November 7 Letter from the College Marshal


Dear Families and Friends of the Class of 2023, 

As the school year gets underway, many Williams family members and guests are looking forward to celebrating their seniors’ college graduation in June. It is my pleasure to invite you to attend the 234th Commencement of Williams College. My colleagues and I congratulate you on your senior’s accomplishments while at Williams.

Over the coming months we will work out the details of Commencement Weekend 2023. In order to help you plan ahead, here are the dates and times of the four major events: 

Ivy Exercises, Saturday, June 3, 1:10 p.m.
Baccalaureate, Saturday, June 3, 5:00 p.m.
Commencement, Sunday, June 4, 10:00 a.m.
President’s Reception, Sunday, June 4, 12:15 p.m.

An overview of the weekend follows. You will receive a more detailed calendar in March. As events develop, we will post updated information on our Commencement website:

If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact the College Marshal’s Office by phone (413-597-2347) or email ([email protected]).  

We look forward to seeing you at Commencement.


Lee Park

College Marshal
And William R.Kenan, Jr,
Professor of Chemistry


Williams College Commencement Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, June  3-4, 2023

Ivy Exercises, 1:10–2:40 p.m., Saturday. Ivy Exercises, held outdoors on the Library Quad (by Stetson Hall), is an informal event presented by the Officers of the Senior Class. Members of the Class plant ivy, read the Class Poem and the Class History, perform music, and sing the College Song. The Dean of the College announces over 100 student awards. The event ends with the 100-year-old tradition of dropping a watch from the top of Thompson Memorial Chapel. If the watch breaks, the Class will have good luck! Tickets are not required.

Baccalaureate, 5:00–6:15 p.m., Saturday. Baccalaureate is a service of gratitude and remembrance, using the languages of many religions to celebrate the transformation of learning into wisdom. Seniors process in cap and gown to Chapin Hall. Because seating is limited and the service’s principal focus is on seniors as a group, we limit each senior to two guest tickets.  Other family members and guests are welcome to view a livestream of the service next door in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. Tickets for the livestream are not required. If you plan on dinner out following the ceremony, we recommend making reservations for after 6:30 p.m. 

Commencement, 10:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m., Sunday. This is the main event! Commencement is held outdoors weather permitting. It begins with a formal academic procession at 9:30 a.m. During the ceremony, three members of the Senior Class give brief speeches, honorary degrees are awarded, one of the honorary degree recipients gives the Commencement Address and President Mandel awards each student their diploma. Tickets are not required for outdoor Commencement. Please plan to occupy only six seats per graduate in our outdoor venue. If additional guests plan to attend, we invite them to sit in Chapin Hall, immediately adjacent to the Library Quad, where the ceremony will be live-streamed. Chapin is fully air-conditioned, offers comfortable seating, and is fully accessible. 

President’s Reception, immediately after Commencement on Sunday. President Mandel invites the graduates and their guests to a buffet lunch on Chapin Lawn. Tickets are not required.

General Information

For family members and friends who are unable to attend Commencement Weekend events, Williams College will livestream the ceremony from the Commencement website. We will also videotape Baccalaureate and post the recording online the following week.


  • Information on accommodations  in and around Williamstown can be found at:
  • Graduating seniors receiving  financial aid are welcome to reserve on-campus housing for their guests over Commencement Weekend. These rooms are in vacated student residence halls with shared bathrooms and no air-conditioning. Each senior may reserve up to four rooms, with one bed per room, for a maximum of four guests. Williams will charge your student account $30 for each room, in advance and non-refundable, for the entire weekend (both Friday and Saturday nights). Williams will reach out to all eligible seniors in February with instructions on how to reserve campus guest rooms. 

Caps and Gowns: The College provides caps and gowns (made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles) at no charge to students. Seniors who did not pick up cap and gown at Convocation may pick them up Wednesday, June 1 through Saturday, June 4 at The Williams Bookstore. Seniors who need to exchange their cap and gown for a different size may do so at no cost at this time.

Accessibility:  The online Williams Commencement map (available in March) will include information about accessible parking. Please contact us if you have any specific accessibility needs while on campus. Although we cannot provide wheelchairs, we encourage you to contact Surgimed at least one week in advance if you need such services (Surgimed, 109 Eagle Street, North Adams, MA, 413-663-8655).

Pictures: During the Commencement ceremony, a professional photographer will take pictures of each graduate receiving their diploma. You may order photographs from

Rain Plan:  In the event of severe weather, we will activate the Commencement Rain Plan. Stay tuned for more information on this. Chapel bells will toll at 9am Sunday morning to signal indoor Commencement. Graduates and guests will also be notified by email.

Yearbooks:  The Gulielmensian will contact families and students about ordering yearbooks.