Especially for Guests

Commencement update for the Class of 2020

Watch the 2020 celebration online Sunday, May 31 at 12 p.m. EDT:

Facebook Live:  https://www.facebook.com/WellesleyCollege/
Class of 2020 Website:  https://www.wellesley.edu/classof2020/


Due to the ongoing public health crisis, Wellesley will not be able to host an in-person commencement this year. While nothing can replace our traditional commencement, we invite you to join us for a special online event on Sunday, May 31 at 12 p.m. EDT, to celebrate the achievements of and award degrees to the remarkable red class of 2020. This celebration will allow us all—family, friends, faculty, staff, and alumnae—to join together as a community to acknowledge the accomplishments, compassion, and courage of our seniors.

The program will feature remarks from Dean Marquez, Senior Class Council, President Johnson, the student speaker, and the class of 2020 commencement speaker, whose identity will be revealed as part of the program. Seniors have requested that their names not be read individually as part of the celebration, so instead we will present the names of each graduate in aggregate in a series of slides.

We invite you to join the conversation on social media using #Wellesley2020. Many of the messages and photos will be included on the class website, and this is a great way to celebrate each student while families and friends may be physically apart.  

This will not be the last time we celebrate the class of 2020. We look forward with great anticipation to a time when it is safe for us to gather on our campus to recognize these outstanding seniors as they begin their journeys as Wellesley alumnae.

Please note: For those who are not able to join us live, a recording of the celebration will be made available on the Class of 2020 website.

Family Gathers in quad

We hope to welcome family and friends back to campus for a future celebration

While nothing can replace our traditional commencement, this May 31 we will go forward with a virtual ceremony, during which we will confer degrees so that graduates are able to move forward with careers and further academic pursuits. And next year, when we expect this pandemic has passed, we will gather here at Wellesley to celebrate in person with our red class of 2020.

We look forward to welcoming you to campus as we celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of your student.  As planning 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 **Original plans for 2020 now postponed**

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 has reserved a room block at a group rate for the families of the Class of 2020 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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RELIGIOUS OFFERINGS: Our goal is to be inclusive of all religions. Learn about plans for commencement religious accommodations.

The Wellesley College 2020 Commencement Ceremony would have taken place just after the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which falls on Thursday evening, May 28, 2020 through Saturday, May 30, 2020. Shavuot services will be held on Thursday, May 28 and Friday, May 29, and Saturday, May 30 at the following local synagogues:

Temple Beth Elohim (Reform)   
10 Bethel Rd, Wellesley, MA 02481 
 
Temple Israel of Natick (Conservative)
145 Hartford St, Natick, MA 01760
 
Please contact Rabbi Dena Bodian, Wellesley College's campus rabbi, if you are shomer shabbat and are interested in accommodations during the holiday.
 
For students on campus during Senior Week activities, The Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr will take place May 24-27.  Seniors who want to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr on campus should contact Amira Quraishi, Muslim Life Coordinator. 
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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 by May 15, 2020.   **This form is now closed due to the postponement of an in person celebration. 

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

Requested wheelchairs will be available on the morning of Commencement. 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 Severance Green Tent, as well as indoors at Alumnae Hall Auditorium.  When registering for accommodations, please alert us if you would prefer to use one of the tickets for the main tent your student has been allotted, or if you would prefer to have seating indoors at Alumnae Hall Auditorium, which is air conditioned.  We will do our best to accommodate your first choice.

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 will be available upon request to get guests with disabilities to and from parking, the ceremony, and the reception.

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

Requests may be made for a sign language interpreter for American Sign Language (ASL), Signed English, Cued Speech, and Video Captioning Seating.

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 an in person celebration 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

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 for a future in person ceremony for our 2020 graduates

Original 2020 plans:

Commencement Exercises Sunday:

Tickets will not be required for the ceremony in 2020. There should be adequate seating to accommodate your guests. Additionally, there is seating available in air conditioned venues including Jewett Auditorium, Collins Cinema, and Pendleton Hall.  This ceremony is also livestreamed.

Baccalaureate Saturday:

Each graduating senior will be issued one complimentary guest ticket for the Baccalaureate service at Houghton Chapel.  Seating is limited in the chapel. No additional tickets may be purchased. Only seniors and guests with a ticket will be seated inside the Chapel. Additional viewing areas will be available for family members and the service will be livestreamed.

 

 

 
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Weather preparations

Please take into consideration the ever-changing nature of New England Weather. The Commencement ceremony under the tent on Severance Green Lawn will continue rain or shine. In the event of rain, please be prepared to wear appropriate shoes and clothing. We also recommend 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.  

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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.  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.