Frequently Asked Questions
Access complete information about Commencement Weekend and sign up to receive text notifications on your mobile device by completing the following steps:
- Go to Bowdo.in/app and tap "Download on the AppStore."
- In the app, search for "2019 Bowdoin Commencement" and tap on the guide.
The Commencement ceremony, which lasts approximately an hour and a half, is held outside in front of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art under most weather conditions. If it's raining, bring an umbrella and other rain gear. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be held in the Sidney J. Watson Arena.
May weather in Maine can be extremely variable. Plan to bring clothing appropriate for rain and cool temperatures as well as for warm weather. Remember that Commencement is planned for outside, so wear shoes suitable for walking on grass.
No tickets are needed for the outdoor ceremony, and you may bring as many guests as you wish. If the ceremony is moved inside, tickets will be required for seating in Watson Arena. Information regarding notification, tickets, and other details for an indoor ceremony will be shared with seniors and their families in the spring.
Should severe weather necessitate moving the Commencement ceremony inside, each senior will be issued four tickets for seating in Watson Arena; those without tickets may watch a livestream of the ceremony on a large screen in Farley Field House, located adjacent to Watson Arena.
The decision to move inside will be made on Saturday morning and communicated to families via the Commencement website and notifications on the Commencement mobile app.
Families and guests may sit in any areas not marked as reserved. Please ask an usher if you are unsure. We ask that all guests arrive and take their seats by 9:15 A.M. to view the Commencement procession.
Seniors are seated in front of the stage, in alphabetical order. As you face the stage, those whose last names begin with A-L sit on the right side; those whose last names begin with M-Z sit on the left.
Students follow the stage party down the center aisle for the recessional, marching toward the Chapel. Families and guests may meet graduates in the area between the Chapel and Massachusetts Hall.
Water and coffee stands are located around the perimeter of the Commencement seating area. Snacks and other beverages are available for purchase in the Bowdoin Express and the Café, located in the David Saul Smith Union.
Commencement Weekend events include special meals catered by Bowdoin Dining Service. Tickets are required for all meals. It is not necessary to order meal tickets for graduating seniors. They are guests of the College for the weekend and, in addition, receive two complimentary Commencement Luncheon tickets for guests.
Guest meal tickets may be purchased in advance before Monday, May 13, by filling out the Meal Order Ticket Form. A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase at both the Lobster Bake and the Commencement Luncheon.
Meal tickets purchased in advance should be picked up by your senior between Monday, May 20, and Friday, May 24, at the Bowdoin Dining Service office on the 2nd floor of Thorne Hall.
Men’s, women’s and handicap-accessible restrooms are located in Moulton Union, Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, David Saul Smith Union, and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Additional men’s and women’s restrooms are located in Gibson Hall, Hubbard Hall, the Chapel and the Visual Arts Center (lower level). Gender inclusive restrooms are located in Sargent Gym, David Saul Smith Union, Hawthorne Longfellow Library, Hubbard Hall, and the Chapel.
Golf carts, driven by volunteers, run on Friday beginning at 3:30 p.m. to shuttle guests needing assistance from the main campus to Baccalaureate in Watson Arena and from the Lobster Bake in Farley Field House to parking. On Saturday, golf carts run from 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. from North Campus Drive and in front of the Chapel to the Commencement ceremony. Following the ceremony, both golf carts and larger shuttle buses are available to transport guests from the quad to the luncheon at Farley Field House (buses pick up in front of Moulton Union; golf carts pick up in front of the Chapel) and from the luncheon to parking.
All campus parking lots (designated with a P on the Commencement Campus Map) are open to Commencement guests. Public parking is allowed on Park Row in designated spots on the east side of the roadway. Parking is not allowed on either side of College Street, nor is it allowed on the south side of South Street. A large number of parking spaces can be found at Watson Arena located next to Farley Field House, convenient to the Baccalaureate ceremony and to the Commencement luncheon.
Accessible parking spaces are designated in all parking areas. A large number of accessible spaces can be found on North Campus Drive and at Watson Arena. Please visit this link for an Accessibility Map. Please contact the Office of Events and Summer Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-725-3433 if you have questions.
Photo areas are clearly marked near the stage next to graduate seating. While we understand that families want to take photos of this special event, we ask that you be considerate of others when doing so and that you respect requests to move or sit down.
A professional photographer from GradImages will photograph each senior receiving their diploma and with their diploma as they come off the stage. Proofs will be sent automatically to each student’s home address within approximately two weeks following Commencement. If you prefer to receive digital proofs, please visit gradimages.com and click on Pre-Event Registration to sign up.
In the event of a medical emergency, please contact Bowdoin Security by dialing 3500 from any phone inside a Bowdoin building, 207-725-3500 from your mobile phone, or use an outdoor emergency phone (marked with a blue lamp). For minor medical problems, you may wish to visit the Mid Coast Walk-In Clinic, located at Brunswick Station. Mid Coast Hospital (207) 373-6000 is also located a few miles from campus at 123 Medical Center Drive in Brunswick and has an emergency room.
Bowdoin provides wireless access to guests of the College in all campus buildings as well as the athletic fields, Coastal Studies Center, and many outdoor spaces around campus.
- Choose the “BOWDOIN-GUEST” wireless networks from your computer or mobile device.
- A registration page will automatically load. If it does not, open a web browser. If your browser does not immediately connect to the registration page, refresh your browser window.
- Fill in the registration information. Guests are not required to have a Bowdoin ID, but you will need to enter your name and email address.
- Once your registration is complete, click “Log In.”
- Access to Bowdoin’s guest wireless will expire in 24 hours but can be renewed by following steps 1-4 above.
The Bowdoin community is reminded that no one under the age of 21 may purchase, procure, transport, or consume alcoholic beverages. State law and College policy prohibit the public consumption of alcohol, and the College’s liquor license prohibits us from allowing guests to bring their own liquor into any College reception or dining event. Proper identification is required at all functions where alcohol is served. The College asks for your compliance.
Pets are prohibited in all campus buildings and at all dining events. Service animals are welcome.
Sustainability is a core value at Bowdoin, and the College engages in pro-environmental behaviors, including waste reduction, recycling, environmentally preferable purchasing, and energy conservation on an ongoing basis. During Commencement Weekend, Dining Service uses biodegradable cups, bowls, plates, and utensils for all outdoor meals, and 100 percent of Commencement luncheon waste is composted. Recycling bins are placed in outdoor areas, and energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs are used in all outdoor tents. Electricity use during Commencement Weekend is provided in part by Bowdoin’s 1.2 megawatt solar power complex, which includes approximately 4,420 solar panels at four major installations.
The Bowdoin Store, located in the David Saul Smith Union, sells Bowdoin College diploma frames, class rings, and other gifts. Items can be purchased online at store.bowdoin.edu, by calling 1-800-524-2225, or by visiting the store during Commencement Weekend. Additionally, the Bowdoin Store also runs a pop-up tent located on the Quad on Saturday from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm that sells flowers, mugs, Class of 2019 banners and more.
We strongly recommend making arrangements for overnight accommodations as early as possible; rooms book quickly for Commencement Weekend. For information on local accommodations, please go to the Southern Midcoast Chamber of Commerce or Brunswick Downtown Association website.
Lost items will be turned in at the Security Communications Center, located in Rhodes Hall (across Bath Road from North Campus Drive). Inquiries about lost articles can be made in person or by calling 207-725-3314.