Letter to Degree Candidates

The Hobart College One Hundred and Ninety-Second Commencement and William Smith College One Hundred and Sixth Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 14, 2017. Students are recommended for a degree upon completion of requirements pertaining to their class. Candidates are personally responsible for satisfactorily completing all degree requirements, academic and financial requirements. (See "Clearance for Graduation"). A student who has no more than two courses outstanding toward degree requirements may participate in commencement exercises.

As you approach the completion of your degree program, you will need information regarding senior week, which begins May 9, with particular emphasis on the May 14 Commencement Exercises. (See "Senior Week Schedule").

Please read the following checklist and retain for guidance and continued reference throughout the graduation process.

This is an occasion where the Colleges take great pride in their students' accomplishments and honor you along with your families, friends and loved ones who also take pride in your achievements. Let this be an honorable and dignified celebration, a memorable and festive day for all of us to enjoy.

To the Classes of 2017, we applaud your efforts in completing degree requirements and wish you continued success in your future endeavors. See you at rehearsal!

With best wishes,
Peter Sarratori

Clearance for Graduation

All information regarding academic status comes from the Registrar's Office. Each candidate for graduation is personally responsible for obtaining clearance for graduation from the Registrar. Students are urged to contact the Registrar to determine if they have met all academic requirements. A student who has no more than two courses outstanding toward degree requirements may participate in Commencement Exercises. Degree candidates are recommended to the President and Board of Trustees for approval by faculty vote. Contact the Student Accounts Office at (315) 781-3343 to check on financial requirements.

Federal Stafford Loan and Federal Perkins Loan borrowers are required by the US Department of Education to complete Exit Counseling prior to graduation. All borrowers of Stafford and/or Perkins loans should receive an email with instructions for completing Exit Counseling online. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (315) 781-3315 with any questions.

Should a student have questions concerning the Commencement Exercises or this correspondence, please do not hesitate to call the Registrar's Office at (315) 781-3651.

Time and Place

Commencement Exercises will be held on the Hobart Quadrangle, Sunday, May 14, 2017. The graduation procession begins at 10:00 a.m. from Bristol Gym (for Hobart graduates and students in the MAT Program) and Winn Seeley Gym (for William Smith graduates). For details with regard to lining up for the procession, see Assembly of Degree Candidates.

Rain location: Robert A. Bristol Field House/Sport and Recreation Center.


Commencement Rehearsal is Friday, May 12, 2017 at 2 p.m. in the Hobart Quadrangle (Rain location: Robert A. Bristol Field House/Sport and Recreation Center). More information on rehearsal coming soon.

Assembly of Degree Candidates

Plan A: If the weather is bright and sunny (as in the past) or as long as the weather is tolerable, we will hold the Commencement Exercises outdoors on the Hobart Quadrangle. Please proceed as follows:

1.) All MAT Graduates line up in Bristol Gym between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

2.) Hobart Graduates line up in Bristol Gym between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Mike Hanna will be the Hobart Student Marshal.

3.) William Smith Graduates line up in Winn-Seeley Gym between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Deb Steward will be the William Smith Student Marshal.

4.) There will be several individuals available to assist you with robing and lining up in both gymnasiums for the procession into the quad. Graduates will be lining up in alphabetical order. Please keep your place in line. This is very important.

5.) The graduate procession into the quad will start promptly at 10:00 a.m. The William Smith Student Marshal will lead the William Smith graduates from Winn-Seeley Gym to Bristol Gym and meet the MATs, Hobart College graduates and Hobart Student Marshal.

6.) The pipe band will lead first the MAT graduates followed by the graduating seniors and march side by side down the Medbery sidewalk. When the pipe band and the marshals reach halfway through the center aisle of the audience, the lines stop.

The two lines are about eight feet apart and loop around one half of the audience. The faculty then march in a double line between the two lines of graduates and to the applause of the graduates. When the faculty and trustees have all passed through the double line of graduates, the graduates then proceed to their seats (accompanied by ushers).

At the end of the ceremony, the process is reversed. The trustees and faculty exit first through the center aisle. When the faculty marshal reaches the back of the center aisle, the two faculty lines stop. Graduates then exit by marching in a double line between the two lines of faculty (in the center aisle) and to the applause of the faculty. Don't worry, we will review this at rehearsal.

Plan B: If we get a downpour and the weather is intolerable we will hold the Commencement Exercise in the Robert A. Bristol Field House (Sport and Recreation Center). In this event, please proceed as follows:

1.) Parking will be available in the Medbery parking lot and the Town and Country Plaza. Parking at the Sport and Recreation Center will be reserved for the handicapped and individuals with special needs (permit required). Those who can are urged to park in one of these two places and walk to the field house.

Bus transportation will be available in the event we relocate to the Sport and Recreation Center. Buses will be leaving from the front of the Scandling Center to the Sport and Recreation Center during the two hours prior to the start of the ceremony. Buses will also be available at the end of the ceremony to return individuals to the parking lots at Medbery and the Town and Country Plaza.

2.) Hobart and William Smith undergraduate and graduate students will line up in the Sport and Recreation Center at designated locations on the first floor (behind the nets) surrounding the inner complex.

3.) All graduates will be required to line up between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. unless the ceremony is delayed to a later morning time.

4.) There will be several individuals available to assist you with robing and lining up.

5.) Unless the Commencement Ceremony is delayed to a later morning time, we will start the graduate procession promptly at 10:00 a.m.

6.) The procession up the center aisle will be led by the pipe band, followed by the graduate (MAT students) followed by the graduating seniors. The faculty marshal (and the faculty) will be followed by the trustee marshal (and the trustees). We will review this at rehearsal.

SPECIAL NOTE TO STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT PLANNING TO ATTEND: Those who are not planning to attend Commencement, please call Jason Welch at 781-3650 ASAP.

All we can do is hope for another pleasant day for this honored and dignified celebration. If the weather is questionable and you are wondering on the morning of Commencement where the exercise will take place, please check the HWS Daily Update webpage for announcements or call 781-3150 for the most recent and up-to-date information with regard to Commencement Exercises. We will also have signs posted early that morning in the Scandling Center and Coxe Hall. Continuous announcements will be made on WEOS and WGVA throughout the morning. Those who have additional questions or concerns with regard to Commencement activities, please call the Registrar's Office at 781-3651.

Admission of Guests and Information on Special Needs

Guests do not need tickets or invitations to attend the Commencement Ceremony. There is plenty of seating available and all family and friends are welcome to attend. Guests are seated on a first-come, first-served basis. If guests have any special needs that may require accommodation, please contact the parents office at (315) 781-3700. Handicap accessibility needs can be addressed with regards to parking, on-campus housing and seating at the Commencement Exercises. Also, there will be a sign language interpreter at Commencement.

Broadcast Arrangements

The Commencement exercise will be simulcast in Gulick Hall, Room 100. WHWS 105.7FM (webcast at plans to broadcast commencement, beginning at 10:15 a.m. Should weather be inclement, rain plan announcements will also be broadcast between 7 and 9 a.m.

Video and Photography Services

A professional photographer will photograph each senior as he/she receives his/her diploma. You will receive a color proof and order form a few weeks after Commencement. Personalized videotapes and DVDs of Commencement Exercises will be available through IT Services. Contact IT Services to place an order by phone at 315-781-4357, or by email at




Commencement 2017 will be streamed live on Sunday, May 14 starting at 10:30 a.m.



Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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