Know before you go: Commencement 2024

Soon-to-be-graduates, families and friends of the Mount Holyoke College community, we share your excitement and anticipation for this year’s Commencement on May 19, 2024. The College has put together a short list for you to keep in mind as you plan for this year’s celebration.

Mount Holyoke College strives for all on-campus experiences to be accessible to everyone to the greatest extent possible. To that end, please visit the Commencement access and accommodations page for more in-depth information regarding your specific access and accommodation needs, including seating, wheelchair rentals, service animal information and more.

Whether you are a graduating student or a guest, service animals — as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — are allowed at Commencement ceremonies. All other animals, including emotional support animals and pets, are prohibited from the Commencement ceremony and related events. Individuals with service animals are not required to complete the Access and Accommodation Form. For more information, please see the Mount Holyoke College Service Animals Policy and the Pets on Campus Policy.

If you have any questions, please email

As this year’s ceremony will be outdoors (weather permitting) on Pageant Green, the procession for faculty and graduates will differ from previous years. Faculty will proceed from the Kendade Atrium, graduate students from the Art Building and undergraduate students from Gamble Auditorium in the Art Building. The Green is an untented and grassy space.

Mount Holyoke College asks everyone to familiarize themselves with its policies concerning protests and similar activities. No disruption or misconduct during Commencement will be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, air horns, noisemakers, signs, balloons, banners, chants or shouting during speeches. Any prohibited items that are found or noticed will be confiscated by event staff.

There will be no food service during or after Commencement. Guests can familiarize themselves with the area’s wide array of restaurants at this web page. However, please bear in mind that Smith College in neighboring Northampton will also be holding its graduation ceremonies on May 19, so reservations may be needed in advance.

Each graduate will have five tickets for friends and family. These tickets are for seating on Pageant Green. Seating will begin at Pageant Green at 9 am. Tickets must be presented by 10:15 am. Any unclaimed seats at this time will be released to other guests. Nonticketed seating will be in the Gettell Amphitheater, adjacent to Pageant Green, as well as indoor, air-conditioned seating available to watch the livestream in the Great Room, the Unity Center and Room 227b in the Blanchard Community Center, as well as the Morrison Room in the Willits-Hallowell Conference Center.

Please note that a forecast of heavy rain, extreme heat or other inclement weather may necessitate relocating the Commencement ceremony indoors to the Kendall Sports & Dance Complex Field House. A determination will be made Tuesday, May 14, and if relocation is deemed necessary, an announcement will be made by noon on that day. If relocation is deemed unnecessary, no announcement will be made. Graduates and other members of the Mount Holyoke community are encouraged to monitor their email, the College’s social media channels and the Commencement webpage for updates. Tickets for seating will still be required, and each graduating student will still have access to five seats.

The outdoor ceremony will not be tented, so guests may want to bring sunscreen. Additionally, guests should consider bringing a jacket and a hat, as the ceremony will not halt for light rain. However, for safety reasons, umbrellas are not allowed on Pageant Green. Guests are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle; water stations will be available in select locations on campus, identified by signage. Boxed water will be provided for graduates. The College will also have indoor, air-conditioned seating available to watch the livestream in the Great Room, the Unity Center and Room 227b in the Community Center, as well as the Morrison Room in the Willits-Hallowell Conference Center.

Guest parking for Commencement will be in the parking lots at Kendall Sports & Dance Complex, Torrey Hall, Ham/MacGregor Halls, Mary Lyon Hall, the Observatory, Morgan Street, the Gorse Children’s Center and Mandelles/1837 Halls. Accessible parking will be in all lots except for the Torrey and Morgan Street parking lots. There will be shuttle pickup and drop-off at Pageant Green and the Kendall, Mary Lyon, Morgan Street, Gorse and Madelles/1837 parking lots.

Ultimate Exposures will be providing professional portrait photography services for Commencement. Graduating students will have the opportunity to take their cap and gown photographs on Monday, May 13, in the Great Room located in the Blanchard Community Center. To schedule your appointment, please go to, click on the “Schedule Your Sitting” button, click on “Cap and Gown” and select Mount Holyoke College. Students will be able to view their portraits immediately via a laptop computer. Any reshoots are done immediately to ensure 100% satisfaction. Ultimate Exposures will also take students’ photos at the Commencement ceremony as they cross the stage, along with a formal photo of each graduate holding their diploma. Ordering information will be sent via email by Ultimate Exposures following the Commencement ceremony.

Families and guests are welcome to take photos with their graduates on campus grounds before and after the ceremony, but they will not have photo access to the stage or graduate seating areas.

The rehearsal for Commencement will take place on Friday, May 17. Graduates will meet on Pageant Green at 9 am and should be prepared for the rehearsal to last until noon. The practice lineup will be in Gamble Auditorium in the Art Building. Students will practice marching from Gamble to Pageant Green. Additionally, there will be a run-through of the calling of names, and there will be opportunities to advise on any changes to name pronunciations. The group will also practice recessing. After the rehearsal, the group will proceed directly to Mary Woolley Hall for a presentation from the Alumnae Association, as well as the Laurel Parade rehearsal, which will take place at Mary Lyon’s gravesite.

Only students — seniors, graduate students and those eligible to participate in Commencement — may pick up tickets. Tickets can be picked up from the front desk of the Willits-Hallowell Conference Center, and students must show their OneCard and can only pick up their own tickets. Ticket pickup hours are daily from noon to 8 pm, starting Thursday, May 16, 2024, through Saturday, May 18, 2024.

American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be available via livestream. Live captioning (CART services) will be available on two large screens flanking the ceremony stage and via livestream. Assistive listening devices, which include headphones or a neck loop, are available for borrowing for the duration of the ceremony.

Guests and graduates, please complete the Access and Accommodations Form to share your request for in-person ASL support or an assistive listening device. Tablets and devices will be available for pick up at the Information Tent on Pageant Green located near the entrance to the Art Building.

Live language translation services for Spanish and Mandarin will be available, and anyone interested in accessing them should email

Contact us

The Commencement Committee organizes the annual Commencement ceremony.