Welcome

To the Students and Guests of the Class of 2021,

We look forward to welcoming you to campus for an in-person Senior Celebration (a.k.a. commencement) on Monday, May 31, 2021. The ceremony will begin at noon on the Farley-Lamb Field in the Weston Athletic Complex. The procession will begin at 11:30 a.m. from the Lee Track. Each senior will be permitted two in-person guests. We’ll also live-stream the celebration via this website and make archived video available here for viewing around the world.

All seniors, whether on campus or studying remotely, are eligible and welcome to participate in-person, as are students who completed their degree requirements in December 2020, as well as those on track to complete their requirements in December 2021. See the Senior Celebration Guide below for further instructions regarding pre-arrival testing, quarantine and housing options.

To ensure that spring 2021 commencements can be held safely, Massachusetts officials are requiring extensive public health protocols. It will take time for us to fully develop plans that meet their requirements. Meanwhile, the following guide will give you and a sense of what to expect.


Senior Celebration 2021: Student and Guests Guide

    • The Senior Celebration will take place on Farley-Lamb Field at noon Monday, May 31. The Procession will begin at 11:30 am and will start from the Lee Track.
    • The ceremony will be live-streamed and accessible worldwide at commencement.williams.edu.
    • We're calling this a Senior Celebration rather than "commencement" or "graduation" because seniors won't actually become Williams graduates until final grades are tabulated and transcripts are complete. We expect the college trustees to approve senior grades on June 13, after which diplomas will be mailed to all graduates. Transcripts can be requested beginning June 14.
    • Each senior will have their name read by the Dean as they cross the stage for a tassel-turn moment.
    • Seniors will receive a formal registration link in May and will be required to register themselves and their guests at that time. The registration process will generate digital tickets with QR codes that will be scanned on site. If you do not register, we cannot guarantee entrance to the event.
    • All attendees, including those who’ve been vaccinated, must wear masks at all times and remain six feet apart from each other (with the exception of family pods).
    • By attending, seniors, guests, faculty, and staff are attesting to the fact that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and have not recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Late-May Williamstown weather is unpredictable.
      • If it's sunny, you may want sunglasses and a hat as the field and grandstand are not shaded. If the forecast calls for rain, you should bring rain gear. We discourage people from using umbrellas, since they block the view of other guests.
      • In the event of extreme weather (lightning, wind, and/or hail), the ceremony will go virtual
        and will be live-streamed from commencement.williams.edu
      • We will have a limited supply of water boxes at the ceremony. Please bring water if you are able.
      • To avoid damage to the turf field, only shoes with a flat bottom from toe to heel will be permitted. Footwear including sneakers, platform shoes, and wedges are fine.
    • The college is working within state regulations, according to federal guidelines, and in concert with local officials to ensure a safe environment for all.
    • All attendees, including those who’ve been vaccinated, must wear masks at all times and remain six feet apart from each other.
    • By attending, seniors, guests, faculty, and staff are attesting to the fact that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and have not recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Guests may not participate in any activities except for the Senior Celebration on May 31. Guests may not enter campus buildings.
    • Seniors will need to register themselves and their guests in May. The registration process will generate digital tickets.  If you do not register, we cannot guarantee entrance to the event.
    • Entrances and exits to the Weston Athletic Complex will be timed for social distancing. Seating will be 3 ft apart for all seniors. Guests in pods may sit together. Seating will be 6 ft apart for everyone else.
    • While the ceremony itself will last no longer than two hours, participants and guests should allow additional time, particularly before the event, as it will take some time for participants and guests to enter the venue through a safe, highly-controlled process.
    • In May we will share further details including specific health and safety measures and guidance on where and how to enter the Senior Ceremony venue.
    • Graduating seniors must vacate their residence halls no later than 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, June 1.
    • Unfortunately, we cannot allow guests into buildings to help with packing or moving out.
    • Diplomas will be mailed to graduating seniors in late June. Transcripts documenting graduation may be requested starting Monday, June 14.
    • On-campus students should continue to follow the guidelines on the COVID website.
    • Please keep in mind that the College’s safety protocols will continue to be in force after the May 31 celebration.
    • Caps and Gowns will be available for pick-up or for delivery to remote locations beginning May 12.
    • Graduation Announcements & Class Rings
    • Yearbook
  • Quarantine/Testing Requirements

    • If you want to participate in Senior Days activities on May 29 and May 30, as well as the Senior Celebration on May 31, you must quarantine for 4 to 5 days starting on May 23. You will arrive on May 23 and receive a COVID test, receive a second test on the 26, and be able to leave quarantine on the 27 or 28 depending on when your negative test is received. Even if you’ve been fully vaccinated, you still need to arrive on May 23 if you want to participate in Senior Days activities and have access to campus. You will not, however, be required to quarantine. Important: Remote students who missed the April 5 housing deadline can attend the ceremony on May 31 but cannot return to campus for other events.
    • If you live off-campus in the Williamstown area and want to attend Senior Days events and the Senior Celebration, you should begin participating in the college testing program beginning on May 10 and test twice weekly leading up to the events and ceremony. You may remain in your off-campus living arrangement.
    • If you choose to come to Williamstown on May 31 for the Senior Celebration only, you don’t need to arrive on May 23 or quarantine. Instead, you must follow the Massachusetts travel guidelines (which will likely be revised prior to May 31, so keep checking that website for updates). You will have no access to campus buildings or facilities and should arrange for your own off-campus lodging if you’ll need it.

    Lodging

    • If you plan to participate in Senior Days activities, you will be housed on campus in a single room and must follow the quarantine/testing protocol outlined above. Important: if you plan to come to campus but did not respond to the Dean's Office survey with a request for housing, you must find your own off-campus accommodations.
    • No family members or other guests will be permitted on campus, so they will need to find other accommodations. Explore nearby lodging options.
    • If you’re only attending the May 31 Commencement ceremony, you can choose to stay off campus with your guests, but you will not be permitted to attend other activities on campus or have access to campus buildings and resources.

    Transportation

    • The college will support remote students returning to campus with ground transportation, on May 23 only from Albany Airport, Penn Station/New York, and Boston Logan. The College is not providing any other transportation on May 23. Remote students can book return transportation on June 1 via regular Williams Motorcoach Transport.
    • If you’re an off-campus senior on financial aid, contact Sue Gaskell  or Cyndi Haley in the Dean’s Office to discuss your specific needs with respect to travel support to return to campus for the events.
  • Senior and Guest Registration

    • Each senior is permitted to register up to two guests for the Senior Ceremony. All seniors and guests must register/be registered in advance of the event in order to attend, and only seniors can complete those registrations.
      Guests are only invited to the Senior Ceremony. They are not permitted to attend any other events or have access to dorms, dining halls, or any other campus facilities that weekend. Nor will on-campus seniors be allowed to leave campus to visit with guests prior to the May 31 ceremony.
    • Seniors will receive the official link to register their guests in May. The registration process will generate digital tickets with QR codes that will be scanned on site. Guests must have a ticket generated by their senior (either digital or printed) to enter the venue.
    • To avoid damage to the turf field, only shoes with a flat bottom from toe to heel will be permitted. Footwear including sneakers, platform shoes, and wedges are fine.
    • While guests will not be required to quarantine or be fully vaccinated in order to attend Commencement, they should plan to follow the Massachusetts travel guidelines, which will likely be revised prior to May 31. In May, we will share further details including specific health and safety measures and guidance on where and how to enter the Senior Ceremony venue.
    • The following health and safety protocols will be in place during the ceremonies:
      • Masks are to be worn at all times.
      • Guest pods will be six feet apart and appropriate physical distancing will be maintained at all times.
    • By attending, you are attesting to the fact that you are free of COVID-19 symptoms and have not recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • No family members or other guests will be permitted on campus, so they will need to find other accommodations. Explore nearby lodging and dining options.
    • Keep in mind that seniors must pack and check out before spending any time off-campus.

    Accessibility

    Williams College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities, and we will make every effort to anticipate the needs of the many guests who will gather at Williams for the Senior Celebration. See this detailed information about parking, seating, and transportation from your car to your seat if you need it.

    Helping Students Move out

    While guests will not be allowed to come onto campus prior to the ceremony, you are welcome to drive your vehicle to your senior’s residence hall after the ceremony but must remain with the vehicle. Guests will not be able to accompany students into their residence hall or dorm rooms, so students should pack in smaller multiple boxes/bins to make moving easier.

    Caps and Gowns 2021

    Graduation Announcements & Class Rings

    Yearbook

    • The Senior Celebration will take place on Farley-Lamb Field at noon Monday, May 31. The Procession will begin at 11:30 am. Seniors will line up at the Lee Track. Faculty will enter Weston Athletic Complex by the Latham St. gate and line up on the fire lane running behind the bleachers.
    • Faculty will receive a formal registration link in May. The registration process will generate a digital ticket with a QR code that will be scanned at the gate. If you do not register, we cannot guarantee entrance to the event.
    • Faculty will have the option of attending only the procession or staying for the ceremony and being seated in the venue. The ceremony will also be live-streamed and accessible worldwide at commencement.williams.edu.
    • All attendees, including those who’ve been vaccinated, must wear masks at all times and remain six feet apart from each other.
    • By attending, seniors, guests, faculty, and staff are attesting to the fact that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and have not recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • To avoid damage to the turf field, only shoes with a flat bottom from toe to heel will be permitted. Footwear including sneakers, platform shoes, and wedges are fine.
    • What academic end-of-year celebrations are you planning?