Bowdoin Commencement Bowdoin Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions

How many guests can attend Commencement? Do we need tickets?
How long does the ceremony last?
Are buses and shuttles available for guests needing assistance?
Where can my student order a cap and gown? How much does it cost?
Where can I buy Commencement gifts and invitations?
Where may I take photographs?
How do I get a copy of the photographs taken by the professional photographer?
What will the weather be like?
What if it rains?
How should I dress?
Where can I park?
Where do those with physical disabilities park?
Is medical assistance available?
Is wireless internet access available on campus for visiting guests?
What is the College’s policy for alcohol?
Are pets allowed?

How many guests can attend Commencement? Do we need tickets?

No tickets are necessary for the Commencement ceremony, and you may bring as many guests as you wish.  Parents and guests of students may sit in any area not marked as reserved. 

How long does the ceremony last?

The exercises last approximately an hour and a half and should be finished by 12 noon.

Are buses and shuttles available for guests needing assistance?

Golf carts, driven by volunteers, will begin running on Friday evening and will be available to shuttle guests needing assistance from the main campus to the Baccalaureate ceremony and from the Lobster Bake to parking. On Saturday after the Commencement ceremony, larger shuttle buses are available to transport guests from the Commencement Exercises to the luncheon; buses pick up in front of Moulton Union. Golf carts will also be available on Saturday after the ceremony; golf carts pick up in front of the Chapel.

Where can my student order a cap and gown? How much does it cost?

Graduates will place their cap and gown orders online after spring break in early April.  Students will be notified when online orders are available. There will be no charge for the cap and gown. Students may keep their regalia.

Where can I buy Commencement gifts and invitations?

A variety of wonderful Commencement gifts, from diploma frames to invitations, are available at the Bowdoin Bookstore.

Where may I take photographs?

There are photography areas clearly marked near the stage to the side of graduate seating. We understand that parents and other guests very much want to take photos of this special event, but we ask that you please show consideration for others when taking photographs or video taping and that you respect any requests to move or sit down. Jostling for position and blocking the view of others during the exercises mar the day for everyone.

How do I get a copy of the photographs taken by the professional photographer?

A professional photographer from GradImages will photograph each graduate receiving his or her diploma. You do not have to arrange for this in advance; proofs will be sent automatically (in approximately two weeks) to each student’s home address. Registering your graduate with GradImages provides them with the information they need to deliver your graduation proofs to you in a timely manner. Pictures can be ordered online, by phone or by mail. Graduation Images can be contacted at 800-261-2576 or www.gradimages.com.

What will the weather be like?

May weather in Maine is extremely variable! Commencement guests are advised to be prepared for almost anything. Guests who bring a raincoat, umbrella, and a sweater in addition to clothing for warmer weather will be well prepared.

What if it rains?

The ceremony will still take place outside in front of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, so bring an umbrella! In the event of very severe weather, the ceremony will be held in the Sidney J.Watson Arena.  Tickets are not required for the rain location.

How should I dress?

For all activities on Friday and Saturday, please dress comfortably. Remember that Commencement is planned for the outdoors, so wear shoes suitable for walking on grass.

Where can I park?

Guest parking is available in the lots on North and South Campus Drive (vehicles may be towed from the circles at the ends of North and South Campus Drive — these circles are fire lanes), behind Druckenmiller Hall, at Farley Field House, at Watson Arena, in the Coffin Street lot, in the Russwurm African American Center lot, in the lot immediately adjacent to Lancaster House (38 College Street), and in the new parking lot on Sills Drive (the former site of Dayton Arena). A large number of parking spaces can be found at the new Watson Arena located next to Farley Field House, convenient to the Baccalaureate ceremony and meal functions held at Farley Field House. View the Bowdoin Parking Map (PDF).

Where do those with physical disabilities park?

Handicap parking spaces are designated in all parking areas. A large number of handicap spaces can be found on North Campus Drive and at the new Watson Arena. Please review the Accessibility tab at the top of the page for important information.  

Is medical assistance available?

In the event of a medical emergency, please contact a Bowdoin Security officer immediately. Call ext.3500 if you are inside a building or 207-725-3500 from your cellphone; or use an outdoor emergency phone (marked with a blue lamp). An ambulance is on standby on campus should medical services be necessary. Two hospitals also are within a short distance of campus: Parkview Hospital is at 329 Maine Street 207-373-2000, and Mid Coast Hospital is at 123 Medical Center Drive 207-729-0181. Both have walk-in clinics.

Is wireless internet access available on campus for visiting guests?

Connecting to Bowdoin’s Guest Wireless Access
1. Close all of your browsers (Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.).
2. Choose “BOWDOIN-GUEST” from the list of wireless networks available.
3. Open a web browser. Wait for the guest wireless registration page to open. Refresh your web browser if it does not load.
4. Fill out the information and click “Log In.”
5. Access to Bowdoin’s guest wireless will expire in 24 hours. Follow steps 1–4 above to renew your access.

What is the College’s policy for alcohol?

The Bowdoin community is reminded that no one under the age of twenty-one may purchase, procure, transport, or consume alcoholic beverages. State law and College policy prohibit the public consumption of alcohol. Our liquor license prohibits us from allowing you to bring your own liquor into any College reception or dining function. At functions where alcohol is served you must have proper identification. The College asks for your understanding and compliance.

Are pets allowed?

Pets are prohibited inside all College buildings and at all dining events except for animals serving as aids for the disabled.