Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Commencement Reunion

Information for Parents & Families

Commencement officially celebrates the academic achievement of the Class of 2017 and all the support of families, friends, faculty and staff. We invite you to join in this wonderful occasion!


Commencement Ceremony
Commencement Reception
Private Parties
Weekend activities for graduates and families
Parking and shuttle buses
Accessibility/Disability needs
Graduation photographs and announcements
Graduation press releases
Moving out
Weekend dining
Traveling to Wheaton, local restaurants and area accommodations
For further information


The Commencement exercises officially begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

You may bring as many family members and guests as you like to Commencement—no tickets are required and the ceremony is held outdoors in the Dimple.

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, again, no tickets are required. If we do need to move indoors because of weather conditions, for the comfort and the safety of everyone we ask that you consider inviting eight or fewer guests per graduate.

Special Note: Weather related announcements can be found after 6:00 am, Saturday, May 20, on the College's website.


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.



At noon, immediately following Commencement, there is an all-college reception located on Chapel Field, overlooking Peacock Pond. Join us for light refreshments while taking time to capture those family photos!


If you are in need of disability assistance, please contact Abigail Cohen by April 18. Abigail Cohen can be reached at 508-286-8215 or via email at: cohen_abigail@wheatoncollege.edu.


Persons with disabilities, who intend to request seating accommodations for the Commencement ceremony, should contact the Dean of Students Office at 508-286-8218 by April 28. Please note that seating space is limited to the individual with the disability and one family member. Additional family members may sit in the general seating area.  For those needing to rent medical equipment such as wheelchairs a local vendor is available; Attleboro Area Medical Equipment.

SATURDAY PARKING . . . and other important transportation details

Campus parking is always tight on this big weekend, spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Traffic will be heavy, and we expect these spots will fill quickly.

We are fortunate to have community partners so close by who allow us to use their large parking areas and we will shuttle guests back and forth to and from the campus.

If you wish to save time rather than searching for on-campus parking spots you may go directly to the Norton High School, at 66 West Main Street. There you will have ample parking, a seating area to utilize while waiting in between shuttles and a hassle-free experience!

The shuttle buses will run regularly beginning at 8:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. They will drop off passengers on the main campus adjacent to the Chapel Field and Peacock Pond which is just a short walk to the Dimple. The shuttle buses will pick up passengers from this same location.

Those wishing to drop off elderly persons, those with accessibility concerns 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 have your handicap decal visible in your vehicle. Please allow plenty of time and consider car pooling with family members and friends if possible.

A wheelchair-accessible shuttle will rotate through the main parking lots.  Parking lot attendants will assist shuttle communication as needed.


On Saturday morning, Commencement Day, the Balfour-Hood Center Café will be open with coffee and beverages for purchase for those who arrive early and wish to visit with graduates, friends and family members before the ceremony begins.


We understand how exciting the event of Commencement is, and everyone’s desire to celebrate the special occasion. 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 the 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.


There are a variety of events on campus Friday afternoon and evening specifically for parents, families, and guests. The President's Reception honoring members of the graduating class and their guests will be held at 5:00 p.m. in the Hood Courtyard, located between the Watson Fine Arts and Mars Arts & Humanities buildings.

Other events beginning at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Friday and continuing throughout the afternoon and into the evening may include a Greenhouse Open House, Phi Beta Kappa initiation ceremony, an exhibition of work by senior studio art majors, Theatre Ensemble Experiments, and a concert by the student a cappella groups. Please consider joining us on Friday.


A photographer from GradImages® will take individual photos of graduates as they cross the Commencement platform and with their diploma after they've exited the stage. Students will receive an email at their Wheaton email address with information about how to order their Commencement photos online soon after graduation. Inquiries about photographs can be made to GradImages® at 800-261-2576 or by going to their website at: gradimages.com.

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

Visit the "Scenic Photo Spot" overlooking the stage area located between the Boston Brass Ensemble tent and the Parent Ambassador Seating section.  This area will provide an opportunity for photo-taking in an organized, alphabet based fashion.  College staff will be on site to assist parents and family members with timing based on the order of exercises.  This is designed to be a quick "snap and go" area, we appreciate everyone's cooperation with keeping the line moving so that everyone gets a chance to take their photo!


Please remind your graduating senior to confirm their correct local newspaper information via the WINDOW (Wheaton Information Delivered Over the Web) before May 17. Per federal law, only your graduate can authorize the release of this information (reminders and instructions will be sent via e-mail to all seniors). Should you have questions about graduation press releases, we suggest you send an e-mail to: hometownnews@wheatoncollege.edu.


Students will need to move out of their residence halls and houses by 5 PM Saturday afternoon, May 20. Seniors who live in the New England area generally cope with their final departure by starting to move things home in the final 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. They should remember to return their keys to either the Locksmith (open until 8 p.m. on Commencement Day) or Public Safety before leaving campus. Seniors should also pay close attention to communications from Residential Life for more details.


Friday, lunch is available at 12:00 p.m. at the Dimple Picnic and dinner is available 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for all guests in Emerson Dining Hall.  Saturday, breakfast is available at 7:30 a.m. in Emerson Dining Hall.  All meals require your graduate to purchase tickets from Dining Services in advance. The graduate’s meals are free. For additional information, please call Dining Services at 508-286-8209.


Information about directions to Wheaton, local restaurants and area accommodations may be found on the Wheaton website at wheatoncollege.edu/about/our-location.

For Further Information:

Dean of Students Office: 508-286-8218
Email: deanofstudents@wheatoncollege.edu

Dining Services inquiries:

Aramark Food Service: 508-286-8209


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