Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Commencement Reunion

Information for families

Posted on February 29, 2012

Congratulations on your graduate's achievement! Below are some important details about Commencement. Information on traveling to Wheaton, local restaurants, and area accommodations can be found here.

Commencement ceremony ... Saturday, May 19, 2012, 10 a.m.

Commencement exercises are held outdoors in the Dimple, with open seating. No tickets are required, and you may bring as many family members and guests as you like. The ceremony officially begin at 10 a.m. Seniors and families are able to "self-reserve" seating beginning at 7:30 a.m.

We hardy New Englanders are committed to remaining outside for the ceremony if at all possible. Please wear or bring appropriate layers of clothing, particularly for those in your family who may be elderly or very young. In the event of extreme weather conditions, we will relocate to the Beard Field House in the Haas Athletic Center, which has a large capacity and also requires no tickets. If we do need to move indoors because of weather conditions, the news will posted on Wheaton's home page. For the comfort and the safety of everyone we ask that you consider inviting eight or fewer guests per graduate.

Commencement programs will be available at the four corners around the Dimple and in front of Cole Memorial Chapel. These locations will be designated by blue and white balloons.

Commencement luncheon

At noon, immediately following Commencement, there is an all-college luncheon on the Chapel field. Some families choose to participate in this luncheon (for which your graduate will need to purchase tickets in advance--see next paragraph), while others bring a picnic lunch and gather informally about the campus.

Later in the semester, your graduate will receive information regarding the purchase of tickets for Friday dinner on campus and the Saturday luncheon. Should you wish additional information about this, please call the Dining Services Office at 508-286-8209.

Private parties

We understand how exciting the event of Commencement is, and everyone’s desire to celebrate the special occasion is expected. The college has planned many activities to do just that--celebrate and honor our graduates and alumnae/i classes.

In order to do this, all college services will be committed to such events. This means that, unfortunately, we will be unable to accommodate requests or provide services on campus for private parties during Senior Week and Commencement/Reunion weekend.

You are welcome to picnic on campus with your family and friends; however, we ask that no charcoal grills be used, the State of Massachusetts alcohol laws are followed, and all picnic supplies brought to campus are removed.

We thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Weekend activities for parents and families

The weekend festivities begin Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. with a President's Reception honoring members of the graduating class and their guests. (Download invitation--pdf). Dinner is available for all guests on Friday evening as well, provided your graduate purchases tickets from Dining Services in advance. There are a variety of events on campus Friday afternoon and evening specifically for parents and families, including an exhibition of work by senior studio art majors, a performance by senior theatre majors, a concert by the student a cappella groups and the traditional candle-floating ceremony on Peacock Pond immediately following the seniors-only "sentimental night" celebration in the Chapel. Please consider joining us for the day on Friday.

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Saturday parking . . . and other important transportation details
Campus parking is always tight on this big weekend. Overflow parking will be available at off-campus parking lots when space on the campus is filled. Campus parking will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Traffic will be heavy, and we urge you to arrive on campus as early as possible on Saturday morning. Signs will be posted, and the Norton Police and Wheaton Public Safety officers will be on hand to direct you. Shuttle buses will run regularly beginning at 8:30 a.m. through 3 p.m. to and from these overflow lots. These shuttle buses will drop off passengers at the Nursery School/Clark Center parking lot, which is just a short walk across the street from the Commencement ceremony in the Dimple. The shuttle buses will pick up passengers from this same location.

Those wishing to drop off elderly persons or small children should do so by entering Howard Street from Route 123. A Public Safety officer will direct you to a location where you may drop off those who cannot walk from the regular parking lots. You will, however, need to park your car following this drop off, as handicap parking is at a premium and taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Please allow plenty of time.

Special accommodations
Persons with disabilities who intend to request accommodations for the Commencement ceremony should call the Dean of Students Office at 508-286-8218 by April 15. Please note that special seating is limited to the individual with the disability and one family member. Additional family members may sit in the general seating area. If you intend to request an interpreter, contact the Dean of Students Office, also by April 15.

Hospitality on Saturday morning
On Saturday morning, Commencement Day, there will be a hospitality center located in the Balfour-Hood Center Café. Coffee and beverages will be available for purchase for those who arrive early and wish to visit with graduates, friends and family members before the ceremony begins.

Graduation photographs and announcements
A photographer from GradImages will take individual photos of graduates as they cross the Commencement platform. Students will receive an email at their Wheaton email address with information about how to order their Commencement photos and their formal portraits (if taken) online soon after graduation. Inquiries about photographs can be made to GradImages at 800-261-2576 or by going to gradimages.com.

Graduation announcements by Jostens (non-personalized) may be purchased at the Wheaton College Old Town Hall Bookstore (508-286-3430) beginning in April. The Senior Class officers will provide information to their classmates about ordering personalized announcements through Jostens (jostens.com) in the early spring.

Graduation press releases
Please remind your graduating senior to confirm their correct local newspaper information via the WINDOW (Wheaton Information Delivered Over the Web) before May 19. Per federal law, only your graduate can authorize the release of this information (reminders and instructions will be sent via email to all seniors). Should you have questions about graduation press releases, we suggest you send an email to: hometownnews@wheatoncollege.edu.

Moving out
Students will need to move out of their residence halls and houses by late Saturday afternoon, May 19. Seniors who live in the New England area generally cope with their final departure by starting to move things home in the last weeks of the semester. While we don't expect those living at a greater distance to do this, we do encourage students to pack during Senior Week, prior to Commencement, so they are ready to move by Commencement Day. In order to avoid last-minute packing at the end of Commencement Day, please remind your graduate to prepare in advance to leave campus. Graduates should remember to return their keys to either the Lock Shop (during business hours) or Public Safety before leaving campus. Seniors should also pay close attention to communications from Residential Life for more details.

Weekend dining
Your son or daughter will receive information regarding the purchase of tickets for the Friday dinner and the Saturday luncheon. For additional information, please call Aramark Food Service at 508-286-8209.

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