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Commencement Etiquette at Mary Baldwin College

Commencement at Mary Baldwin College is the high point of each academic year. Our approach to this ceremonial event is one emphasizing that a common academic experience brings each individual into the community of educated people. That means we honor each graduate rather than conduct mass recognition. Because we have a proud tradition of presenting each graduate with a diploma, audience members play an important role by strict adherence to time-honored etiquette.

  • Commencement is held – weather permitting – outside in the area in front of Grafton Library. Though outside, it is a formal event (in style, if not in dress) and we ask audience members to conduct themselves accordingly.
  • As we celebrate the achievement of our graduates, please refrain from cheering or applauding individual graduates as each walks forward to receive a diploma to assure that every graduate is honored and recognized equally. It will also allow audience members to hear each name as it is called.
  • We know that families and friends will want to take pictures of their special graduate(s). Please refrain from taking pictures until after a graduate receives her or his diploma. You will find a special area marked off for you to take photographs of graduates. This will reduce the distractions and disturbances to other audience members as they try to see and hear ongoing presentations.
  • This is a special note of etiquette for graduates: your robe should not be altered by the addition of personal elements of any kind. The cut and color of robes are determined by the college one attends and by specific degree received by each individual. In that sense, they are much like a military uniform or religious vestment, and should not be modified to reflect personal taste, style or interests.

We ask that you take these few rules of etiquette to heart to assure that we show well-earned respect to each graduate, and honor the traditions of Commencement at Mary Baldwin College.