Three Bridgewater graduates posing for a photo together
Home Parents & Families Current Families Commencement Information

Commencement Information

Commencement 2022

Bridgewater College’s Commencement Exercises will be held Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. under the tent on the Campus Mall. The Commencement schedule can be found below. For more detailed information, please visit the accompanying webpages. If you have any additional questions, please email

Dr. David W. Bushman, Bridgewater College President

Commencement Speaker:
Dr. David W. Bushman


An accomplished academic leader, Dr. David W. Bushman draws upon his extensive experience in higher education administration and in the classroom as President of Bridgewater College. Dr. Bushman became the College’s ninth president in 2013.

An accomplished academic leader, Dr. David W. Bushman draws upon his extensive experience in higher education administration and in the classroom as President of Bridgewater College. Dr. Bushman became the College’s ninth president in 2013.

During his time at Bridgewater, President Bushman led the development of new academic and co-curricular programs at the College, including the creation of the Center for Engaged Learning, academic schools to support the College’s academic departments in the creation of new majors and programs of study, May Term, a new advising structure for first-year students, and Eagles Engage—a student life curriculum that is focused on learning and growth outside the classroom. Dr. Bushman oversaw the College’s launch of graduate programs, with BC’s first master’s degree program in 2017. He led the College through an inclusive, comprehensive process to create Bridgewater’s current strategic plan—The Vision for Our Future: Strategic Plan 2025.

In his time at the helm, Dr. Bushman has successfully piloted the rejuvenation and expansion of the campus physical plant, including the creation of a centralized Department of Student Life and student gathering space in the Kline Campus Center and, most notably, the planning and construction of the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons.

While at BC, President Bushman has served in leadership capacities in a variety of higher education groups including Chair of the Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia and Chair of the President’s Council of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).

Dr. Bushman came to BC in June 2013 from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. where he was the founding dean of the university’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics. In this role, he oversaw numerous academic programs and new academic program development as well as strategic and communications planning and fundraising for the school.

Prior to leading Mount St. Mary’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics, Dr. Bushman served as President of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C. While at Lees-McRae, Dr. Bushman oversaw the college’s successful bid for re-affirmation of accreditation from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and developed and implemented a new strategic plan for the institution. During his time at the helm, Lees-McRae engaged in a number of significant campus renovation projects, implemented curricular and co-curricular enhancements, and increased its first-year student retention rate significantly.

Before joining Lees-McRae in 2004, Dr. Bushman served in a variety of roles at Mount St. Mary’s, including Dean of Academic Services, Director of Assessment, Chair of the Department of Science and Associate Professor of Biology. Dr. Bushman earned his bachelor of science in biology summa cum laude from Loyola College in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland with both his master of science and doctorate in entomology. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Dr. Bushman worked for several years in private industry as a research biologist and research fellow. He has been published in the field of entomology as well as undergraduate science education.

Dr. Bushman and his wife, Suzanne DeLaney Bushman, have two children, Emily and Will. Suzanne was raised in Virginia and has spent her career in healthcare, as a pediatric intensive care nurse for 17 years and, most recently, in an outpatient surgery unit. In their spare time, the Bushmans enjoy spending time on the water at their getaway on Virginia’s Northern Neck. Dr. Bushman also appreciates cycling and astronomy.


Baccalaureate Service

The Baccalaureate Service will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 6 in Nininger Hall.


Commencement Exercises will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 on the Campus Mall.

Details about Commencement

Each graduate will receive four reserved-seating Commencement tickets for family and friends. Graduates will receive their tickets at the conclusion of Commencement rehearsal on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Graduates may invite more than four guests to Commencement, although they will only receive four tickets for reserved-seating.

The four guests with reserved seating tickets will be seated in the reserved seating section under the tent on the Campus Mall; guests without tickets will be seated in the open seating area. There will also be two sections for handicapped seating. One section will be for reserved-seating ticket holders. The other section will be an open handicapped seating area.

In the event of inclement weather, only those guests with reserved-seating tickets will be seated under the tent on the Campus Mall. Other guests may watch the ceremony on screens located in the remote viewing locations. Tickets are not required for the Baccalaureate Service.

Guests can watch Commencement from our Remote Viewing Location located in the Carter Center, rain or shine. Staff will be available to direct guests to the Carter Center. In the event of inclement weather, Cole Hall will be an additional Remote Viewing Location beginning at 10:00 am on Saturday, May 7. Please see the Bridgewater College Campus Map for those locations.

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.

Graduates will be wearing cords that signify their level of achievement: gold for summa cum laude, silver for magna cum laude and red for cum laude.

  • 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.