Family & Friends
The annual graduation ceremony is an important milestone in the lives of our students and their families. To help make sure that it is an enjoyable and memorable event for everyone, we provide more answers to some commonly asked questions about Commencement at WPI.
The annual Commencement ceremony is an important milestone in the lives of our students and their families, and WPI works hard to assure that this will be an enjoyable event. That is why we do all we can do to assure the safety and welfare of our guests. Toward that end, our security personnel will be conducting random checks of camera bags, backpacks, and other large items on Commencement day. We appreciate your understanding as we undertake this security measure, which we believe will help make May 11 a pleasant and memorable day for all.
Viewing the Ceremony - Auxiliary Viewing Rooms
A Note about Weather:
The Commencement Ceremony will be outdoors on the Quad. Please dress accordingly!
Auxiliary viewing rooms are available regardless of weather. Live broadcast of the ceremony will be in the following locations (which will be open regardless of the weather):
Friday, May 10th, 2013 -- Baccalaureate Program -- Live Stream
- Higgins Laboratories, 116, 218
Saturday, May 11th, 2013 -- Commencement Program -- Live Stream
- Higgins Laboratories 116, 154, 202, 218
- Olin Hall 107
- Salisbury Laboratories 104, 105, 115 (Kinnicutt Hall)
- Fuller Laboratories Auditorium (Upper Perreault Hall, & Lower Perreault Hall )
- Atwater-Kent Laboratories 116 (Newell Hall), 219, 233
- Campus Center Hagglund Room, Mid-Century Room, Chairman's Room, Morgan Room, Taylor Room
Parking will be at a premium during the weekend. Commencement parking [PDF] is available at nearby lots, including the new Park Avenue Parking Garage; beginning at 8:00 AM, shuttle vans will transport guests to and from the ceremonies on Saturday. As noted on the Commencement Parking map, parking will also be available in the Boynton Street Lot, and Schussler Road Lot. Please note that all shuttle vans and cars dropping off guest will do so at the designated area along Institute Road, by Morgan Hall and the new Recreation Center. Cars will not be entering the Quad area, as many pedestrians are in that area.
If you or your guests are physically challenged, we will use electric golf-carts to assist you to a special seating area. Dedicated parking in the Einhorn Lot, Daniels Lot along Institute Road, and West Street Lot have been set aside for handicapped parking. We will have student ushers available to provide guests with assistance to the handicap seating area.
Commencement Pick-up: Due to the large numbers of pedestrians on the Quad at the conclusion of the Commencement Ceremony, cars are not permitted to enter this area. Guests may be picked-up at any of the surrounding areas or streets. These include the following possibilities:
- The corner of Institute Road and Morgan Hall, by the Recreation Center.
- The Park Avenue Parking Garage Turn-a-Round area.
Processional and Recessional
The commencement processional will begin around 10:30 a.m., with the actual commencement ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. The graduates line up in front of Boynton Hall in the following order: honorary marshal, the colors, ceremonial marshal, candidates for degrees (Ph.D.'s, Masters, Bachelors), and faculty members. The procession moves across Earle Bridge and follows the sidewalk in front of Alden Memorial, before moving into the driveway circling the Quadrangle. It passes Sanford Riley and proceeds to the end of the Quad by the Recreation Center, and moves down the center aisle toward the stage. Guests are asked not to block the progress of the processional or recessional. It is especially important to keep the center aisle clear so marchers may make their way to their seats. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the marchers, in reverse order, move down the center aisle, exiting in the exact same manner and direction as the processional, past Riley Hall and Alden Memorial. Students follow the procession past Alden Memorial and proceed into Reunion Plaza until the procession ends after passing the fountain area in Reunion Plaza.
Photographs and Videos
The photographs and videos taken will be treasured mementos. The following information should help all of our guests get the photos they want.
Photos before the ceremony: Degree candidates will line up for the procession beginning at 9:30 a.m., with Ph.D. candidates lined up first, followed by Masters candidates, and Bachelors candidates.The procession will begin in front of Boynton Hall and curve around the building toward Gordon Library. The line up of undergraduate students will begin near the library and continue into Freeman Plaza. Guests will be asked to finish taking photos and proceed to the Quadrangle by 10:15.
Photos of the ceremony: Commencement Photographers Inc. will take a photograph of every graduate receiving his or her diploma. The company will mail proofs and an order form to graduates or their families. In addition, WPI will videotape the entire ceremony from several vantage points. For more information about the photo service, you may call Commencement Photographers at +1-978-851-5924. Video excerpts from the ceremony will be linked from the WPI home page (wpi.edu) the afternoon of Commencement day. A complete, high-quality video of the ceremony will be available for downloading within two weeks at wpi.edu/+Commencement. Please note that the open area in front of the stage will be reserved for official WPI photographers, and that guests are not permitted to stand in the aisles during the ceremony.
Photos after the ceremony: Some wonderful locations to capture a photo of your happy graduate after the ceremony include:
The Stage Area: After the procession leaves the Quadrangle, guests will be invited to take photos on or near the stage (WPI banner and plantings in the background).
Earle Bridge: Spanning West Street, the footbridge will be decorated with flowering plants.
Boynton Hall: WPI's first building, with its granite exterior and clock tower, is located just across the footbridge.
Higgins House: This WPI mansion behind Harrington Auditorium will be surrounded by plantings and formal gardens that are in full bloom at this time of year. To reach Higgins House, walk to the end of West Street, turn left onto Salisbury Street, then left onto John Wing Road.
A reception for graduates and their families and guests will take place in the Sports & Recreation Center immediately following the Commencement ceremony.
Restrooms and Drinking Fountains
Restrooms and drinking fountains are located on the entrance level of Harrington Auditorium; limited facilities are on the first floor and lower level of Sanford Riley Hall, and in Daniels Hall.