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Commencement

Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Commencements — An Announcement from President Clark

President Clark speaking at 2019 undergraduate commencement ceremony

At the beginning of the global pandemic a year ago, I promised the Class of 2020 that BSU would find a way to host an in-person commencement ceremony so that each student who chooses to would be able to walk across the commencement stage — a promise that I now extend to the Class of 2021. That walk across the stage symbolizes years of hard work, resilience and sacrifice as well as the possibility of a brighter future with a hard-earned college degree in hand. Many students carry the hopes and dreams of their families as they walk across the stage. Having spoken with so many students over these very difficult months, we know how important that walk is for our deserving graduates.

Today, we are fulfilling our promise to the Class of 2020 and to the Class of 2021 by announcing ceremonies that will accommodate every student who wishes to participate at commencement ceremonies in-person (and for those who want to participate remotely) as well as their families.

Since state public health guidelines currently limit indoor and outdoor gatherings — with one important exception — and with an eye toward the timing of the vaccination schedule for Massachusetts, we have chosen a place and a date to maximize the safety of our graduates and their families. We rejected the idea of having ceremonies here at BSU for an important reason: physical campus constraints and strict compliance with commencement guidelines recently issued by the state would frankly not allow any family members to attend based on our planning models. That was not okay with us or with you.

With nearly 5,000 2020 and 2021 graduates eligible to walk across the BSU commencement stage, and with thousands of family members eager to cheer them on, only one spectacular venue in Massachusetts would safely accommodate our large BSU family — Gillette Stadium.

BSU Announces Surprise Commencement Location
Thursday, July 29, 6 p.m.
Graduate Class of 2020 and 2021 (Masters/CAGS/EdS Degree Ceremony)

Friday, July 30, 6 p.m.
Undergraduate Class of 2020

Saturday, July 31, 9 a.m.
Undergraduate Class of 2021
Louis M. Ricciardi College of Business, College of Education and Health Sciences, Bartlett College of Science and Mathematics

Saturday, July 31, 4 p.m.
Undergraduate Class of 2021
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

The state has authorized the stadium to safely host thousands of people — appropriately distanced from one another in the stands — while hundreds of our students will be safely seated on the field at Gillette. With four ceremonies planned over three days, we will be able to keep our graduates and their families safe while still being able to celebrate the triumphs of our students as they walk across the stage one at a time.

We are grateful for the partnership of our friends at Gillette in helping us to organize what is sure to be four spectacular ceremonies for our two graduating classes who have endured such profound hardships over the past year. We are also pleased that the stadium was available to us for several days in a row to enable us to hold commencement ceremonies for our undergraduate and graduate classes of 2020 and 2021 between July 29-July 31.

While we plan the ceremonies in the days and weeks ahead, the BSU campus will also be fully decorated in May, June and July in honor of our graduating students who might also wish to take photos on campus prior to commencement. If you let me know in advance, I would be happy to join you for graduation photos in front of Boyden Hall. Please email officeofthepresident@bridgew.edu to arrange a day and time. Honestly, it is my favorite thing to do!

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, and I will see you at Gillette!

Frequently Asked Questions

President Clark promised the Classes of 2020 and 2021 that BSU would find a way to host an in-person commencement ceremony so that each student who so chooses would be able to walk across the commencement stage in the presence of their family and friends.  Based on current state guidelines we have chosen a place and a time to maximize the safety of our graduates and their families while hosting an in-person commencement ceremony.

Ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will be held at Gillette Stadium!

Ceremony dates and information are as follows:

Thursday, July 29th 

  • Graduate Class of 2020 and 2021 (Masters/CAGS/EdS Degree Ceremony) 6 p.m.

Friday, July 30th 

  • Bachelor's Degree/Undergraduate Class of 2020  6 p.m.
    • Louis M. Ricciardi College of Business
    • College of Education and Health Sciences
    • College of Humanities and Social Science
    • Bartlett College of Science and Mathematics

Saturday, July 31st 

  • Bachelor's Degree/Undergraduate Class of 2021  Morning Ceremony  9 a.m. 
    • Louis M. Ricciardi College of Business
    • College of Education and Health Sciences
    • Bartlett College of Science and Mathematics
  • Bachelor's Degree/Undergraduate Class of 2021  Afternoon Ceremony  4 p.m. 
    • College of Humanities and Social Science

Based on the results BSU received from the survey that was emailed to Class of 2020, we are planning to hold one commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 graduates.

We rejected the idea of having ceremonies here at BSU for an important reason: physical campus constraints and strict compliance with commencement guidelines recently issued by the state would frankly not allow any family members to attend based on our planning models.
The BSU campus will be fully decorated beginning May 4th and will remain up through June and July in honor of our graduating students who might also wish to take photos on campus prior to commencement. The banners will not have specific years (Class of 2020 or Class of 2021) to allow for graduates of each class to take photos. Please email the officeofthepresident@bridgew.edu to arrange a day and time to have your photo taken with President Clark on the steps of Boyden.
  • Apply to graduate through the Registrar's Office*  
  • Check for holds on your account in InfoBear
  • Pay your bill in full
  • Purchase cap and gown

  
*If you have already applied to graduate via the Office of the Registrar, you do not need to reapply.  

Continue to monitor your BSU email, Graduation Central and these FAQs for ongoing updates.

Ticket distribution will begin on June 14th and conclude on July 15th for all ceremonies and will follow recently adopted state guidelines as follows:

  • Guests are limited to no more than 6 guests per graduate 
  • Tickets are complimentary and all guests age 2 and above must have tickets for admission to Gillette Stadium.
  • All ticketed guests must be registered in advance of the Commencement.  More information will follow. 

Please note: Ticket information will be released over the next few months.  Tickets are distributed only to the graduate.  Graduates may not share tickets with other graduates and should only be claimed by those who intend to participate.

No, unfortunately we are unable to provide more than 6 tickets per graduate due to current public health restrictions.

Health and safety will be the number one priority.  BSU and Gillette Stadium will follow the State of Massachusetts COVID-19 Safety Standards for Commencement and Graduation Ceremonies Held by Colleges and Universities.  Additional information will be forthcoming; however, a few restrictions will include:

  • Required face coverings for all workers, guests, and graduates, except when unsafe due to medical condition or disability.
  • Guests must wear their face coverings at all times.
  • Graduates must wear their face coverings at all times, except for designated photograph locations.
  • Commencement speakers may remove their face coverings during their remarks with a minimum of 6 feet of separation between the speaker and audience.

Entries and exits will be monitored to limit occupancy at all times to ensure that:

  • All ceremonies have staggered timed entry and exit for all participants and attendees in order to avoid crowding before or after a ceremony 
  • Faculty and distinguished guests on the dais/platform will be seated or standing at least 6 feet apart from each other
  • Graduates will be seated and/or standing at least 6 feet apart from each other
  • Guests who are not part of the same household/group will be seated at least 6   feet apart from other guests
  • Guests who are members of the same household/group are permitted to sit together and less than 6 feet apart 
  • Bachelor's Degree ceremonies last approximately 3 hours each.
  • The Master's/CAGS/EdS Degree ceremony lasts approximately 2.5 hours.
Yes, each ceremony will be livestreamed and recorded for guests unable to attend.
Additional information regarding livestreaming and recording will be forthcoming. 
Yes, all graduates will have their names read aloud and have the opportunity to walk across the commencement stage and be individually celebrated.
Specific details are currently being reviewed and additional information is forthcoming.
  • Graduate Commencement will include students who completed degrees in August 2019, December 2019, May 2020, August 2020 and December 2020, or will complete degrees in May 2021 and August 2021
  • Undergraduate Class of 2020 will include students who completed degrees in August 2019, December 2019, May 2020 and August 2020
  • Undergraduate Class of 2021 will include students who completed degrees in December 2020, or will complete degrees in May 2021 and August 2021
  • BSU will work with students and guests requiring accommodations both in terms of the facility as well as for the actual ceremony.
  • All graduating students and their guests needing accessibility accommodations will have the opportunity to complete an Accessibility Request Form.

Additional information regarding disability concerns will be forthcoming.

Each graduate will be professionally photographed by Grad Images, Inc. as he or she receives a diploma and exits the stage. Family and friends are not permitted in the aisles to take photographs. Graduates can visit the Grad Images website and click on Pre-Event Email Registration to register their email address.
  • Per state guidelines, no communal gathering or reception either before or after the Commencement will be allowed.  
  • The concession stands will not be selling food or beverages.

A list of local restaurants at Patriot Place will be forthcoming so families may make reservations for celebratory meals with their graduate.

Commencement will be held at Gillette Stadium rain or shine, except in the instance of extreme weather conditions.  In the case of anticipated inclement weather, graduates and guests can call 508.531.1777 for weather-related information.  An announcement will also be posted on the Commencement web site if necessary.

We encourage both graduates and guests to watch the weather forecast and dress according to the ever-changing New England weather. The weather is traditionally very warm in late July. Keep in mind the stadium is outdoors and graduates and guests will be exposed to the elements.

  • The online regalia ordering portal through Oak & Hall is currently open at https://bridgew.shopoakhalli.com/purchasewizard/Welcome.
    • Students have the option to choose 2019, 2020 or 2021 tassels*
    • 2 weeks to process order and 2-3 for shipping  
    • Online site closes 3 weeks prior to ceremony (to avoid late deliveries)
  • The BSU bookstore has ordered regalia and is expected to begin in-store sales on April 29th
    • The Bookstore will sell regalia from April 29th until the Commencement ceremonies
    • There is no S&H charge for in-person purchases
    • The BSU bookstore will be set-up at Gillette for last-minute needs such as tassels as well as BSU merchandise for students and guests
  •  Pricing
    • Graduate Cap, gown, tassel & hood $103.50
    • Undergraduate cap, gown & tassel $60.50
    • $11 S&H if ordered through Oak Hall website for home delivery
    • No charge to pick up at Bookstore

*Note that graduates only receive one tassel, which is for their primary major.

If you have a financial hardship regarding regalia, please contact undergradcommencement@bridgew.edu.

Graduate and Guest parking will be complimentary at Gillette Stadium for all Commencement ceremonies.
Additional information regarding directions and parking will be forthcoming.
No, due to current health/safety guidelines Gillette Stadium has made it clear tailgating will not be allowed in the parking lots.

The following hotels have added a limited number of discount rooms during BSU Commencement ceremonies.  Please click on the hotel name below for a unique booking link: 

Renaissance by Marriott Boston Patriot Place
28 Patriot Place
Foxboro, MA 02035

Home2 Suites by Hilton Walpole Foxboro
2375 Boston Providence Hwy
Walpole, MA 02081

Yes, faculty and staff are invited to attend the ceremonies.
Additional outreach will be forthcoming to faculty and staff interested in participating.

The Commencement Committee will be working hard over the coming weeks to continue to update pertinent information regarding each ceremony, we appreciate your patience.

Please visit the commencement website to find all the up-to-date information pertaining to the ceremonies. Graduates should also visit Graduation Central for more information.  Updates will be made as guidance is reviewed and information becomes available.     

Bachelor's Degree Ceremonies: University Events can be reached at 508-531-6139 or undergradcommencement@bridgew.edu.

Master's/CAGS/EdS Degree Ceremony: The College of Graduate Studies can be reached at 508.531.1100 or gradcommencement@bridgew.edu.