Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Commencement Reunion

Information for parents

Posted on February 27, 2013

For parents and families

Here are some important details about the big weekend. Please take careful note of these, and share them with other family members who plan to join us for the festivities.

Congratulations on arriving at this important milestone in the life of your family.


Commencement details
Commencement luncheon
Weekend activities for graduates and families
Private parties
Parking and shuttle buses
Accommodations--Disability Assistance
Hospitality on Saturday morning
Graduation photos and announcements
Graduation press releases
Moving out
Weekend dining
Traveling to Wheaton, local restaurants, and area accommodations
For further information

COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY ... open seating outdoors; no tickets required!

Saturday, May 18, 2013, 10 a.m.

The Commencement exercises officially begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18. 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. 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 also requires no tickets. 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.

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 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 evening dinner on campus and the Saturday luncheon. Should you wish additional information about this, please call the Dining Services Office at 508-286-8209.


There are a variety of events on Friday afternoon and evening specifically for parents and families. The President's Reception honoring members of the graduating class and their guests will be held at 5 p.m. Dinner is available for all guests on Friday evening provided your graduate purchases tickets from Dining Services in advance.

Events beginning at approximately 2 p.m. and continuing throughout the afternoon and into the evening include the Greenhouse Open House, Alumnae/i College, an exhibit 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 by the Senior Class.

Please consider joining us on Friday.


We understand how exciting Commencement is, and how much everyone wants to celebrate this special occasion. The college has planned many activities to do just that—celebrate and honor our graduates and alumnae/i classes.

In order to accomplish this, all college services must 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.

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.


If you are in need of disability assistance, please contact Denyse Wilhelm, Assistant Dean for Academic Resources and Disability Services, ADA/504 Coordinator, by March 8. Dean Wilhelm can be reached at 508-286-8215 or via email at wilhemm_denyse@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 2. 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.


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.


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 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.

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Please remind your graduating senior to confirm their correct local newspaper information via the WINDOW (Wheaton Information Delivered Over the Web) before May 18. 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.


Students will need to move out of their residence halls and houses by late Saturday afternoon, May 18. 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 Lock Shop (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.


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


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

For further information

General inquiries
Dean of Students Office: 508-286-8218
Office of Alumnae/i Relations & Annual Giving: 508-286-8207

Dining questions
Aramark Food Service: 508-286-8209

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