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Commencement Information

May 1 @ 8:00 am May 2 @ 5:00 pm

Conferring of degrees

Based on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s updated guidance and capacity limits for commencements, the College is able to host in-person commencement ceremonies—on the campus Mall—for the classes of 2020 and 2021.

The new guidelines still require distancing, masks, and a number of other mitigation efforts that BC is prepared to employ. And, although the restrictions on the number of attendees have been relaxed, we are still limited in the total number of individuals that can be on the Mall during the ceremony. So that we may accommodate all graduates, we will host a series of commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, May 2.

For the Class of 2021, we will hold separate ceremonies on Saturday, May 1 according to the academic division of a student’s primary major or graduate program – Natural Science; Communication Studies, Fine Arts and Literature + Humanities and Social Sciences; and Professional Studies. Each ceremony will be restricted to about 80 graduates.

For the Class of 2020, we will hold two ceremonies of about 80 graduates each on Sunday, May 2. Ceremonies have been determined according to degree.

Commencement events will be held as follows:

Thursday, April 29—Commencement Rehearsal, Classes of 2020 and 2021

  • Class of 2021 Rehearsal, Fully virtual, 3 p.m.
  • Class of 2020 Rehearsal, Fully virtual, 7 p.m

Friday, April 30—Baccalaureate Service

Saturday, May 1—Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

9 a.m., The Division of Natural Science
(Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Department of Chemistry, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Physics, Department of Psychology) and Master of Science in Psychology
⚬ LIVESTREAM – broadcast begins at 8:30 a.m.

There is a slight time delay to this livestream.

Noon, The Division of Communication Studies, Fine Arts, and Literature together with the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (Department of Art, Department of Communication Studies and Theater, Department of English, Department of Music, Department of History and Political Science, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Department of Sociology, Department of World Languages and Culture) and Master of Arts in Digital Media Strategy
⚬ LIVESTREAM – broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.

There is a slight time delay to this livestream.

3 p.m., The Division of Professional Studies BA Degrees (Department of Economics and Business Administration, Teacher Education Program)
⚬ LIVESTREAM – broadcast begins at 2:30 p.m.

There is a slight time delay to this livestream.

6 p.m., The Division of Professional Studies BS Degrees* (Department of Health and Human Sciences), Master of Science in Athletic Training and Master of Science in Human Resource Management
⚬ LIVESTREAM – broadcast begins at 5:30 p.m.

There is a slight time delay to this livestream.

Sunday, May 2—Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremonies*

9 a.m., Class of 2020, Bachelor of Arts degrees and Master of Arts in Digital Media Strategy
⚬ LIVESTREAM – broadcast begins at 8:30 a.m.

There is a slight time delay to this livestream.

Noon, Class of 2020, Bachelor of Science Degrees
⚬ LIVESTREAM – broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.

There is a slight time delay to this livestream.

Important 2021 Commencement Notes

  • Due to strict capacity guidelines, each graduate is able to bring three (3) guests to their in-person commencement. There will be no open viewing area. Anyone without a ticket will not be permitted on the campus Mall and will be asked to leave.
  • We will livestream all events so additional friends and loved ones will have the opportunity to watch.
  • In-person events will be rain or shine. Ceremonies cannot be paused and then resumed. Ceremonies cannot be moved indoors. If a ceremony must be delayed in the event of a thunder/lightning storm or other weather event, the affected ceremony will not be rescheduled.
  • COVID safety precautions will be strictly enforced.

Frequently asked questions for graduates can be found on the Commencement Information for Graduates page.About Academic DressSymbols of Honor

Academic dress has its origins in the garments worn at medieval British universities, particularly Oxford. Although caps and gowns had been used in many American schools since Colonial time, it was not until about 1885 that their use became widespread at commencement ceremonies. Participants in academic ceremonies are expected to wear the academic regalia to which they are entitled by virtue of the degree they hold.

The Intercollegiate Code provides for bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s gown distinguished by the shape of the sleeves. The sleeves of doctor’s gowns also have three velvet chevrons. The color of the velvet trim may be black or the same color as the velvet that edges the hood. Caps worn with bachelor’s and master’s gowns usually have a black tassel. A doctor may wear a gold tassel.

In the United States, the hood is the most distinctive feature of academic attire. It is worn at the back, suspended near the shoulders. The length of the hood and width of its velvet border indicate the level of degree held. The bachelors wear a hood that is three feet long with a two-inch velvet border. The hood for the master’s degree is three and one-half feet long with a three-inch border. The doctor’s hood is four feet long and the border is five inches wide. The inner lining of the hood is the official color of colors of the institution conferring the degree, while the color of the border indicates the field of learning in which the degree was earned.

Today’s honors graduates are wearing cords that signify their level of achievement: gold for summa cum laude, silver for magna cum laude and red for cum laude.

  • Summa cum laude represents a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.9;
  • Magna cum laude, a minimum of 3.7; and
  • Cum laude, a minimum of 3.4.

Graduates of the John S. Flory Honors Program are wearing gold medallions and neck ribbons in the College colors. The Flory Honors Program celebrates curiosity, integration, independence and leadership inside and outside the classroom.

The Alpha Chi medallion symbolizes the honor and distinction of being a member of the national academic honor society. The supporting neck ribbon is in the colors of Alpha Chi.

The Omicron Delta Kappa cord symbolizes the honor and distinction of being a member of the national leadership honor society.

The Student Government cord of royal blue represents the honor and distinction of being a past or current member of one of the College’s many branches of student government.

Psi Chi graduates represent outstanding academic achievement and membership in the international honor society in psychology and are wearing blue and silver honor cords, medallions or stoles.

Green and red honor cords signify membership in Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society.

Members of the communication studies honor society, Lambda Pi Eta, are wearing red and white cords.

Members of Alpha Mu Gamma, the foreign language academic honor society, are wearing double gold cords, which recognize academic excellence in language and culture studies.

Gold and forest green cords represent membership in Sigma Beta Delta, the international honor society for business, management and administration.

Graduates wearing blue and red cords with mixed tassels are members of the national history honor society, Phi Alpha Theta.

Members of the Philomathes Society of Bridgewater College wear maroon cords, representing their outstanding academic achievement, dedication to creative intellectual pursuits in the liberal arts and service to their community.

Graduates wearing red, black and white cords are members of the national political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha.

The Diversity Champion medallion recognizes and honors those students who have worked tirelessly for the advancement of diversity and inclusion during their time at Bridgewater College.

Gold cords represent membership in Pi Lamba Theta, the national honor society for education.

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