Especially for Guests

Commencement update for the Class of 2021

The College is hopeful that the public health situation will improve enough to allow us to host a celebration on Friday, June 4, 2021, that will include an in-person event along with many virtual elements. At this time, we expect that we may need to limit the in-person event to seniors living on campus, as we don’t anticipate being able to safely bring December finishers and seniors living off campus, families, or friends to the College by June. We will continue to monitor the vaccination rollout and hope to communicate final plans by early March.

Family Gathers in quad

Class of 2021 plans are currently being reviewed.

As planning for spring 2021 progresses, we will post updates on this website.

During a typical commencement celebration, Family and friends are welcome to attend the commencement ceremony.  Some years require tickets, but more often the celebration is open to all guests that are able to come. Below is information to help you plan your visit including accessibility accommodations, hotels, religious offerings, dining hours, parking, and more. Please contact us with any questions we may not have addressed here. Contact us by email at commencement@wellesley.edu or phone us at 781-283-2375.

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Hotel Information **Please do not make reservations until ceremony plans are announced**

Start planning your trip to Wellesley College months in advance. Many book hotel rooms months in advance in antiicpation of graduation season. 

The Office of Parent & Family Programs often reserves a room block at a group rate for the families at several area hotels.  Rooms are based on availability.  Please make sure to request the Wellesley College Commencement room block. 

  • To reserve the Hampton Inn, Natick, MA click on the hotel name or call 1-508-653-5000.
  • To reserve the Verve Crowne Plaza in Natick, MA please call 1-800-265-0330. 
  • To reserve the Babson Executive Conference Center in Wellesley, MA, please contact the hotel by phone at 1-781- 239-4000, ask for the Reservation Office, and request the Wellesley College Commencement room block. 
  • To reserve the Marriott Courtyard, Natick, MA, click on the hotel name or call 1-508-655-6100.
  • To reserve the Residence Inn, Natick, MA, click on the hotel name or call 1-508-651-5250.
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Accessibility and Disability Resources: Commonly Requested Accommodations

Need disability-related accommodations? Students or guests needing disability accommodations during Commencement should make accommodation requests using the Disability Accommodation Requests online form.  

Questions? Email accessibility@wellesley.edu or call  781-283-1300 or 781-283-2434. View map with disability access points on campus.

Manual Wheelchair for use during Commencement

If an in person ceremony takes place in 2021 we may not be able to provide wheelchairs during the pandemic. Your family member will need to sign for the chair at pickup and return it by 3:00 p.m. To rent a wheelchair privately, you may contact Byrne Home Health Center in Natick by calling 508-655-3656.

Accessible Seating because of a mobility, hearing, seeing, or health-related disability or impairment

There is limited seating capacity in the accessible areas of the ceremony site, as well as auxilliary viewing areas.  Registering early will help us to plan for any accommodations.

Accessible Seating with Aisle Space for a guest using a wheelchair

Please make a request to ensure enough maneuvering and aisle space.

Accessible Drop-off Area

There will be a drop-off area at Commencement for guests with disabilities who request this and are being driven to the ceremony.

Accessible Parking Area

A designated parking area will be provided for guests who have mobility impairments and are driving themselves and make this request.

Transportation between Parking Area, Ceremony, and Reception with lift-equipped Van

Transportation may not be available during the COVID-19 pandemic so please plan accordingly. If the ceremony is open to visitors, we will ensure that there is proper egress from parking to the ceremony site as well as offering a drop off area.  We are monitoring all state, federal, and local guidelines and will update this site with any new information.

Interpreters, Transliterators, and Captioning for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing

Our commencement ceremony is live captioned.  Requests may be made for other accommodations using the form.

Alternative-Format Programs for individuals who are blind or have low vision  

Requests may be made for audio, large print, or Braille Commencement programs: Please make your request for a large print or Braille Commencement program early to allow for production time.

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Dining on Campus

Wellesley Fresh Dining Hours for Spring 2021 will be posted when available.  

2019 Hours for an example of what is typically open during commencement celebrations:

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Bae Pao Lu: 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Tower: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM, Ramadan Service 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Pomeroy: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Bates: 7:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Emporium: 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Leaky Beaker: 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Thursday, May 30, 2019
Bates: 7:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Bae Pao Lu: 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Tower: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM * Closed for Picnic Lunch
   Ramadan Service 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Pomeroy: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Emporium: 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Leaky Beaker: Closed
*Optional Picnic Lunch at Tower Courtyard. See Ticket information.

Friday, May 31, 2019
Bates: 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Tower: 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Pomeroy: 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Collins Cafe 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM  *Near ceremony venue
Emporium: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
​Leaky Beaker: Closed

More information about our culinary centers

 

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Parking information

Typical arrangements for in person events:

Baccalaureate Day
There is no shuttle service or golf cart service on Thursday.   If you are attending any activities on campus, please only park in public parking areas. The Davis Garage and the Science Center Meadow may be used for all activities. Founders Lot parking will open for the public after 3:30pm.  There will be an access van to accommodate any guests with mobility needs.

Commencement Day
Parking attendants will guide families to several locations around campus. Once you have arrived on campus via the Route 16 or Route 135 entrances and are on College Road, parking attendants will be available to help you find a parking space. A designated parking area will be provided for guests who require accessible parking and have the appropriate tag.  

There is a drop off loop if you wish to let your guests off at the nearest location to the celebration site.  You can then park your vehicle and meet back up with your guests.

Please take note of the lot you are parked in. It is easy to forget which location you are parked in as many of the spaces are in fields.  

There will be transportation, both shuttle service and golf car service, from the parking areas to the ceremony and back to the parking areas.

View the Commencement Map and print a copy to note where you have parked.

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Ticket Information **Will be updated **

 

Commencement Exercises:and other related programs

Ticket information for the class of 2021 will be updated when plans for the ceremony are announced. 

 

 

 

 
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Weather preparations

Please take into consideration the ever-changing nature of New England Weather. An in person commencement ceremony that is planned for outdoors, will continue rain or shine. In the event of rain, please be prepared to wear appropriate shoes and clothing. Umbrellas at the site are discouraged as they block the view of other guests.  Ponchos or rain gear with hoods are recommended. We also suggest bringing your own reusable water bottle to help reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles and cups. This is particularly helpful in the case of a very warm day. There will be water stations set up at the ceremony if current guidelines allow this.

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Flowers, Graduation Gifts, Bookstore Hours

Commencement Flowers will be set up near the commencement ceremony early in the morning to offer beautiful bouquets of flowers for sale, if this is allowed under current guidelines.  You may also pre-order flowers if you prefer. Order Flowers in advance or at the kiosk located near the ceremony.  

Class Rings, Diploma Frames, Announcements are available through Herff Jones.  

The Wellesley College Bookstore has wonderful gift ideas. The Bookstore Hours are typcially: 
Friday: 9am-3pm
Saturday: 9am-3pm
Sunday, Commencement Day: 9am-5pm

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Safety and Security

Safety and security are paramount at Commencement.
Our safety precautions are intended to ensure Commencement and related events run smoothly. We appreciate your assistance as we work to ensure that Commencement is a joyous occasion for all.

Bags, Luggage, Backpacks, and Other Large Containers
Commencement attendees are respectfully discouraged from bringing large bags, luggage, backpacks, and other large containers to any Commencement activities. Please know that all such bags and containers are subject to search. Attendees are also asked not to leave personal property unattended while attending Commencement.

In the event unattended property is discovered, it may be inspected in place, removed, and searched for ownership information by College officials. Any removed property may be recovered at the Wellesley College Police Department located in the Davis Parking Facility or you can call campus police at 781.283.2121 (extension 2121 on-campus) to inquire about removed or recovered property.

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Travel Visa

Obtaining a travel visa for family members to visit from other countries?

If you would like to invite your immediate family members to visit the United States for your graduation ceremony, they may need to apply for a B-1/B-2 tourist visa at the American Embassy in their home country. The Registrar's Office will assist you by providing the letter authenticating that your student is a graduate at the commencement ceremony.  Students should visit this page and submit the Google Form to the Registrar's Office to begin the process.  Questions? contact registrar@wellesley.edu

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Photography and Videography

Videography
Wellesley College videotapes the full Commencement Exercises and posts this video on YouTube for students and families to enjoy.

Photography
The respective companies will contact graduating seniors directly to offer these items for sale. You are not under any obligation to purchase the photos.

Panoramic Photos of Senior Graduating Class on Severance Hill:
Panfoto, 781.788.9595, Order form **Graduates can still order a copy of their Orientation photo

The senior class photo had been scheduled to be taken on Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 1:15 p.m..  This may be re-scheduled for a future in person celebration.

Individual Photos of Graduates Receiving Diplomas:
Grad Images is the professional photographer hired for this event to capture three different photographs of each student during the conferring of degrees. These photographs will be available for students and their families to order. We encourage all students to pre-register with Grad Images in order to have viewing access to the proofs. Pre-Registration closes on commencement day. Register here
Once pre-registration closes, students and families who would like to see the proofs and haven't pre-registered should contact: Customer Service Department at (800) 261-2576, online at www.gradimages.com, or email giservice@gradimages.net. Grad Images has a large team of customer care representatives ready to help graduates and family members with anything they may need.
 

Additional Photo opportunities with your student

Wellesley College Campus is alive with beautiful plantings and gorgeous outdoor settings. Throughout the Commencement activities, there will be many opportunities to take photographs. Here are some of our favorite photo opportunities:

Senior Week activities
Saturday Senior Class Photo
Saturday Procession to the Chapel for Baccalaureate
Saturday post Baccalaureate Reception
Sunday pre ceremony and post ceremony

During the commencement ceremony we recommend that families stay at their seat and snap a photo of the Jumbo Screen showing their student processing and more fun candid shots that will appear on the viewing screens in all locations.  

Friday post ceremony light lunch is a beautiful setting for gathering everyone together for celebratory photos.