Family & Friends
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 15 and May 16 a pleasant and memorable day for all.
There are no limits on the number of guests that may observe the ceremony. We will have 7000 chairs on the Quad to accomodate our guests on this special day.
Indoor Auxiliary Viewing Rooms
The Commencement Ceremony will be held outdoors on the Quad, under a tent. If raining, we will have ponchos available for our students and guests, as well as plastic bags to cover student diplomas. In addition, as noted below, many indoor auxiliary viewing locations will be streaming the ceremony live. We invite you to enjoy this day of celebration with us, regardless of the weather!
Auxiliary viewing rooms are available as noted below. Both Baccalaureate and Commencement Ceremonies will be streaming live via the web, in the following locations:
Friday, May 15th, 2015 -- Baccalaureate Program -- Streaming Live
- Higgins Laboratories, 116, 218
Saturday, May 16th, 2015 -- Commencement Program -- Streaming Live
- Campus Center Odeum (large space)
- Alden Memorial (large space)
- 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 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 (entrances located at 151 Salisbury or 125 Park Avenue); beginning at 8:00 AM, shuttle vans will transport guests to and from the Drop Off Area on Institute Road on Saturday (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 have available electric golf-carts to assist you to a special seating area. There are two drop-off points for is purpose: one area is the yellow highlighted area on the parking map along Institute Road; the other area is the circular area by the Park Avenue Parking Garage (# 1 on the map). Golf Carts will be at both locations. Dedicated parking in the Einhorn Lot, Daniels Lot along Institute Road, the Park Avenue Garage 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.
Overflow parking is available at Trinity Luthern Church (corner of Wachusett and Institute) and also the First Baptist Church (corner of Salisbury and Park Ave). Please note that the First Baptist Church Lot must be vacated by 5:00 PM Saturday evening.
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 onto the walkway past the Bartlett Center and Gompei, and onto the center aisle of the Quad. 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, moving between the Bartlett Center and the Beech Tree, and circling around towards Alumni Gymnasium and Harrington Auditorium, and into the Recreation Center, where the post-Commencement Reception is held.
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 area in front and to the side of the stage will be reserved for official WPI photographers only. Guests are not permitted to stand in the aisles or around the stage area during any part of the ceremony. This will be strictly enforced.
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 and the Rubin Campus Center; limited facilities are on the first floor and lower level of Sanford Riley Hall, and in Daniels Hall.