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Commencement Schedule

Two students lighting candles at Illumination Night

Ways to View Commencement

Seating at Smith's Commencement ceremony is limited and is intended for the graduates and their guests. Members of the public who wish to view the ceremony are directed to do so via simulcast at John M. Greene Hall. 

Simulcasts for alumnae will be provided at reunion brunches. Additionally, students, parents, alumnae and friends around the world are invited to view the event via live webcast. The webcast will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 21.

If Commencement is held indoors due to inclement weather, tickets will be issued to graduates for their families. Simulcast locations in Sweeney Concert Hall and Weinstein Auditorium will be available for guests without tickets.


Thursday, May 18

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

Afternoon

1:45–3 p.m.

A preview of weekend activities and leadership roles in these major events 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 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. Experienced ringers attending open practice are also invited to ring on Friday from 1:30 to 1:45 in honor of reunion. Mendenhall bell tower.

5:30–6:45 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, specializing in the contemporary choreography and performance of its members. Suggested donation: $5. Scott Dance Studio.

Friday, May 19

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

Morning

7 a.m.–9 a.m.

Breakfast for students served in Cutter/Ziskind, King/Scales, Lamont and Tyler houses.

8:30–4:30 p.m.

Admission Office open for browsing and questions. 7 College Lane.

9–10 a.m.

Reunion Faculty Presentations. Experience the rich intellectual life of Smith students today by attending brief lectures from Smith faculty.

Using Smith Campus as a Living Laboratory to Implement Sustainability 

Camille Washington-Ottombre, assistant professor of environmental science and policy. Wright Hall 005.

The Politics of Discontent

Panelist: Howard Gold, professor of government, and Brent Durbin, assistant professor of goverment. Chaired by Linda Leonard Fowler ’67. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall.

Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii

Barbara Kellum, professor of art, gives expert insights in the featured exhibition. Limited to 40; sign up in the museum lobby beginning at 8:45 a.m. Museum of Art.

How Poems Mean

Ellen Doré Watson, lecturer, English language and literature; director, Poetry Center. Poetry Center, Wright Hall.

9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Alumnae Oral History Project. The Smith College Alumnae Oral History Project wants to hear your stories! Staff from the College Archives will conduct short oral histories with alumnae about your memories, the impact of Smith and your reflections on women’s education. Visit the College Archives for information. College Archives, Alumnae Gym, level A.

9:15–10:15 a.m.

Meeting of Junior Ushers and Sophomore Push. Indoor Track and Tennis Facility.

10:30–11:30 a.m.

Smith in the World: 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. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall.

10:30–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.

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. All alumnae are invited to enjoy an ice cream treat. Information will be available about The Grécourt Society and how to include Smith in your estate plans. Campus Center main level.

Afternoon

1:30–1:45 p.m.

Change-Ringing of the Mendenhall Tower Bells in honor of Reunion.

1:30–2:30 p.m.

Renewing Neilson for the 21st Century. Susan Fliss, dean of the libraries, and Beth Myers, director of special collections. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall.

2:30–3:30 p.m.

Diversity and Inclusion at Smith and Beyond. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall.

3–4 p.m

Q & A about the college admission process for alumnae, parents and their guests. Join an admission expert for an insider’s perspective. Admission Office, 8 College Lane.

3–4 p.m

Campus Tour for alumnae, parents and their guests. The tour will depart from the information desk. Campus Center, main level.

3–4 p.m

International Reception for students, their families and international alumnae. Lewis Global Studies Center, Wright Hall.

3:30–5 p.m.

Anthropology department reception for anthropology majors, their families and alumnae. Seelye Hall 207

4–5 p.m.

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

4–5 p.m.

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

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 (JYA) in Paris, Florence, Geneva and Hamburg. Lewis Global Studies Center, Wright Hall.

5:30 p.m.

Shabbat Service and Dinner for seniors and their families. Reservations required, ext. 2754. Neilson Library Browsing Room.

Evening

7:30–11 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.

8:30–10 p.m.

Commencement Orchestra Concert featuring soloists from the graduating class. Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall.

Saturday, May 20

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

Morning

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

7–9 a.m.

Breakfast for students served in Cutter/Ziskind, King/Scales, Lamont and Tyler houses. 

8–8:45 a.m.

Meeting of Junior Ushers and Sophomore Push. Campus Center 103/104. 

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 8:15 a.m. Seniors should enter the main lobby of the ITT through the glass doors, pick up their roses by the overhead door and 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 a.m.–5 p.m.

Alumnae Oral History Project. The Smith College Alumnae Oral History Project wants to hear your stories! Staff from the College Archives will conduct short oral histories with alumnae about your memories, the impact of Smith and your reflections on women’s education. Visit the College Archives for information. College Archives, Alumnae Gym, level A.

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. (See “Traditions,” page 16.)   

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 

AASC President Kathleen Barnes Grant ’75. 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 class of 2017 will conclude with the ceremonial planting of the class ivy. The Quadrangle.    

11:15 a.m. (or immediately following the Ivy Day Awards Convocation)

Service of Remembrance. Helen Hills Hills Chapel.

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.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Athletics and exercise and sport studies department reception. Meet Kristin Hughes, director of athletics and recreation, ESS professors and our coaching staff. Seniors, graduate students, their families and alumnae welcome. Ainsworth Gymnasium, level 1, entrance hallway.

11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

Open House. Visit the newly renovated Crew House Dance Studio on Paradise Pond, made possible by the generosity of Sharonjean Moser Leeds ’67 and Richard Leeds. Crew House Dance Studio and lawn.

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: $12, children: $6). Scott Gymnasium.   

Noon–1 p.m.

Multicultural Family Brunch for graduating seniors of color to celebrate their achievements with their families, faculty, staff and alumnae. Hosted by Alumnae Relations; Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity; Office of Multicultural Affairs; and the Unity Presidents’ Council. Davis Lawn (Rain location:Davis Ballroom).

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, specializing in the contemporary choreography and performance of its members. 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.

The Symbiosis of Research and Teaching: Bringing the Archives to the Classroom and the Classroom to the Archives 

Andrea Stone, associate professor of English. Seelye 101

Neglected Tropical Diseases: The Cycle of Disease and Poverty. 

Steven Williams, Gates Professor of Biological Sciences and Biochemistry. Seelye 106.

Sexagon: Muslims, France and the Sexualization of National Culture 

Mehammed Mack, assistant professor of French studies and Study of Women and Gender. Seelye 201.

Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii 

Barbara Kellum, professor of art, gives expert insights on the featured exhibition. Limited to 40; sign up in the museum lobby beginning at 1:45 p.m. Museum of Art.

How Poems Mean 

Ellen Doré Watson, lecturer in English language and literature; director of the Poetry Center. Poetry Center, Wright Hall.

2:30–3:30 p.m.

Conversation and Q&A with Honorary Degree Recipients—featuring Clare Higgins, executive director at Community Action and former mayor of Northampton; Michelle Kwan, champion figure skater and public diplomacy envoy at the U.S. State Department ; and Henrietta Mann, Native American education and tribal leader and founding president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College. Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts.   

2:30–3:30 p.m.

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

2:30–3:30 p.m.

Government department reception for government majors, their families and alumnae. Wright Upper Lobby.

2:30–3:30 p.m.

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

2:30–3:30 p.m.

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

2:30–3:30 p.m.

Wurtele Center for Work and Life open house for seniors, alumnae and their guests. Clark Hall, third floor, 50 Elm Street.

2:30–4 p.m.

Africana studies reception for seniors, their families and alumnae. Department toast at 3 p.m. Campus Center garden level and TV lounge.

2:30–4 p.m.

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.

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.

2:30–4 p.m.

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

2:30–4 p.m.

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

2:30–4:30 p.m.

American studies program and sociology department reception for seniors, their families and alumnae. Kahn Institute, Neilson Library, third floor.   

2:30–4:30 p.m.

The Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center open house. All are welcome to come and learn more about the Center’s programs in financial education, innovation and entrepreneurship for Smith women. CIEC Office, 146 Elm Street

2:30–4:30 p.m.

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

2:30–4:30 p.m.

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

2:30–4:30 p.m.

Library Special Collections open house. Meet curators and archivists and learn about Smith’s rare book collection and our internationally renowned women’s history archives. Mortimer Rare Book Room, Neilson Library, level 3; and College Archives & Sophia Smith Collection, Alumnae Gymnasium, level A.

2:30–4:30 p.m.

Reception for Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American and Latino/a Studies seniors, their friends and families, and alumnae. Campus Center 103-104.

3–4 p.m.

German studies department reception and German Honor Society Delta Phi Alpha initiation ceremony. Students of German, their families and alumnae welcome. Hatfield Hall 204. 

3–4 p.m.

History department reception for seniors, alumnae and their guests. Neilson Library periodicals room, third floor. 

3–4:30 p.m.

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

3–4:30 p.m.

Botanic Garden reception. View the Lyman Conservatory collections, exhibition gallery, Woods of the World installation and Plant Evolution mural. Meet Botanic Garden staff and learn about new initiatives and plans for the future. Light refreshments. Lyman Conservatory.

3–4:30 p.m.

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

3–4:30 p.m.

Religion department reception for seniors, alumnae and their guests. Dewey Hall front porch (rain location: Dewey Common Room.

3–5 p.m.

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

3–5 p.m.

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.   

3:30–4:30 p.m.

The East Asian languages and literatures department and East Asian studies program joint reception for seniors, their families and alumnae. Seelye Hall 207.

3:30–5 p.m.

Economics department reception for seniors, their families and alumnae. Neilson Library Browsing Room.

3:30–5 p.m.

Mathematics and statistics department reception for seniors, alumnae and guests. Math forum, Burton Hall 304.

3:30–5 p.m.

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

3:30–5 p.m.

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

4–5 p.m.

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

4–5 p.m.

Film and media studies reception for seniors, alumnae and their guests. Mary Maples Dunn Conference Room.

4–5 p.m.

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

4:15–5:15 p.m.

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

4:30–5:30 p.m

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

4:30–6 p.m.

Commencement Choral Concert—The Smith College Glee Club, the Chamber Singers and the a cappella group Groove perform works chosen by the graduating class. Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall.   

5:30–8 p.m.

Ivy Day Dinner for Mellon Mays senior fellows and their families and alumnae. Mwangi Cultural Center, round room.

Evening

7:15 p.m.

Junior Ushers meeting. In front of Lyman Conservatory.

8 p.m.

Senior Class Candle-Lighting Ceremony (weather permitting). Upper College Lane (across from Lyman Conservatory). 

8:30 p.m.

Sophomore Push/Senior Step Sing (weather permitting).Neilson Library steps.   

8:30–10 p.m.

Illumination of upper campus with live music performed 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 21

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 Junior Ushers and Sophomore Push. Steps of Comstock/Wilder (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 at 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. For indoor Commencement, the ITT doors will open at 8:30 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). All guests must have tickets to enter the ITT. The indoor Commencement ceremony will be simulcast live to Sweeney Concert Hall in Sage Hall and Weinstein Auditorium in Wright Hall for graduates’ guests and family members without tickets (open seating).

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. (See “Traditions,” page 16.) 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.

Additional Seating

The outdoor Commencement ceremony will be simulcast live to John M. Greene Hall (open seating).

10 a.m.

Commencement Exercises. The Quadrangle.   

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.) (See “Traditions,” page 16.)

11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Crew House Dance Studio open house. Visit the newly renovated studio on Paradise Pond, made possible by the generosity of Sharonjean Moser Leeds ’67 and Richard Leeds​.​ Crew House Dance Studio and lawn.

Afternoon

12:30–2 p.m.

Commencement Luncheon honoring seniors and graduate students. College dining rooms, Campus Center. 

Monday, May 22

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.