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About the Ceremony


Sunday, May 19 

Commencement will be held on the lawn in front of Old West on Sunday, May 19. Early in the morning, college staff will reserve seating for the class of 2024 and faculty, and special seating for those who have made arrangements in advance for attendees with physical disabilities and guests of the platform party. All other seats are unreserved and may be held after 6:30 a.m. There is no limit to the number of guests per student who may attend this ceremony, and no tickets are necessary, should the ceremony be held outdoors. 

Caps and gowns are to be worn. Seniors are to assemble promptly at 9 a.m., as assistant marshals must arrange seniors in alphabetical order. Seniors will form two columns on the sidewalk adjacent to the John Dickinson Campus along W. High Street. Look for the signs organizing graduates alphabetically by last name. It is extremely important to be in the proper place in line. The procession will begin at 9:35 a.m., and the ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. 

Seniors will follow the faculty procession and will be escorted to their seats by assistant marshals. When it is time to receive individual degrees, please remain seated until directed by an assistant marshal to leave by the east aisle. The graduates will proceed to the east end of Old West, enter through the door to the ground floor, continue through the building to the west end, climb the stairs and proceed down the hallway to Memorial Hall, down the Old Stone Steps to the platform and finally back to their seats. A photo area has been designated to provide family members with the best possible view of the ceremony. At the close of the ceremony, graduates will follow the platform party and the faculty leaving by way of the east aisle, retracing the approximate route used in the procession. During the recession, the platform party and faculty will form two columns through which graduates will pass. Recession concludes at the end of the walkway. 

Important Considerations 

The tassel may be moved from right to left after you leave the stage. This provides an unobstructed view for the professional photographer taking your photo. Women may wish to wear dress flats as the procession and recession will cross the grass, which could be soft from rain. In the case of inclement weather, you may wish to wear casual clothes beneath your robe and carry an umbrella. Please dress appropriately for conditions. 

Indoor Commencement and Post-Ceremony Lunch Ticketing Policy and Distribution 

All graduating seniors will be issued two* tickets for an indoor Commencement ceremony along with three complimentary advance tickets for lunch (one graduate and two guests).  Please see the Severe Weather Plan for further information. Tickets will be distributed by the Office of Conferences & Special Events (CASE) as follows: 

Wednesday, May 15
11:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in front of the Bookstore in the HUB

Thursday, May 16  
9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in front of the Bookstore in the HUB 

Friday, May 17 
9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in front of the Bookstore in the HUB 

Saturday, May 18 
11 a.m. - 4 p.m. in front of the Bookstore in the HUB

Additional advance lunch tickets may be purchased for $12.00 with flex meal plan points, Dining Dollars or Devil Dollars (while meal plan is active), and cash or check at dining services during their regular business hours. Additional tickets may also be purchased on Sunday, May 19, at the Holland Union Building Information Desk (cash only).  Any tickets not picked up by 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, will be forfeited.

* Given the smaller size of the class of 2024, each graduate will receive three tickets for an indoor Commencement ceremony.

Commencement Bouquets 

Locally-grown Commencement bouquets from Roots Cut Flower Farm are available for pre-order prior to Commencement. Place orders using our pre-order form and submit it no later than Monday, May 13. A limited number of bouquets will be available for purchase on Sunday near Althouse Hall, or in the lobby of the Kline Athletic Center in case of severe weather.


Commencement History 

The Commencement exercises at Dickinson represent the culmination of one’s undergraduate experience and the successful completion of the requirements for graduation. The faculty and Board of Trustees of the college approve the conferral of degrees prior to the ceremony. 

The first Dickinson College Commencement exercises were held in the Presbyterian church on the town square, and the occasion was something of a public holiday. Professors and students marched in procession, first from the college buildings in Liberty Alley and then from our present campus. Each graduate gave proof of his learning by delivering an address in Latin or English, a practice that continued through most of the 19th century. 

The gowns worn by participants hearken back to the monastic robes of the Middle Ages. The hood—originally worn by clergy and students for warmth in drafty halls—was retained in special cases, such as academic distinction.