Skip Navigation
A Culture of Care
Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2020 semester
and the college’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commencement Schedule

Two students lighting candles at Illumination Night

The schedule below is designed to assist you in planning your weekend. Please note that times and events are subject to change.

Seniors may invite as many guests as they wish to attend Sunday’s Commencement ceremony. Tickets are not required.


Thursday, May 16

Academic regalia for students is available for purchase at the Smith College Bookstore from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Afternoon

1–1:45 p.m.—Ivy Day Leadership Orientation
A preview of weekend activities and leadership roles for Ivy Day for all members of Sophomore Push and Junior Ushers, the Ada Comstock Scholars president, the president of the senior class and the president of the SGA.
Campus Center front steps, Chapin Lawn

1:45–3 p.m.—Commencement Leadership Orientation
A preview of Commencement and leadership roles for all members of Sophomore Push and Junior Ushers, the Ada Comstock Scholars president, the president of the senior class and the president of the SGA.
Comstock-Wilder front steps

3:30–4:30 p.m.—Baccalaureate, for seniors only 
Baccalaureate is an opportunity for seniors to pause, reflect upon and rejoice in their accomplishments, challenges and friendships. President Kathleen McCartney will deliver remarks to the senior class. Seniors should wear graduation gowns, but not caps and hoods. 
Helen Hills Hills Chapel 

4–5 p.m.—12-Step Recovery Program meeting
Open to all.
Wright Hall 002 

4:30–7 p.m.—The Smith Bell Ringers’ open practice
All alumnae and families welcome. Join in the practice or just meet the bell ringers and visit the tower. 
Mendenhall bell tower

5:15–6:45 p.m.—Senior Celebration Barbecue
For seniors, graduate students and approved students remaining on campus. Tickets ($10 each) available at the event for guests.
Davis lawn (rain location: Campus Center)

Evening

8 p.m.—Celebrations Dance Company’s Annual Commencement Concert 
Performance by Celebrations, Smith’s student-run dance company, showcasing student choreography and performance. Suggested donation: $5.
Scott Dance Studio

Friday, May 17

Academic regalia for students is available for purchase at the Smith College Bookstore from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Morning

7–9 a.m.—Breakfast for students
Served in Cutter/Ziskind, King/Scales, Lamont and Tyler houses. 

8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.—Admission Office open for browsing and questions.
7 College Lane  

9–10 a.m.—President Kathleen McCartney will reflect on the year at Smith and review key priorities from her strategic plan, “Lives of Distinction and Purpose.”
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

9:15–10:15 a.m.—Meeting of Junior Ushers and Sophomore Push
Indoor Track and Tennis Facility

9:30–10:30 a.m.— Graduate and Special Programs Pre-rehearsal Breakfast
All students graduating from master’s degree, diploma and post-bac certificate programs are invited to join the Graduate and Special Programs staff for breakfast before the Commencement rehearsal. Come for information, to ask questions, to socialize with fellow students and to share experiences and future plans.
McConnell Hall Foyer

10–11 a.m.—Smith Today: Student Panel 
Current students will share how their studies at Smith have shaped their off-campus endeavors and how those experiences have enriched their liberal arts education. Moderated by Julie Ohotnicky, dean of students, associate dean of the college.
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

10:30 a.m.–Noon—Ivy Day and Commencement Rehearsal 
Attendance is mandatory for all seniors, Junior Ushers, Sophomore Push and candidates for advanced degrees. Immediately thereafter, the senior class panoramic photograph will be taken inside the facility.
Indoor Track and Tennis Facility 

11:15 a.m.–Noon—Renewing Neilson for the 21st Century 
Susan Fliss, dean of the libraries; and Dano Weisbord, director of CEEDS and campus planning
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

Senior Luncheon
Immediately following the Ivy Day and Commencement Rehearsal (to 1 p.m.). For seniors and all students remaining on campus. Guest tickets ($10 each) will be available at the luncheon.
Scott Gymnasium (seniors only); Tyler House (student workers and those with prior approval)   

11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.—The Grécourt Society ice cream stand 
Smith’s legacy society honors those who have included Smith in their estate plans and invites them to enjoy free ice cream. All alumnae are invited for information and updates about The Grécourt Society and how to include Smith in their estate plans. 
Campus Center, main level

Afternoon

2–3 p.m.—Gallery Tour
Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials
Join Emma Chubb, Charlotte Feng Ford ’83 Curator of Contemporary Art, for a tour of this major exhibition featuring an international roster of emerging and mid-career artists exploring the environmental, aesthetic and technological entanglements of our ongoing love affair with plastic. Both miraculous and malignant, ephemeral yet relentlessly present, plastic infiltrates our global networks, our planet and even our bodies.
Smith College Museum of Art

2–3 p.m.—Reunion Faculty Presentations 
Experience the rich intellectual life of Smith students today by attending brief lectures from Smith faculty. 

The N-word: History, Race and the College Classroom
Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor, associate professor of history
Seelye 106

Frankenstein: 200 Years of Mary Shelley’s Monster
Lily Gurton-Wachter, assistant professor of English
Seelye 201

A Pivot Point—Preparing the Botanic Garden of Smith College for the Century Ahead
John Berryhill, landscape curator of the Botanic Garden
Seelye 101

Mapping Every Lilac Leaf: Poems That Respond to Visual Art
Matt Donovan, director of the Poetry Center
Poetry Center, Wright Hall

2–4 p.m.—Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism 
Open house for seniors and families. 
Henshaw Complex, B2 offices, first floor

2:30–4 p.m.—Anthropology department reception for anthropology majors, their families and alumnae.
Seelye Hall 207 

2:30–4 p.m.—Jandon Center for Community Engagement reception
For community engagement and social change concentration graduates, faculty, staff and guests.
Jandon Center, Wright Hall 013

3–4 p.m.—Campus Tour
For alumnae, parents and their guests. The tour will depart from the Campus Center information desk. 
Campus Center, main level

3–4 p.m.—College admission process Q & A
For alumnae, parents and their guests. Join an admission expert for an insider’s perspective.
Admission Office, 8 College Lane 

3–4 p.m.—International reception
For international students, their families and international alumnae and their guests.
Lewis Global Studies Center, Wright Hall

3:30–4:30 p.m.—Smith Travel Program reception
For alumnae and their guests.
Alumnae House Dining Room

4–5 p.m.—12-Step Recovery Program meeting
Open to all.
Wright Hall 002 

4–5 p.m.—Study-Abroad reception
For students and alumnae who participated in study abroad programs, including (but not limited to) Smith Programs Abroad (formerly JYA) in Paris, Florence, Geneva and Hamburg. 
Lewis Global Studies Center, Wright Hall

4:30 p.m.—Chamber Music Recital
Featuring members of the graduating class. 
Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

Evening

7–11 p.m.—Stargazing and Physics/Astronomy open house 
Refreshments and demonstrations, rain or shine. Telescopic observations begin at 9 p.m. if weather permits.
McConnell Hall foyer and McConnell Rooftop Observatory  

8 p.m.—Celebrations Dance Company’s Annual Commencement Concert 
Performance by Celebrations, Smith’s student-run dance company, specializing in the contemporary choreography and performance of its members. Suggested donation: $5. 
Scott Dance Studio

8–10 p.m.—Alumnae of color reception 
For alumnae of color and their guests.
Mwangi Cultural Center

8:30–10 p.m.—Commencement Orchestra Concert
Featuring soloists from the graduating class.
Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

Saturday, May 18

Academic regalia for students is available for purchase at the Smith College Bookstore from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Morning

7–9 a.m.—Breakfast for students
Served in Cutter/Ziskind, King/Scales, Lamont and Tyler houses. 

7:30–8:45 a.m.—Meeting of Sophomore Push
Campus Center 102 (rain location: Indoor Track and Tennis Facility) 

8–8:45 a.m.—Meeting of Junior Ushers
In front of Office of Admission (rain location: Indoor Track and Tennis Facility)

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 pick up their roses by the overhead door, then line up as directed by Sophomore Push. 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. 

8:45 a.m.—Roses will be distributed to seniors in front of the President’s House. 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.—Junior Ushers assemble 
Admission Office parking spaces   

8:45 a.m.—Alumnae Parade assembly
Chapin Drive, between the Campus Center and College Lane  

9:15 a.m.—Alumnae Parade
Alumnae march toward the President’s House and the Quadrangle, through the double lines of the senior class. Alumnae proceed through the Emerson House archway, around the Quadrangle and past the reviewing stand on Martha Wilson House steps.   

Junior Ushers follow the alumnae through the lines of seniors, leading the seniors into the Quadrangle and past the reviewing stand.   

Senior class procession
Following the route of the alumnae, the senior class will be led by the Junior Ushers into the Quadrangle, past the reviewing stand, and will then be seated.  

Welcome 
Alumnae Association of Smith College President Susan Greene ’68
The Quadrangle

Remarks
President Kathleen McCartney

Presentation of Alumnae Class Awards and celebration of alumnae gifts

The Ivy Day Awards Convocation
The awards convocation ceremony honoring the academic achievements of members of the graduating class will conclude with the ceremonial planting of the class ivy.
The Quadrangle    

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.—Athletics and exercise and sport studies department reception 
All are welcome to celebrate the graduating seniors, ESS graduates and minors, student athletes, and alumnae. Introduce your family to athletics and the ESS department members. 
Ainsworth Gymnasium, level 1, entrance hallway

11:30 a.m. (or immediately following the Ivy Day Awards Convocation)–1 p.m.—Computer science senior brunch reception
For graduating computer science majors, their families and alumnae.
Ford Hall 340, Pearsall Seasons Room

Afternoon

Noon–1 p.m.—Box lunches
For seniors, graduate students and approved students remaining on campus. Parents and guests of students may purchase meal tickets on site on a space-available basis. (adults: $13, children 12 and under: $6)
Scott Gymnasium
DINING RESERVATION FORM

Noon–1:30 p.m.—Multicultural Family Brunch honors graduating seniors of color and welcomes their families, Smith faculty, staff and alumnae to celebrate their achievements. Hosted by the Unity Presidents’ Council; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; and the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity.
Davis Lawn and Mwangi Cultural Center (rain location: Davis Ballroom)

Noon–3 p.m. Family Activities
A bounce house, face painting, art activities and green fun with the Botanic Garden
Chapin Lawn; rain location: Museum of Art atrium

1–4 p.m.—Neilson Library Information Booth
Stop by and learn about the new Neilson Library.
Neilson Lawn. Rain location: Hillyer Art Library

1:30–2:15 p.m.—President’s Reception
For seniors and graduate students, their families, guests, faculty, alumnae and staff. 
Seelye lawn (rain location: Campus Center)   

2 p.m.—Celebrations Dance Company’s Annual Commencement Concert 
Performance by Celebrations, Smith’s student-run dance company, showcasing student choreography and performance. Suggested donation: $5. 
Scott Dance Studio

2–3 p.m.—Reunion Faculty Presentations 
Experience the rich intellectual life of Smith students today by attending brief lectures from Smith faculty.

Cursed No More? Women’s Increasing Role in the Workforce of the Persian Gulf  
Bozena Welborne, assistant professor of government
Seelye 106

The Tower and the Bridge: The Art of Structural Design
Andrew J. Guswa, professor of engineering and director of the Picker Engineering Program
Seelye 201

The Geology of Smith as Revealed by Campus Excavations
John Brady, professor of geosciences
Seelye 101

2–4 p.m.—Hillyer Art Library open house 
Explore Smith’s remarkable art library, browse art resources and view a model of the new Neilson Library.
Hillyer Art Library, Brown Fine Arts Center

2:30–3:30 p.m.

English department and poetry concentration joint reception for seniors, their families and alumnae. 
Poetry Center, Wright Hall

Statistical and data sciences program reception for seniors, alumnae and guests.
Pearsall Seasons Room, Ford Hall

2:30–4 p.m.

Africana studies reception for seniors, their families and alumnae. 
Campus Center 102

The Design Thinking Initiative open house 
All are welcome to learn more about our program.
The Design Thinking Initiative office, Capen Annex 

Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center open house 
CIEC office, 146 Elm Street

Picker Engineering Program reception for seniors and their guests.
Ford Hall 022, 024

Environmental science and policy, landscape studies and environmental concentrations joint reception for seniors, alumnae and their guests.
Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability; Wright Hall 005

Government department reception for government majors, their families and alumnae.
Seelye 207

Phi Beta Kappa initiation ceremony, conducted by Chapter Zeta in Massachusetts.
Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

Reception for Residence Life student staff members, seniors, their families and alumnae who have served in these roles. 
Clark Hall conference room and porch

Psychology department reception for psychology majors, their families and alumnae.
McConnell Hall foyer 

Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American and Latino/a studies reception for seniors, their friends and families, and alumnae.
Sylvia’s Room and Wilson Atrium, Campus Center 

Tennis reception and round-robin for all tennis alumnae and those who may have found tennis after Smith. Come to play or join us court side for some refreshments. Extra rackets available. Cancelled in case of rain.
Outdoor Tennis Courts

2:30–4:30 p.m.

American studies program and sociology department reception for seniors, their families and alumnae.
Mary Maples Dunn Conference Room, Pierce Hall

Italian studies department reception for seniors, their families and friends, and alumnae.
Boathouse lawn (rain location: Hatfield 105) 

Libraries in the Round
Discover how the libraries support the campus community with innovative pilot programs, digital tools, eResources, instruction and publishing opportunities. Explore interactive technology tools, drone mapping and more. 
Young Library (enter via Bass Hall)

Special Collections open house 
Visit the new home of Special Collections. Meet curators and archivists, view displays and learn about the Mortimer Rare Book Collection, the College Archives and the Sophia Smith Collection of women’s history. 
Special Collections, Young Library, Level 2 (enter via Bass Hall)

3–4 p.m.

Alumnae Chorus reception
Reuning Smithies and friends who love to sing are invited to meet members of the Smith College Alumnae Chorus.
Green Room, Sage Hall

Education and child study department reception for seniors, graduate students, alumnae and their guests.
Gill Hall Gym, Smith College Campus School  

Conversation and Q&A with Honorary Degree Recipients—featuring Elizabeth Alexander, Drew Gilpin Faust, Niki Sauvage Tsongas and Ai-jen Poo. Panel moderated by President Kathleen McCartney.
Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts   

3–4:30 p.m.

Art department reception for seniors, their families and alumnae.
Jannotta Gallery, Hillyer, Brown Fine Arts Center 

Botanic garden reception 
Tour the conservatory, explore the exhibits and enjoy light refreshments.
Lyman Conservatory

Religion; Jewish studies; and Russian, East European and Eurasian studies reception for seniors, alumnae and their guests. 
Dewey Hall front porch (rain location: Dewey Common Room)

3–5 p.m.

Geosciences department reception for geosciences majors, their families and alumnae.
Clark Science Center patio (rain location: Burton Hall foyer)   

Performing arts reception for seniors, graduate students, their families and alumnae. Hosted by the music, theatre and dance departments. 
Mezzanine level, Werner Josten Library, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts

3:30–4:30 p.m.

Biological sciences, biochemistry, chemistry and neuroscience joint reception for seniors, alumnae and their guests.
Ford Hall 240, atrium, terrace and Pearsall Season’s Room

The East Asian languages and literatures department and East Asian studies program joint reception for seniors, their families and alumnae.
Campus Center 103/104  

3:30–5 p.m.

Economics department reception for seniors, their families and alumnae.
Boeckman Sculpture Court, Museum of Art

Mathematics department reception for seniors, alumnae and guests. 
Math Forum, Burton third floor

Philosophy department reception for seniors, alumnae and their guests.
Philosophy Study, Dewey Hall

Program for the Study of Women and Gender reception for seniors, their families and alumnae.
Campus Center 205

4 p.m.

Service of Remembrance
Helen Hills Hills Chapel

4–4:30 p.m.

German studies’ German Honor Society Delta Phi Alpha initiation ceremony. Families and alumnae welcome. 
Hatfield Hall 204 

4–5 p.m.

12-Step Recovery Program meeting, open to all.
Wright Hall 002 

Film and media studies reception for seniors, alumnae and their guests.
Kahn Institute colloquium room and porch, 21 Henshaw Avenue

French and comparative literature departments reception for seniors, their families and alumnae.
Lewis Global Studies Center Lounge and Library, Wright Hall

The Narratives Project (formerly the Wurtele Center for Work and Life) open house for seniors, alumnae and their guests.
Clark Hall, third floor, 50 Elm Street

4:30–5 p.m.

German studies department reception for all students of German, their families and alumnae. 
Hatfield Hall 203

4:30–5:30 p.m.

Picker Engineering Program 10-year reunion for alumnae and their guests.
Engineering wing, first floor, Ford Hall

Evening

5–6:30 p.m.—Choral Concert
Smith College Glee Club and Chamber Singers perform works chosen by the graduating class.
Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall   

6–8 p.m.—Mellon Mays Ivy Day Dinner 
The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship community hosts a dinner for senior fellows and their families.
Campus Center 103/104

7:15 p.m.—Junior Ushers meeting
In front of Lyman Conservatory

8 p.m.—Senior Class Candle-Lighting Ceremony
Upper College Lane (across from Lyman Conservatory) 

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.—Illumination of upper campus with live music by the Jay Messer Quintet.
In the event of rain, the quintet will perform in the Campus Center. 

8:30–10:30 p.m.—Ada Comstock Illumination Night Celebration
Open to all Ada Comstock Scholars, Ada Comstock alumnae and their guests.
Poetry Center and upper lobby, Wright Hall

Sunday, May 19

Academic regalia for students is available for purchase at the Smith College Bookstore at 8 a.m. The bookshop will remain open until 3 p.m

Morning

7–9 a.m.—Breakfast for students
Served in Cutter/Ziskind, King/Scales, Lamont and Tyler houses. Continental breakfast will be served at Cushing/Emerson. The Campus Center Café is open for parents and families.  

8 a.m.—Meeting of Sophomore Push
Steps of Comstock/Wilder (rain location: Indoor Track and Tennis Facility)

8 a.m.—Meeting of Junior Ushers
Steps of Wilson (rain location: Indoor Track and Tennis Facility)

COMMENCEMENT

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. 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). The indoor Commencement ceremony will be simulcast live to Sweeney Concert Hall in Sage Hall for graduates’ guests and family members (open seating, no tickets required) 

9:15 a.m.—Assembling for Commencement
The faculty will assemble in the courtyard behind Laura Scales House. As instructed at rehearsal, all graduates must line up on Mandelle Road in front of Comstock and Wilder houses. Seniors traditionally wear white attire and black shoes with their caps, gowns and hoods. The audience will 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   

The outdoor ceremony will be simulcast to Weinstein Auditorium.

Diploma Circle—Immediately following Commencement, graduates will march out of the Quadrangle onto the Laura Scales/Franklin King terrace. Graduating seniors only; 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.) 

Afternoon

12:30–2 p.m.—Commencement Luncheon
Honoring seniors and graduate students.
College dining rooms, Campus Center
DINING RESERVATION FORM

Monday, May 20

Residence houses close for seniors at noon; seniors must return their keys to Clark Hall by noon.


Printed copies of the Commencement and Reunion weekend schedule will be available at the Campus Center and at the Alumnae House.