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For Graduating Students & Their Families

Family at Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions

To ensure an enjoyable, celebratory experience for all graduates, their families, and the college community, the college has moved Commencement to the Indoor Track and Tennis facility (ITT). Tickets are not required and there is no limit on seating. Doors will open at 8 a.m. for Ivy Day and Commencement.

May I bring a water bottle?
Yes, you may bring a water bottle.

May I bring in a clear bag?
No bags of any kind are permitted.

What if I have a medical need?
Bags needing to be brought by an individual for medical reasons are subject to a bag search at the doors, and will be tagged for clearance to bring into the event.

May I bring a camera with lenses?
Cameras are allowed, but a camera bag will not be permitted. We ask that if you are taking pictures to refrain from leaving your seat as guests with cameras will not be permitted near the stage as it disrupts viewing for other guests. There will be a professional photographer taking photos of each student as they walk the stage to receive their diploma.

Who may attend Commencement?
Event attendance is limited to graduating students and their guests, alums and their registered guests participating in Reunion Weekend, and faculty and staff. All others wishing to participate in these events may join us via livestream (Ivy Day livestream and Commencement livestream).

Will the new location limit the number of guests?
The ITT is often used for large college events (most recently, the inauguration of President Willie-LeBreton) and allows us to comfortably seat guests. Guests may arrive at 8 a.m. to secure seating however, seats may not be saved. Items left on chairs to reserve them will be removed.

Do I need a ticket?
Tickets are not required, but event attendance is limited to graduating students and their guests, alums participating in Reunion Weekend and their registered guests, and faculty and staff of the College.

Will there be a separate viewing area if capacity becomes an issue?
All others wishing to participate in these events may join us via livestream (Ivy Day livestream and Commencement livestream).

What kind of seating is available in the ITT?
Seating inside the ITT during Ivy Day and Commencement are folding chairs. These chairs are used for both events regardless of location.

Is there an accessible seating section?
Forms were sent to all graduating seniors to submit requests for guests and family members who need accessible seating at Ivy Day and Commencement. The deadline to submit this request form was April 19th. If you have an unanticipated accessibility need, please contact event organizers as soon as possible; the college cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet late requests.

Can I save seats?
Unfortunately, seats may not be saved. Unattended items placed on seats will be removed to allow for guests to sit who are in attendance.

What is Smith College doing to help ensure graduating students are able to enjoy Ivy Day and commencement?
All attendees of Ivy Day and Commencement should review the Ivy Day and Commencement Participation Policy in advance of arriving on campus. By attending these events, attendees agree to comply with the outlined policies to ensure the safety of all in attendance. Failure to adhere to these policies may result in an individual being asked to leave the event or have prohibited items taken away.

Will masks or testing be required?
Masking is optional and welcomed everywhere on campus but is not required. The college asks that visitors follow CDC guidance, which advises those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have tested positive should mask for 10 days following the onset of symptoms. Those identified as a close contact after exposure to COVID-19 should mask for 10 days following the date of exposure. More information is available on our Health & Wellness site.

I’m concerned that an indoor location will increase the risk of COVID transmission. How are you addressing this concern?
The indoor venue has high ceilings and is quite large, therefore offering good ventilation and allowing greater spacing between chairs than would have been possible outside.

Is the ITT air-conditioned?
Parts of the ITT are air-conditioned and will be available for anyone who needs them as a cooling station.

Can’t attend in person? Download the programs for Ivy Day and Commencement (PDFs).

Ivy Day and Commencement Participation Policy

Event attendance is limited to graduating students, their guests, alums and their registered guests participating in Reunion Weekend, and faculty and staff. All others wishing to participate in these events may join us via livestream (Ivy Day livestream and Commencement livestream).

Graduates, students, guests, and alums must follow the requirements outlined below at Ivy Day and Commencement Day events: 

  • Attendees must comply with event staff and Campus Safety requests.
  • Academic regalia is required for all graduating degree candidates.
  • Smoking is forbidden in campus buildings, within twenty feet of a building, and at these events.
  • Avoid blocking views or walkways.
  • Refrain from offensive behavior or language.
  • Attendees will be asked to relinquish any inappropriate or dangerous item.

By attending these events, attendees agree to comply with these policies. Students may also refer to the code of student conduct. Failure to adhere to these policies may result in an individual being asked to leave the event or have prohibited items taken away. Confiscated items will not be returned.

Non-Permitted Items

The following are not permitted at Ivy Day and Commencement events: 

  • No bags of any kind will be permitted. This includes purses, fanny packs, and cross-body bags. Bag storage is not available for students or the public. Individuals who have a medical need to carry a bag may be permitted entry upon bag search.
  • No signs, banners, or flags of any kind are permitted.
  • No animals other than service animals are permitted. Emotional support animals are not allowed at college events without prior approval.
  • No weapons or projectiles, including guns, firearms, knives of any size, stun guns/tasers, bats, or poles, will be allowed.
  • Additionally, the following items will not be permitted: noise-making or sound-amplifying devices, including whistles, air horns, bullhorns, or PA systems, laser pens or pointers, balloons or other inflatable devices, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, lighters, vapes, or drones/UAVs.

Event Location & Seating

The doors of the Indoor Track & Tennis Facility will open at 8 a.m. Ceremonies will be streamed live to Facebook. No account is required to watch. For further information, contact

  • Tickets are not required
  • Guests are welcome to arrive starting at 8 a.m. to secure seating.
  • Seats may not be saved; items left on chairs to reserve them will be removed.
  • If the Northampton Fire Department determines the ITT has reached its capacity, they have the obligation to close the space to ensure the safety of our guests.


In order for us to ensure that we pronounce your name correctly during Commencement activities, all graduating students will receive an email from NameCoach with a unique link that will allow you to log in and record your name. It is important that you do this in advance to assist us in reading names correctly during the ceremony. If you need technical assistance with NameCoach, please send an email to

Academic Regalia

Following Smith College tradition, graduating students wear academic regalia for the first time at Rally Day, three months before Commencement. For Commencement, graduating seniors should come dressed in their full regalia.

Caps and gowns will be available for preorder online and can be picked up at the Smith College Bookstore.

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


The Madeleine is published in the fall and a copy will be mailed to graduates at their parent’s home address in mid-October. Additional copies of the book or past books may be purchased through the Office of Student Engagement for $50 each.

Photography & News Media

Commencement Photography

  • A photographer from GradImages will be at the Commencement ceremony to take photographs of each graduate. Graduates will receive a free passport-sized digital proof of this photo on an order card within 5-7 days following the ceremony.
  • Questions may be emailed to
  • After the ceremony you may order online at or call 800-261-2576.
  • Prior to the ceremony: To pre-register your permanent email address, please visit and click on Pre-Event Registration. You may add contact information for up to six additional relatives and/or friends.
  • GradImages never has and never will sell or share the address/email information provided to us.

News Reporters & Photographers

Media representatives must have Smith-issued credentials, worn in full view, to enter the roped-off areas of the campus on Saturday and Sunday.

We understand that international students who hope to have family members attend graduation may need documentation about their travels. Please see the International Students & Scholars Office's travel page for more information about how to obtain a personal letter of invitation.

Family at Commencement 2018
Family at Commencement 2018
Graduating student in their regalia holds a young child wearing their graduation cap

General Information & Guidelines

COVID-19 Guidelines

Visit the COVID-19 information page to stay up-to-date on Smith's COVID-19 policies.

Lost & Found

Inquiries about articles lost on campus may be made Thursday through Sunday at the Campus Center information desk, 413-585-4801.

Men’s Restrooms

Men’s restrooms can be found in the Ainsworth/Scott Gymnasium complex, Alumnae House, the Campus Center, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Art, Neilson Library, Seelye Hall and Wright Hall. Portable restrooms will be available at the Commencement ceremony.

No Pets

Please leave all pets at home. Animals and pets, with the exception of trained service animals assisting individuals with disabilities, are not allowed on campus.


Any emergency, including one that may require an ambulance or the Northampton Fire Department, should be reported to the campus safety, extension 5555 (for emergencies) or 413-585-5555 from a cell phone.

Anyone who is injured or becomes ill while on campus should seek medical attention at the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, 30 Locust Street, at 413-582-2000. If the illness or injury appears life threatening, call Smith extension 5555 (or 413-585-5555 from a cell phone) for ambulance service.

During Commencement, emergency medical personnel will be on site.


Smoking is prohibited in all campus buildings, including campus houses, meeting rooms, auditoriums and students’ private rooms.

Dining Services

Families may order tote lunches on Saturday, May 18 and may also make reservations for Commencement Brunch in the houses on Sunday, May 19. Check back soon for a reservation form. The Café will also be open for retail business during the weekend. Please use the GrubHub app to order at the Café. For more information about the Café, please visit Café website.


No private parties may be held in any spaces or areas on campus.


New England weather can be volatile and evenings may be quite cool; you may want to dress in layers and be prepared for rain.

Sustainability/Hydration Stations

Hydration stations will be available at Commencement for guests. We ask that you help Smith College in their sustainability efforts and encourage you to bring a reusable water bottle to fill at the stations.


Wireless internet access is available in all academic buildings. Visit the ITS website for instructions.


The Senior Candle-Lighting Ceremony, Sophomore Push/Senior Step Sing and Illumination could be canceled in extreme weather conditions, such as lightning, hail or severe winds. For further information about rain on Commencement Day, call 413-585-4636 (the college information line) after 7:30 a.m. that day. The signal that Commencement or Ivy Day will be held indoors at the Track and Tennis Facility, will be the ringing of the college bells at 8 a.m.; the doors of the ITT will also open at that time. Ivy Day and the Commencement ceremonies will be streamed live to Facebook. No account is required to watch.

Accessibility Accommodations

Smith College is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible experience for all graduates and their guests during Commencement weekend. Should guests have any accommodation requests such as accessible seating, assistive listening devices, sign language interpreters, etc., please complete the Disability Accommodations Request Form for each guest requesting accommodations.


Information on parking for those with physical disabilities can be found under Commencement Parking.


On-campus shuttle service is wheelchair accessible and available by calling 413-585-2400. Campus shuttles will be running throughout the day during events on Sunday.

Building Accessibility

Please use the Interactive Campus Map for more information regarding building accessibility.

Service Animals

Trained Service dogs, who are tethered and under the control of their handler, are welcome at all commencement events.

Translation Devices

Check back soon to use the Translation Device Reservation Form if a guest or member of your family requires the Commencement exercises to be translated into Mandarin or Spanish.