Spring 2019 Marshal's Memo

April 24, 2019

Greetings to Graduating Seniors –

Commencement is fast approaching. We look forward to helping you celebrate your Williams graduation with your classmates and your families. This is the first of several communications I will send to you about Commencement Weekend. Please read through the end for important information about tickets and caps and gowns.

Below is a summary of the major weekend events.  Please mark your calendar and share with your family and friends.


Ivy Exercises. Seniors assemble on the Frosh Quad at 12:50 p.m.; the ceremony begins at 1:10 p.m. on the Library Quadrangle.
Refreshments on Chapin Lawn, 3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Conversation with Honorary Degree Recipient, Keb’ Mo’, MainStage, ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, 3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Baccalaureate. Seniors assemble in front of the Faculty House at 4:45 p.m.; the ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m. in Chapin Hall.


Commencement. Seniors assemble on the Frosh Quad at 9:00 a.m.; the ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. on the Library Quadrangle.
President’s Reception. Enjoy a picnic lunch on Chapin Lawn, immediately following Commencement (~12:15 p.m.)
Seniors process into Ivy Exercises, Baccalaureate, and Commencement in their caps and gowns. The Class Artist, Kyle Scadlock, carries the class banner at the front of each procession.

Ivy Exercises is an informal celebration of the Class and its achievements. The Class Officers organize it and preside. Class Gardener Jessica Muñoz plants the eponymous ivy, Class Poet Philemon Abel presents a poem, Class Historian Isabel Peña speaks, Class Musician Leonard Bopp performs, Dean Marlene Sandstrom awards over 100 prizes, Class Bell Ringers Angela Chan and Sammy Rosofsky ring the bells, and (in a tradition started in 1916) Class Officers drop a watch from the tower of Thompson Chapel.

Baccalaureate is an interdenominational service held Saturday afternoon. British-American social justice and health care advocate Ophelia Dahl delivers the Baccalaureate Address.

Commencement on Sunday morning begins with an academic procession across campus and culminates with awarding your degrees. Three students, the Class Speaker Joseph Wilson, the Phi Beta Kappa Speaker, and the Valedictorian, address the audience.  Geneticist Mary-Claire King delivers the Commencement Address.


All of the official events of Commencement Weekend are free of charge and most do not require tickets. In particular, tickets are not required for Ivy Exercises, the Honorary Degree Recipient Conversation with Keb’ Mo’, outdoor Commencement, or the President’s Reception. All tickets will be distributed through senior SU boxes in Paresky; tickets will be available for pickup starting Monday, May 29.

Tickets for indoor Commencement: Weather permitting, Commencement is held outdoors on the Library Quadrangle (facing Stetson Hall) and no tickets are required. The ceremony is also simulcast into Chapin Hall and Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall and live streamed for friends and family who cannot attend.  In case of extreme weather, the ceremony is held in Lansing Chapman Ice Rink. When picking up a cap and gown, each senior receives four guest tickets for the Ice Rink. Additional seating is available in Chandler Gymnasium where the ceremony is broadcast on a large screen. Tickets are not required for seating in Chandler Gymnasium. We favor an outdoor ceremony even under threatening skies and/or light rain.

Tickets for Baccalaureate: While members of the senior class wearing cap and gown do not need tickets to attend this event, due to the limited seating capacity of Chapin Hall we are unable to seat all of your guests in this venue. Each senior may request up to 2 guest tickets using this online form. Ticket requests can be made through May 17. We will simulcast the Baccalaureate ceremony into the MainStage at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, in addition to Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall in the Bernhard Music Center. The simulcast venues do not require tickets.

Request tickets online until May 17. Starting now, seniors may request Baccalaureate tickets using our online form. Requesting tickets does not automatically guarantee tickets, and we will confirm all requests on May 18.

If you an early graduate who is not on campus, please email Veronica Bosley ([email protected]) to arrange to pick up your tickets.


The College supplies one cap and one gown free of charge to all graduating seniors.  If you did not pick up a cap and gown in September, please go to The Williams Bookstore between noon and 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the week of Commencement. Last-minute pickup for seniors who will not be on campus until the day of the ceremony is at 8:45 a.m. at the bookstore on Commencement Sunday.
I will email you with more information in May.  In the meantime, please visit the Commencement web site: commencement.williams.edu

If you have questions, please send email to [email protected].

John W Thoman Jr.
College Marshal
J Hodge Markgraf Professor of Chemistry* email: [email protected]
Office of the College Marshal phone: (413)597-2347