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The Dartmouth
April 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Commencement will be held on Memorial Field, College announces

Guests remain unable to attend regardless of vaccination status.

Memorial Field announcement for commencement photo
The change in location from the Green to Memorial Field was for physical distancing and crowd control, the College said.

Updated April 4, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. 

In an email to members of the Class of 2021 on Wednesday afternoon, the College announced additional details for this year’s undergraduate graduation proceedings, sharing that an in-person commencement ceremony is scheduled to take place on June 13 beginning 11 a.m. EST. A currently undetermined number of faculty and senior administrators will be allowed to attend the in-person ceremony, though seniors’ families and friends, regardless of vaccination status, will not be allowed to attend.

According to the email, to allow for COVID-19 social distancing protocols and for “organizers to manage the flow of attendees entering and exiting,” the ceremony will be held on Memorial Field instead of the usual location on the Green.

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an emailed statement that the College plans to seat graduates on the field, and that Memorial Field provides “flexibility” for seating in the stands if COVID-19 guidelines prompt “alternate seating configurations.” The College is currently developing a protocol to ensure that only approved attendees are present at the ceremony, she added.

An actual attendance count of attendees will be determined after graduates complete an “Intent to Participate” survey distributed by the office of student life, Lawrence wrote. 

Additionally, Class Day for the Geisel School of Medicine will be held in Spaulding Auditorium on May 26. Investitures for the Tuck School of Business and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice will take place on June 11, while the Thayer of School of Engineering will hold theirs on June 12. Investiture for the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies will be pre-recorded.

This year is the first time that the commencement ceremony will be held on Memorial Field since 1995, when then-President Bill Clinton delivered the commencement address in the stadium. The commencement ceremony was moved back to the Green the following year and has been held there ever since, according to the email sent to seniors. 

The College previously announced that seniors who live on and off campus and observe the College’s twice-weekly testing schedule will be allowed to attend the in-person graduation ceremony. Seniors who study away from campus during spring term can attend the ceremony virtually or in person, provided they meet testing and quarantine requirements prior to their participation.

Lawrence wrote that the College will be taking precautionary measures in the case that family and guests arrive in Hanover to celebrate graduation but did not elaborate on what those measures are. The Dartmouth COVID-19 Task Force will determine if any announced arrangements will change due to the rollout of vaccinations, she added 

Further details on upcoming ceremonies and celebrations will be announced “sometime in May,” Lawrence wrote. 

The article has been updated to reflect additional information from College spokesperson Diana Lawrence.