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Commencement

Congratulations are in order! Commencement Weekend is our chance to honor your accomplishments and celebrate you. We look forward to seeing you, your families, loved ones and friends gathered together to take part in Smith’s time-honored traditions of Ivy Day, Illumination Night and our Commencement Ceremony. We’re excited about sending graduates off to new adventures with the knowledge that your connection to Smith will always remain.

Mark your calendars! Commencement will take place Sunday, May 19, 2024. Several other local colleges are holding their commencement ceremonies the same weekend this year—we strongly encourage booking lodging as soon as possible.

Plan Your Visit

Visiting Smith

Find directions, maps and other useful information to help you plan your visit to Smith.

Two students walking through the entry gate to campus

Campus Map

Get a closer look at the Smith campus with our interactive map and tours.

Campus Map

Senior Academic Regalia

Regalia will be available for purchase at the Smith College Bookstore starting April 15, 2024. Please visit the bookstore at 8 Green Street on or after April 15 to purchase your regalia. You do not need to place an order online in advance.

If you received regalia through the SGA lottery and need a tassel, they can be purchased in person at the Smith College Bookstore, also starting April 15. 

If you have any questions related to regalia please call the bookstore at 413-585-4140 or email 1354mgr@follett.com.

Those receiving financial aid have the option of participating in the Regalia Loan Program lottery offered through the Student Government Association. All students will be invited to enter the lottery in January and will be notified in early February as to whether they can receive regalia through this program.

Only students who receive Smith aid and are verified through Student Financial Services are eligible to enter the lottery. Questions regarding this program should be directed to the SGA office at sga@smith.edu.

Thursday, May 16
Smith College Bookstore open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, May 17
Smith College Bookstore open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, May 18
Smith College Bookstore open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, May 19
Smith College Bookstore open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
 

Photo from Commencement 2014 by Jim Gipe/Pivot Media

Schedule of Events

10–11 a.m. | Geothermal Project Tour

Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center, Elm Street entrance
Learn what all the construction around campus is about and what the college is doing to mitigate its carbon footprint during this student-run tour with Engineering major Dakota Law '24.

1–1:45 p.m. | Ivy Day Leadership Orientation

Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center front steps, Chapin lawn
A preview of weekend activities and leadership roles for Ivy Day for all members of Sophomore Push and Junior Ushers.

1:45–3 p.m. | Commencement Leadership Orientation

Comstock Courtyard
A preview of Commencement and leadership roles for all members of Sophomore Push and Junior Ushers, the co-president of the Ada Comstock Scholars, the president of the senior class and the president of the SGA.

3:30–4:30 p.m. | Baccalaureate, for seniors only

Helen Hills Hill Chapel
Baccalaureate gives seniors an opportunity to pause, reflect upon and rejoice in their accomplishments, challenges and friendships. President Sarah Willie-LeBreton will deliver remarks to the senior class. Per Smith tradition, students are invited to wear graduation gowns but not caps, and an accessory in your class color—something BLUE!

4–5 p.m. | 12-Step Recovery Program meeting, open to all

Wright Hall 002

5–7 p.m. | Senior Celebration Barbecue

Seelye Lawn (rain location: open houses)
For seniors, graduate students and approved students remaining on campus. Complimentary wine and beer for seniors 21 and over with valid I.D.
 

5–7:30 p.m. | The Smith Bell Ringers’ Open Practice

Mendenhall Bell Tower
All alumnae and families are welcome. Come meet the bell ringers and visit the tower. Those new to change ringing can get an introductory lesson, and general practice will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

8 p.m. | Celebrations Dance Company’s Annual Commencement Concert

Scott Dance Studio
Performance by Celebrations, Smith’s oldest student-run dance company, showcasing student choreography and performance. Donations accepted.

8–8:45 p.m. | Faculty Talk: James Lowenthal: “How Smith College is Saving the World from Light Pollution: A Global Problem with a Local Solution”

McConnell Hall 103
Smith's beautiful and historic campus comes alive at night with activity: students studying or relaxing or partying, and eventually even sleeping; nocturnal animals foraging or migrating or pollinating; and astronomers studying the cosmos.  All of those are enhanced by careful, thoughtful lighting at night, and are threatened by careless or excessive lighting and light pollution.  Learn how and why Smith endorsed the Five Principles of Responsible Outdoor Lighting, and how Smith has joined the growing international movement to protect dark skies.

 

For Saturday's academic departments and programs receptions, please see the academic receptions tab.

8 a.m. | Meeting of Sophomore Push 

Outside President’s House

7–9 a.m. | Breakfast for students

Served in Cutter/Ziskind, King/Scales, Chase and Tyler houses

Ivy Day Activities

In the event of rain, the Alumnae Parade, Alumnae Awards Presentation and Ivy Day Awards Convocation will be held in the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility (ITT). The signal for such a change in venue will be the ringing of the college bells at 8 a.m. The doors of the ITT will open at that time. Seniors should enter the main lobby of the ITT through the glass doors and will be instructed where to pick up their roses and line up. Junior Ushers should assemble in the ITT by the overhead door. Alumnae will march through the double line of seniors and past the reviewing stand before being seated. The senior class, led by the Junior Ushers, will then follow.

8:30 a.m. | Junior Ushers Assemble

Admission Office parking spaces

8:45 a.m. | Seniors Assemble

President’s House, front
Roses will be distributed to seniors. Seniors will then form two lines along the driveway, across Paradise Road and up to the Emerson House Archway in preparation for the Alumnae Parade and Ivy Day procession. Seniors should wear all-white attire and dark shoes. Please be on time.

8:45 a.m. | Alumnae Parade Assembly

Chapin Drive, between the Campus Center and College Lane

9:15 a.m. | Alumnae Parade & Senior Class Procession

Led by the Festival Band, alumnae march toward the President’s House and the quadrangle, through the double lines of the senior class. Following the route of the alumnae, the senior class will be led by the Junior Ushers carrying the ivy chain into the quadrangle, past the reviewing stand, and will then be seated.

11 a.m.–5 p.m. | Josten Library Open Hours

Josten Library, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts
Visit Smith’s performing arts library, which boasts inspiring architecture and an outstanding interdisciplinary collection of music, theater and dance books; playscripts; music scores; as well as audio, video and other resources.

11 a.m.–5 p.m. | Smith College Museum of Art Open Hours

Smith College Museum of Art
Drop by the Smith College Museum of Art to explore the galleries, talk with museum staff, and visit the exhibition A Beacon to the World: Art from Sylvia Smith Lewis ’74 and Byron E. Lewis Sr. Collection.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. | Athletics Open House

Ainsworth Gymnasium 151, Ainsworth level 1 entrance hallway
All ESS graduates and ESS minors, as well as current and past athletes, are invited to stop by to visit with ESS faculty and Athletics coaching and administrative staff.

11:30 a.m.1 p.m. | Tote lunch for Seniors and remaining students on campus

Chapin Lawn
Parents and guests may purchase a lunch online. Check back soon for more details.

12–1:30 p.m. | POSSE Scholars Graduation Celebration

Skyline Reading Room, Neilson Library
A celebration for the POSSE Scholars and their families. Invite-only.

1:30–2:15 p.m. | President’s Reception

Seelye lawn (rain location: Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center)
For seniors and graduate students, their families, guests, faculty, alumnae and staff.

2 p.m. | Celebrations Dance Company’s Annual Commencement Concert

Scott Dance Studio
Performance by Celebrations, Smith’s oldest student-run dance company, showcasing student choreography and performance. Donations accepted.

2:15–3:15 p.m. | Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Open House

Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, Neilson 103
Come to the Conway Center to meet staff, learn about the dynamic and globally relevant financial education, innovation, and entrepreneurship initiatives offered, and browse student innovation project displays. 

2:30–4 p.m. | Design Thinking Initiative Open House

Capen Annex, Henshaw Avenue
Come visit Capen Annex, home of the Design Thinking Initiative, before you leave campus! We’ll celebrate the Class of 2024 and share updates on all of the cool projects that have been happening in our cozy space on Henshaw Ave. Activities and light refreshments will be available.

2:30–4 p.m. | Hillyer Art Library Open House

Hillyer Art Library, Brown Fine Arts Center
Explore Smith’s remarkable art library and browse collections covering the history, theory, criticism and practice of the visual arts.

2:30–4 p.m. | Residence Life Reception

Clark Hall, conference room and porch
For student staff members, seniors, and their families, as well as alums who have served in these roles.

2:30–4:30 p.m. | Neilson Library Open House

Neilson Library
Welcome to Neilson Library! Take a self-guided tour of Neilson Library as designed by Maya Lin. Walk through the Neilson Library: Evolution exhibit in the 2nd floor gallery.

2:30–4:30 p.m. | Special Collections Open House

Special Collections Reading Room, Neilson Library, 3rd floor
Visit the home of Smith’s Special Collections. Meet curators and archivists, view unique materials and learn about the College Archives, the Mortimer Rare Book Collection and the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History.

2:30 p.m.–3 p.m. | Delta Phi Alpha, Lambda Rho Chapter

Hatfield Hall 204
German Studies department German Honor Society Initiation Ceremony. Families and alumnae welcome.

3–4:30 p.m. | Botanic Garden Open House

Lyman Plant House and Conservatory
Drop in to Lyman Plant House and Conservatory to explore the collections, meet staff, and experience the current exhibit The Bell Jars: Lyman Conservatory and Sylvia Plath’s Botanical Imagination, on display in The Church Exhibition Gallery. For more information, see: The Bell Jars: Lyman Conservatory and Sylvia Plath’s Botanical Imagination.

3–5 p.m. | Smith Crew Boathouse Open House and Reception

Connecticut River Boathouse, Sportsman’s Marina, 1 Russell St., Hadley, Mass.
All Smith crew alumnae, team members and families are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served. No shuttle service.

3–4:30 p.m. | Smith College Historic Clothing Collection Open House

Theatre T15, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts
Explore the college’s research archive of women’s clothing now in its 45th year. It is the subject of the new book Real Clothes, Real Lives: 200 Years of What Women Wore. The cabinets will be open, and examples of garments and accessories will be on view. 

3:45–4:35 p.m. | Faculty Talk: Andrea Hairston ’74: “Archangels of Funk”z

Graham Hall, Brown Fine Arts Center
Afrofuturist Adventures—Andrea Hairston ’74 and Smith College Professor Emerita of Theatre and Africana Studies will do a performance reading from her new book Archangels of Funk with musicians. She’ll discuss going from drama queen to novelist, including questions of craft and her publishing escapades.

4–5 p.m. | 12-Step Recovery Program meeting, open to all.

Wright Hall 002

4–5 p.m.—Service of Remembrance

Helen Hills Hills Chapel
A multifaith memorial service for reflecting, remembering and celebrating the lives of those who have died, focusing on Smith alums who have passed on since the last reunion. All are welcome.

5–6 p.m. | Commencement Choral Concert

Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall
The Glee Club and Chamber Singers present works chosen by members of the senior class.

7:45 p.m. | Junior Ushers meeting

Admission office parking spaces

8 p.m. | Senior Class Candle-Lighting Ceremony

Paradise Pond lawn, between the President’s House and Office of Admission

8:15 p.m. | Meeting of Sophomore Push

In front of Seelye Hall

8:30 p.m. | Sophomore Push/Senior Step Sing

Seelye Hall steps

8:30–10 p.m. | Ada Comstock Illumination Night Celebration

Boutelle-Day Poetry Center, Wright Hall 102, and Wright Hall upper lobby

8:30–10 p.m. | Illumination of Upper Campus

Rain location: Campus Center
Live Music by the Jay Messer Quintet

For Friday's academic departments and programs receptions, please see the academic receptions tab.

7–9 a.m. | Breakfast for students

Served in Cutter, Chase King and Tyler houses

8 a.m.—Sophomore Push Meeting
Indoor Track and Tennis Facility

8 a.m.—Junior Usher Meeting

Indoor Track and Tennis Facility

9–10:30 a.m. | Commencement Rehearsal

Indoor Track and Tennis Facility

Attendance is mandatory for all seniors, Junior Ushers, Sophomore Push and candidates for advanced degrees.  

9–10:30 a.m. | Junior Usher Ivy Day/Commencement Walkthrough (Indoor)

Indoor Track and Tennis Facility

9:45 a.m. | The Smith Experience

Vice President for Enrollment Joanna May
Leo Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
Vice President for Enrollment Joanna May will speak with three students about the experiences and opportunities that have shaped their time at Smith.

10–11 a.m. | Geothermal Project Tour

Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center, Elm Street entrance
Learn what all the construction around campus is about and what the college is doing to mitigate its carbon footprint during this student-run tour with Engineering major Dakota Law '24.

10:30–11:30 a.m. | Graduate and Special Programs Post-Rehearsal Breakfast

McConnell Hall foyer
All master’s degree, diploma and post-bac certificate programs graduates are invited to join staff from the Office of Graduate and Special Programs for breakfast after the Commencement rehearsal. Come get information, ask questions, socialize with fellow students, and share experiences and future plans.

11 a.m.–5 p.m. | Smith College Museum of Art Open Hours

Smith College Museum of Art
Drop by the Smith College Museum of Art to explore the galleries, talk with museum staff, and visit the exhibition A Beacon to the World: Art from Sylvia Smith Lewis ’74 and Byron E. Lewis Sr. Collection.

11 a.m. |Smith Today: A Conversation with President Sarah Willie-LeBreton

Leo Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
President Sarah Willie-LeBreton will share insights on Smith today, her vision for the future, reflections on the first year of her presidency, and answer audience questions.

11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. | Senior Luncheon

Chase, King and Tyler houses
For seniors and all students remaining on campus

11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.—The Grécourt Society Ice Cream Stand
Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center, main level
Smith’s legacy society honors those who have included Smith in their estate plans. All alumnae are invited to enjoy free ice cream and learn more about The Grécourt Society and ways to become a member.

1:10–1:50 p.m. | Faculty Talk: Benita Jackson: “Three Toxic Myths About Rest from High-Achievement Culture – And Their Antidotes”

Seelye Hall 201
“High-achievement” sounds like a laudable goal. But as many of us have experienced, it can come at great personal and societal cost. In this talk Smith Professor of Psychology Benita Jackson explores myths about the concept of rest that achievement culture perpetuates, in academia and beyond. She then invites audience members to play with liberatory reframes to reveal pearls of practical wisdom at the core of each myth—toward reclaiming power and joy on individual and collective levels.

2–2:40 p.m. | Faculty Talk: Beth Hooker: “Becoming Carbon Neutral at Smith College: The Geothermal Energy Project”

Graham Hall, Brown Fine Arts Center
Smith College is making big moves to address the world’s climate crisis through its pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and its $210 million investment in geothermal energy. The journey to carbon neutrality has been formed from an early carbon commitment to the present-day construction project to transform the campus heating and cooling system on campus, marking Smith College as a pioneer in sustainability. Education is a hallmark of this success:  Smith explicitly links impact with its mission and is committed to shaping climate leaders who can address society’s challenges. 

2:15 p.m.–3:15 p.m. | International Students, Alums and Families Gathering

Lewis Global Studies Center, Wright Hall 127, and Wright Hall upper lobby
A gathering for international students, their families, international alums, and their guests. Grab a quick snack or caffeinate while joining informal conversations with each other and representatives of Smith’s Lewis Global Studies Center and International Alumnae Relations.

2:45–3:45 p.m. | Jandon Center for Community Engagement Reception

Jandon Center for Community Engagement, Wright Hall 013
Graduating fellows, CESC concentrators, CSO members, volunteers, family members and alums are invited to join us in celebrating students' work with our community partners.

3:15–4:15 p.m. | Study Abroad Alum Gathering

Lewis Global Studies Center, Wright Hall 127, and Wright Hall upper lobby
A gathering for alums who studied abroad and their guests. Grab a quick snack or caffeinate while joining informal conversations with each other and representatives of Smith’s Lewis Global Studies Center and former Smith Programs Abroad faculty directors.

4–5 p.m. | 12-Step Recovery Program meeting, open to all.

Wright Hall 002

4:30–5:30 p.m. | Chamber Ensemble Concert

Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall
Special Chamber Music recital featuring graduating seniors.

8 p.m. | Celebrations Dance Company’s Annual Commencement Concert

Scott Dance Studio
Performance by Celebrations, Smith’s oldest student-run dance company, showcasing student choreography and performance. Donations accepted.

8–11 p.m. | Astronomy Open House

McConnell Hall foyer and McConnell roof observatory
Open to all. Telescopic observations begin at 9 p.m. (weather permitting)

8:30–10:30 p.m. | Commencement Orchestra Concert

Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall
The Commencement Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Hirsh, accompanies featured soloists from the senior class.

 

7–9 a.m. | Breakfast for Students

Served in Cutter/Ziskind, King/Scales, Cushing/Emerson, Chase and Tyler houses
The Campus Center Café is open for students, staff, families and faculty. Orders may be placed through the GrubHub app.

8 a.m. | Meeting of Junior Ushers

Steps of Wilson (rain location: Indoor Track and Tennis Facility)

8 a.m. | Meeting of Sophomore Push

Steps of Comstock/Haynes (rain location: Indoor Track and Tennis Facility)

Commencement Activities

In the event of rain, the signal for indoor Commencement at the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility will be the ringing of the college bells beginning at 8 a.m. For indoor Commencement, the ITT doors will open at 8 a.m. Graduates will line up at 9:15 a.m. in Ainsworth Gymnasium, and faculty members will assemble in the Ainsworth main hallway (glass-door entrance).

9:15 a.m. | Assembling for Commencement

All graduates must line up on Mandelle Road in front of Comstock and Haynes (formerly Wilder) houses. Seniors should arrive wearing full regalia.

Audience members should be seated by 9:45 a.m.

Seating Policy

Seats cannot be saved for those arriving later. Tape, signs and other items placed on chairs to save seats will be removed by college personnel.

10 a.m. | Commencement Exercises

The Quadrangle

Immediately Following Commencement | Diploma Circle

Graduating seniors only. Graduates will march out of the quadrangle onto the Laura Scales/Franklin King terrace. No family members or friends will be permitted near the diploma circle. Please stay in line to expedite the distribution of diplomas. (In the event of an indoor Commencement, the diploma circle will be held in Ainsworth Gymnasium.)

12:30–2 p.m. | Commencement Brunch honoring seniors and graduate students

 (Immediately following Commencement Exercises) 
Served in the following Dining locations- Chapin,Chase/Duckett,Comstock/Haynes (formerly Wilder), Cutter/Ziskind(includes Kosher) Cushing/Emerson,CC Carroll Room 208, Dawes, Gillett/Northrop, King/Scales, Lamont, and Tyler houses. 
Families and friends are invited to this special celebratory meal honoring seniors and graduate students. To RSVP, register here.

11 a.m.–4 p.m. | Smith College Museum of Art Open Hours

Smith College Museum of Art
Drop by the Smith College Museum of Art to explore the galleries, talk with museum staff, and visit the exhibition A Beacon to the World: Art from Sylvia Smith Lewis ’74 and Byron E. Lewis Sr. Collection.

Friday, May 17

Anthropology
2:30–4 p.m.
Kahn Institute, 21 Henshaw Ave

English, Poetry Center and Poetry Concentration
3–4:30 p.m.
Boutelle-Day Poetry Center, Wright Hall

Saturday, May 18

Africana Studies
2:30–4 p.m.
Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center 102

American Studies and Sociology
2:30–4:30 p.m.
Mary Maples Dunn Conference Room, Pierce Hall

Art
3–4:30 p.m.
Jannotta Gallery, Hillyer, Brown Fine Arts Center

Astronomy
3:30–5 p.m.
McConnell Hall 406

Athletics, Exercise and Sports Studies
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Ainsworth Gymnasium 151, Ainsworth level 1 entrance hallway

Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Neuroscience
3:30–4:30 p.m.
Ford Hall 240, Ford Hall atrium, terrace, and Pearsall Seasons Room

Computer Science
2:30–3:30 p.m.
Ford Hall atrium

East Asian Languages and Cultures
3:30–5 p.m.
Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center 103/104

Economics
4:30–5 p.m.
Klingenstein Browsing Room, Neilson Library

Education and Child Study
3–4 p.m.
Gill Hall Gym, Campus School of Smith College

Picker Engineering Program
2:30–4 p.m.
Ford Hall 022 and 024

Environmental Science and Policy, Landscape Studies and Environmental Concentrations
2:15–4 p.m.
Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability, Wright Hall 005

Film and Media Studies
4–5 p.m.
Kahn Institute, 21 Henshaw Avenue

French
4–5 p.m.
Lewis Global Studies Center Lounge and Library, Wright Hall

Geosciences
3–5 p.m.
Clark Science Center patio (rain location: Burton Hall foyer)

German and Italian Studies
3–5 p.m.
Boathouse lawn (rain location: Hatfield Hall 105)

Government
2:15–3:30 p.m.
Seelye Hall 207

History
2:15–4:15 p.m.
Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center TV Lounge

Jewish Studies
3–5 p.m.
Dewey Hall front porch (rain location: Dewey Common Room)

Latin American and Latina/o Studies
3:30–5 p.m.
Hillyer Lounge, courtyard, Hillyer Brown Fine Arts Center, lower level

Mathematical Sciences
3:30–5 p.m.
Lanning Fountain lawn (rain location: Burton Math Forum, Burton 3rd floor)

Performing Arts (Music, Theatre and Dance)
3–5 p.m.
Mezzanine level, Josten Library, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts

Philosophy
3:30–5 p.m.
Philosophy Study, Dewey Hall

Physics
2:30–4 p.m.
McConnell Hall 324

Psychology
2:30–4 p.m.
McConnell Hall foyer

Religion
3–5 p.m.
Dewey Hall front porch (rain location: Dewey Common Room)

Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies
3–5 p.m.
Dewey Hall front porch (rain location: Dewey Common Room)

Sociology and American Studies
2:30–4:30 p.m.
Mary Maples Dunn Conference Room, Pierce Hall

Spanish and Portuguese
2:15–3:30 p.m.
Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center 204

Statistical and Data Sciences
2:30–3:30 p.m.
Pearsall Seasons Room, Ford Hall

Study of Women and Gender
3:30–5 p.m.
Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center 205

World Literatures
4–5 p.m.
Lewis Global Studies Center Lounge and Library, Wright Hall

Meet the Honorary Degree Recipients

Five remarkable leaders will offer words of wisdom to Smith graduates on Commencement Day. Learn a bit about each of them.