2023 Commencement Weekend Frequently Asked Questions
What are the dates?
Friday through Sunday, May 26–28, 2023.
Do I have to register to attend?
Yes, we ask that all visitors to campus register to attend.
Do I need to submit my proof of vaccination?
No, submitting vaccination records is not required. We expect all visitors to campus to be fully vaccinated and to bring a mask with them in the event that they are asked to wear one. However, vistors do not need to wear a mask to enter buildings on campus. Those who are not fully vaccinated must receive a negative COVID test result before arriving on campus. In advance of your arrival to Bard College, we ask that you kindly monitor your current health. In the event you are not feeling well, we ask that you remain at home. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 5-10 days, please also refrain to coming to campus. The Stevenson Athletic Center gym facilities remain closed to visitors; at this time visitor access is limited to observing sporting events.
Where can I find the schedule?
View the weekend schedule online at bard.edu/commencement/schedule or families.bard.edu/commencement/schedule.
When should I arrive on campus?
We recommend you check with your student. Some families arrive on Friday. Others arrive on Saturday.
Where do I pick up my meal tickets?
Pick up meal tickets at Registration, open on Friday from 2–7 pm and on Saturday from 9 am – 3 pm at New Annandale House.
Do I need tickets to enter the tent?
No. The Commencement tent opens at 1 pm, and seating is first come, first served. We suggest that you arrive as early as possible.
Will water be available at the Commencement tent?
Bottle filling stations will offer water freefills around the perimeter of the tent. Please bring your favorite reusable bottle to the ceremony.
Must I limit the number of guests I can bring?
No. All registered guests are welcome. The registration form, however, limits the number of guests to eight. If you have more than nine people in your party, please create a new registration, choosing a different primary registrant with a new email address. Family packets will be organized under the main registrant's name.
What about the accessible seating area?
Advance registration is required to reserve a seat in this area with a wristband given for access. Requests for accessible seating must be received on or before Monday, May 8, through an application process. To begin the application, please indicate your interest in accessible seating on the registration form. You will then be contacted by commencement accessibility staff to provide additional information.
In order to accommodate as many requests as possible, a person with accessible seating needs will be allowed no more than two guests in this area.
Wristbands will be included in the main registrant's packet. Please see the schedule for registration hours and location. For questions, please email Jacob Testa at [email protected].
When does the Commencement ceremony begin and end?
The ceremony will begin at 2:30 pm and will end at approximately 6 pm. The academic procession enters the Commencement tent at approximately 3:00 pm.
Is the Commencement tent air-conditioned?
Large fans are stationed throughout the tent, but it is not air-conditioned. If extreme heat poses a health risk to members of your party, we encourage you to view the Commencement ceremony via livestream at Olin Auditorium, located in the Franklin W. Olin Humanities Building, or Weis Cinema, located in the Bertlesmann Campus Center, which are both air-conditioned.
Is there accessible parking?
Accessible parking will be in the Kline parking lot and along Library Road, near the Commencement tent. Persons with disabilities that impair their mobility will be required to display a parking permit/placard from their rearview mirror for access to this area. Once capacity has been reached, you are welcome to drop off members of your party at this location before parking elsewhere. A limited number of accessiblity golf carts will be available to shuttle those needing assistance. If you plan to park in accessible parking, please arrive before 1:30 pm. Road closures from 1:30–2:30 pm may impact access to these areas.
Are there any other parking recommendations?
Once you arrive an campus, you will be directed to park by campus security. One parked, if possible, we recommend you use your phone to pin your car’s location, so you can more easily locate it later that evening.
Will I receive a formal invitation?
Commencement invitations will be available for download at bard.edu/commencement mid-March. Printed invitations can be ordered here.
Where and when do students pick up their caps and gowns? What’s the process?
Seniors can pick up their caps and gowns approximately one week prior to Commencement at the Bard Campus Bookstore in the Bertelsmann Campus Center. A variety of sizes will be available, so there is no need to place an advance order or schedule a fitting. The cost of the cap and gown is automatically charged to the student’s account. Please note: In order to pick up caps and gowns, student accounts need to be paid in full.
As a family member, may I attend Baccalaureate or Senior Dinner?
No, due to limited capacity, the Baccalaureate ceremony and Senior Dinner are reserved for graduating seniors only.
Do you offer livestreaming of Commencement?
Yes, a live webcast of the Commencement ceremony will begin at 2:30 pm on Saturday, May 28. The link will be posted on the Bard website on Commencement morning.
Are pets allowed?
Only service animals are permitted on campus during Commencement weekend.
May I stay on campus?
On-campus housing is for alumni/ae only.
When do seniors need to vacate their dorm rooms?
Seniors must vacate their rooms by noon on Sunday, May 28.
Will shuttle service be offered between the Bard campus and local hotels and train stations?
No shuttles will be available between campus and hotels. Saturday shuttles will pick up passengers at the Amtrak station in Rhinecliff. The pickup schedule will be posted on the College’s transportation website, blogs.bard.edu/transportation (under Special Schedules). Guests are responsible for making their own return travel arrangements to the train station.
Where can I find a list of accommodations near campus?
A comprehensive list of nearby hotels, inns, and B&Bs may be found on the Bard website at bard.edu/visiting. We recommend booking your accommodations as soon as possible.
Meals on Campus
Will there be meals for those with special dietary concerns?
We make every effort to accommodate dietary needs. Vegan options will be available at the post-Commencement barbecue and at Kline Dining Commons.
What happens if I purchase meal tickets and don’t use them? May I get a refund?
All requests for refunds must be submitted by May 8.
May I pay for the Saturday barbecue on site?
A limited number of tickets will be available at Registration, located at New Annandale House, before 3 pm on Saturday, though we recommend you register in advance. Post-deadline prices apply after May 8.
May I come for fireworks if I don’t purchase barbecue tickets?
Yes, find a spot on the lawn and enjoy! Fireworks begin at dark, around 9:15 pm.
Should I include my graduating senior when I register for meals?
The Bard meal plan ends at dinner on Friday, so plan to purchase tickets for your student for any meals after that. The barbecue is free for graduating seniors, but they need to be registered in advance to receive their complimentary ticket. They can register themselves or you have the option to sign them up through the registration form.
I have more questions. Whom do I ask?
Feel free to contact the Office of Events if you need further assistance at [email protected] or 845-758-7414.