To download, click the images below. (Size for the lawn signs is 24" x 18")

sign 1  sign 2

sign 3

Prohibited Items for Commencement Ceremony

We are looking forward to celebrating your students as they graduate from HWS! In order to provide a comfortable and enjoyable commencement ceremony on Sunday, we ask all parents to refrain from bringing signs, large posters or other visually obstructive items that will block the view of other guests. Also, no airhorns, noisemakers, bullhorns, confetti cannons or other amplified devices. No weapons, alcoholic beverages or drones, either. We truly appreciate your help in making this weekend special for your graduates!


A list of local accommodations can be found here. Please make reservations directly with your hotel of choice. We suggest doing so soon as rooms will be booked quickly.

Rooms are available for families in the Comstock residence hall on Friday, May 17, Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19. These air-conditioned dormitory rooms have twin beds with shared bathrooms. Linens are included (1 sheet set, 1 pillow, 1 blanket, 1 washcloth, 1 bath towel), but you may want to bring extra. Doubles and some singles are available – please indicate your preference when registering and we will do our best. Friday and Sunday nights are $46.84 per person per night, plus taxes and fees, Saturday night is $56.84 per person per night (includes $10 voucher for Sunday breakfast at au bon pain). Non-voucher housing option is not available for Saturday night. Sunday au bon pain hours are 7 a.m.-12 p.m.


The Colleges offer special meals including a Family Barbeque on Friday night, Commencement Day lunch on Sunday. Au bon pain will be open from 7 a.m.-12 p.m. on Sunday, May 19 (no registration required, cash or credit card accepted). Vegetarian and gluten-free entrees will be available at all meals. Children five (5) and under eat for free and do not need to be registered for any meals.


Tickets are not required. There will be plenty of seating available (rain or shine), and all family and friends are welcome to attend. Commencement is held outdoors on the Hobart Quad with unlimited seating. The ceremony will be simulcast in Gulick Hall as well. In the case of inclement weather, an announcement will be made between 6-8 a.m. on WHWS (105.7 FM) and the ceremony will be moved to Bristol Field House with a start time of 10 a.m.

Commencement ceremony parking will be available in the Medbery North lot, Scandling lot, JPR Complex and Odell’s South lot. Parking for guests with accessibility needs will be in the Medbery South lot. Please alert the parking attendants at Medbery, when you arrive, that you need accessible parking. Shuttles will be available from the Odell’s South lot to the ceremony on the Quad. Click here to view the parking and shuttle map.

If the ceremony is moved indoors to Bristol Field House, shuttles will be available from the Medbery/Scandling parking lots to Bristol Field House. There is also limited parking space in Odells south lot that is walking distance to the Bristol Field House. Click here to view the parking and shuttle map.

Please see the SPECIAL NEEDS section below for more information about accessible parking and access.

The ceremony will happen rain, snow or shine. We strongly encourage all participants to watch the weather forecast and dress accordingly – including bringing an umbrella if the forecast calls for showers and dressing warmly. Since we will be outdoors on grass surfaces, please wear appropriate footwear for the weather and conditions. In the case of dangerous weather, the event will be moved to Bristol Field House and begin at 10 a.m. This change will be broadcast on WHWS between 6 and 8 a.m.

WEOS (89.7 and 90.3 FM) and WHWS 105.7 FM will make continuous announcements on Sunday morning beginning at 6 a.m. You may also check the HWS Update for the most current information.

If you need accessible parking on the day of the ceremony, please go to the Medbery Parking Lot where you will be directed to spaces adjacent to the Quad.  There will be golf carts available to transport people with limited mobility, and ramps available to access the quad. At the ceremony, there will be large screens for better viewing and sign language interpreters.  The ceremony will also be simulcast in a classroom in Gulick Hall.

In the case of the ceremony being moved indoors at the Bristol Field House, parking is very limited. Those with special needs who can board a shuttle bus should park in the Medbery South Lot and take the shuttle to the Field House. For those with special needs who are unable to board a shuttle bus, curbside drop off will be available at the Bristol Field House lot. For those with special needs who cannot take the shuttle or be dropped off, there are a limited number of parking spaces for vehicles with valid handicapped permits only at the Bristol Field House lot.

Seating is available for individuals in need of view of the American Sign Language interpreters. Please contact Jennifer Murray at

If you have special needs that may require accommodation in order to ensure your full participation, please contact the Parents Office at (315) 781-3700.

The Commencement ceremony will be simulcast in Gulick Hall in Room 100. Additionally, Commencement will be streamed online starting at 9 a.m.

The College Store is your source for diploma frames and class rings. The College Store will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18, and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Phone: (315) 781-3449. 

Please visit the Herff Jones site to order Hobart College, William Smith College, or Hobart and William Smith Colleges graduation announcements and thank you notes.

A professional photographer will photograph each senior as they receive their diploma. You will receive a color proof and order form a few weeks after Commencement from Genesee Photo Systems (105 W. 4th Ave., Stillwater, OK, 74074, 1-800-345-7427).

Press releases will be sent to the hometown newspaper of graduates after Commencement. As soon as possible prior to Commencement, please email with your hometown newspaper’s name, address (e-mail address if they have one) along with a current photo of the graduate.

The Office of Campus Life has emailed seniors, MSM, MHEL and MAT students the information to order their cap and gown. There is no additional charge for caps and gowns as it is covered by the student activity fee. Seniors will have until February 29 to place their order. They will pick up their cap and gown on Cap and Gown Day scheduled for Monday, May 6, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Vandervort Room.

Students will be notified via student email about schedules for rehearsals and procedures. Namecoach will also be used to ensure correct name pronunciation for Commencement.

The Senior Class Presidents plan activities for seniors during the week before Commencement. Contact the Office of Student Engagement with questions at (315) 781-3513.

Students slated for graduation will receive their E-Bill in April, which must be paid prior to Commencement. E-bills are generated by the Student Accounts and issued via each student’s Nelnet account. Questions about billing can be directed to Student Accounts at 315-781-3343 or

Should you have any questions regarding your child’s eligibility for graduation, the student may email Linda Radin at from their HWS email account with concerns. If the student includes their parent or family member’s email address, and states in the inquiry that they are providing permission for their parent or designated party to be included in Registrar email correspondence, then they will be included in the response. Please allow several days for a response, as many students are writing in with questions at the same time.

If you have any additional questions regarding Commencement, please contact the Parents Office at (315) 781-3700 or at