When and where will the commencement ceremony take place?

Commencement will take place Saturday, June 12, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. Central Time. As is tradition, the ceremony will be held outdoors on the Bald Spot, rain or shine. The event also will be live-streamed so family and friends can share in the experience wherever they are in the world.

Will this be a traditional commencement ceremony?

Yes, we intend to maintain as many of the traditional elements of ceremony as possible: academic procession, remarks by President Poskanzer and a selected graduate, awarding diplomas on stage, and the singing of the Carleton Alma Mater.  The printed program will list all graduates and their honors.

What is the schedule for the morning?

Registered parents and guests will be permitted on campus at 8 a.m. Graduating seniors are required to check in with the Dean’s Office staff at a tent between Boliou and Olin from 8 to 8:45 a.m. The live-stream will begin at 9:10 a.m. and the academic procession kicks off at 9:20 p.m. The program on stage begins at 9:30 a.m. and concludes by 11:30 a.m.

Will guests be able to attend the commencement ceremony?

After careful consideration, and in consultation with public health experts, two guests per graduate will be allowed to attend the in-person ceremony. All guests need to be registered in advance in order to attend. There is a limited number of seats, which will only be available to pre-registered guests.

Will there be any restrictions in place related to COVID-19?

In keeping with our commitment to provide the safest possible in-person experience for all attendees, face coverings will be required to be worn on campus at all times, and seating will be distanced for all students, faculty, staff and guests during the ceremony. Everyone in attendance must remain seated during the ceremony.  Additionally, for the protection of all in attendance, it is our strong preference that all attendees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arrival. Those who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 test 72 hours before the event. Information about local test providers and vaccine providers is available on our website.

Will there be a Senior Week?

Yes, the Student Activities Office has put together an exciting lineup of Senior Week activities for the Class of 2021.

Will there be an opportunity to meet with my student’s professors?

Virtual receptions have been planned.  On Friday, June 11 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., all seniors and their parents are invited to join professors in Zoom meetings associated with departments and programs.  In addition to the Zoom meetings, there is also an opportunity to explore a virtual Bald Spot using a website called “Gather.” (Parents: this virtual space works on a laptop only, so it may not be easily available to you if you are in Northfield for Commencement.) Please see a quick guide to Zoom and Gather.

What will students currently on campus need to do in order to participate in commencement?

Prior to participating in the ceremony, all on-campus and Northfield Option seniors who are not fully vaccinated will be tested for COVID-19 on June 1 as part of Carleton’s existing surveillance testing program. A positive test will result in isolation, and the isolation period will be completed prior to the date of commencement. Any close contacts identified through this testing will be required to quarantine and will be tested for COVID-19 on commencement day in order to allow participation in the ceremony.

Can students who are currently off campus participate in commencement?

All seniors who are not currently on campus and wish to return for Senior Week or commencement are invited to do so, but must complete the Senior Week/Commencement Housing Form by Monday, May 17, to ensure a space in campus housing is reserved for you. Proof of vaccination status will be required at check-in on campus. Those who are not fully vaccinated (14 days post final dose) will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival on campus.

Arrival times for those who plan to participate in Senior Week activities are 2-5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8. If you will only be attending the commencement ceremony, you should return to campus on Friday, June 11, between 1 and 4 p.m.

When will graduates need to move out of their campus housing?

Following the ceremony, all residential seniors should be prepared to move out of campus housing no later than 3 p.m. As has been our policy for the entire academic year, outside guests will not be permitted to enter campus residences.

Where should guests park vehicles?

Parking on campus is very limited, but there is plenty of street parking available south of the campus.

What time should guests arrive for the commencement ceremony?

Guests may arrive on campus anytime after 8 a.m. We ask that you be in your seats by 9:20 a.m. and remain seated during the ceremony. Out of respect for others, we ask that there be no artificial noise makers, air horns or megaphones used during the ceremony.

Weather…or not?

The ceremony will take place outside, rain or shine, unless there is lightning or severe weather conditions.  Please check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly.

Where can snacks or other last-minute items be purchased?

Sayles-Hill Campus Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.  The Bookstore carries snacks, batteries, sun block, sunglasses, umbrellas, and other last-minute supplies that may be needed (cash or credit card accepted).  Sayles Café, however, can only accept campus OneCards.

Are there restroom facilities?

Everyone in attendance must remain seated during the ceremony unless needing to use the restroom facilities.  There are standard and handicap portable toilets on the sidewalk south of the ceremony site.  In addition, there are restrooms in Hulings Hall, Skinner Chapel, and Sayles-Hill.

Is photography allowed during the ceremony?

You may take photographs from your seat. However, in keeping with our commitment to provide the safest possible in-person experience for all attendees, we must insist that all guests remain seated during the ceremony and not approach the graduate seating or stage areas.

For your convenience, Carleton has arranged with Grad Images for professional photographers to take a set of photographs of each graduate at the ceremony: a close-up image (similar to a headshot) and a three-quarter body length portrait holding their diploma.

The Grad Images Pre-Registration website offers 20% off your entire order. Three to five days after Commencement you will receive an email to view your proofs online, and you will have the option of ordering from a variety of packages. There is no obligation to purchase. Carleton does not benefit from this arrangement; it is provided as a service to graduates and their families.

Can the commencement ceremony be viewed online?

Yes, the ceremony will be live-streamed so family and friends can share in the experience wherever they are in the world. The stream will begin at 9:10 a.m. Central Time and will last to the conclusion of the ceremony at about 11:30 a.m. The video will be archived online at the same web address for on-demand viewing afterward.

What about lunch?

Complimentary grab-and-go box lunches will be provided on the Bald Spot following the ceremony for all in attendance.

But wait, there’s more!

We invite families and friends of the Class of 2021 to celebrate your graduate with printable signs for your yard or window, social media banners and graphics, and graduation-related gifts… all available from the Commencement 2021 website.