Message to Graduating Students and Their Families—Guests at Commencement (March 12, 2021)

To graduating students and their families,

I am very pleased to announce that we are changing our plans to allow for a limited number of guests to join us for Bowdoin’s 216th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
I wrote on January 26 that we would not be able to accommodate family members and guests at Commencement due to state restrictions on the size of gatherings and other factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But last Friday, March 5, Maine Governor Janet Mills announced new guidance that will ease travel, capacity, and gathering restrictions in phases between now and the end of May. Under these new conditions, we have determined that we will be able to now accommodate two guests per graduating student on the Quad for Commencement, in addition to the graduating class, and faculty and staff. Seating for guests will be in pairs, appropriately spaced from other guests. If weather forces the proceedings indoors—something that has happened only once in the last thirty-five years—we will not be able to accommodate guests at the ceremony. Students will be required to vacate their on-campus residences following the ceremony and depart campus that afternoon.

Even with this change in our plans, we know that some who would like to be here may not be able to make it to Brunswick, so we are partnering with an outside firm to produce a high-quality livestream presentation of the Commencement proceedings. This virtual presentation will be provided regardless of whether the ceremony is on the Quad or indoors.

As required by the state, face coverings and distancing will be required on the Quad, and the events for guests will be limited to the Commencement ceremony and a boxed lunch that will be available after the ceremony for students, their guests, and our faculty. Additional details will follow in the next few weeks, including how graduating students can obtain two guest tickets each.

Thank you for your patience as we work to ensure the safety of our community and that of our neighbors while also providing students and their guests an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements, character, and resilience of the Class of 2021.

All the best,

Clayton