Information about Commencement 2021

Dear Members of the Class of 2021,

I write today to share information about Commencement and how we plan to celebrate and formally mark your graduation from Bates in May. 

Last week, Maine Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order that eased restrictions on public gatherings. Accordingly, we are pleased to announce that Bates plans to hold an in-person Commencement on Thursday, May 27. In order to celebrate in person, while adhering to state regulations regarding the number of participants and physical distancing, we plan to hold two full Commencement ceremonies outside on the Historic Quad, each accommodating one half of the senior class. Each graduating senior may invite two guests to attend.

As you know, the ongoing pandemic will continue to require patience and flexibility from all of us. I hope you will understand that while our goal is to host an in-person Commencement with guests in attendance, our plans depend on the course of the pandemic over the next two months and state guidelines that apply at the time of the ceremony. Many details remain to be worked out, but because we know how important Commencement is to you and your families and loved ones, we wanted to be in touch now so that you can begin to make your own plans.

Here are some things we know now:

  • We are planning ceremonies that follow our traditional Commencement program: class procession, speakers, honorary degrees, and the opportunity for each senior to walk across the stage at Coram, hear their name called, and celebrate this moment of transition and accomplishment in community with their class.
  • We will be able to accommodate two ticketed guests per graduating senior. Details on the ticket reservation process will be coming soon.
  • We will broadcast the two Commencement ceremonies via livestream on and Facebook so that families and friends are able to join the celebration remotely. Likewise, you will be able to watch the half of your class participating in the other ceremony. 
  • We will be unable to provide actual diplomas during the May 27 ceremonies, as final grades will not yet have been processed. Graduating seniors will receive their official diplomas by mail as soon as grades are finalized and degrees certified.
  • As is true every year, seniors will be required to depart campus on Commencement day, following the ceremonies. We will provide shuttles to the Portland Jetport and Portland Transportation Center, beginning on the afternoon of May 27. We will share additional details as our planning evolves.

Meanwhile, we will offer an array of senior class programs for May that will bring members of the Class of 2021 together to celebrate in safe ways. We are also in conversation about how we can include seniors who are studying remotely this semester. The Office of Campus Life and Dining, Conferences, and Campus Events will work collaboratively with the senior class co-presidents to plan these programs and events. You can expect to hear from this team soon.

Given the challenges that you and other students have faced over the past two academic years, I am thrilled that we will be able to celebrate your graduation from Bates together, in person, on the Historic Quad. 

I wish all of you a successful remainder of the winter semester and a strong finish to your Bates experience. We are excited to honor all that you have accomplished and will carry forward into the world beyond Bates.