BC graduates listen in during Commencement
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Commencement Information

Conferring of degrees

Bridgewater’s Commencement Exercises will be held Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. under the tent on the Campus Mall.


Each graduate will receive four reserved-seating Commencement tickets for family and friends. Graduates will be given their tickets at the conclusion of Commencement rehearsal on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Following rehearsal, tickets will be kept at the KCC Information Desk for pick-up. Graduates will be able to obtain their tickets at the Information Desk Thursday evening through Saturday morning, but will need to show their college ID to do so.

Graduates may invite more than four guests to Commencement, although they will only receive four tickets for reserved-seating. Bridgewater College cannot give out additional reserved-seating tickets.

The four guests with 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.

Remote Viewing Locations

Remote viewing locations will be in the Cole Hall Auditorium, the Boitnott Room in Rebecca Hall, the Main Dining Hall in Kline Campus Center and Bowman Hall. Please see the Bridgewater College Baccalaureate and Commencement Campus Map for those locations.

About Academic Dress

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.

Symbols of Honor

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 Fellowship of Scholars, the College’s academic honors program, will be wearing gold medallions and neck ribbons in the College colors. The Flory Fellows 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 will be 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, will be wearing red and white cords.
  • Members of Alpha Mu Gamma, the foreign language academic honor society, will wear double gold cords, which recognize academic excellence in language and culture studies.
  • Gold and forest green cords will represent membership in Sigma Beta Delta, the international honor society for business, management and administration.
  • Graduates that will be 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 will wear maroon cords, representing their outstanding academic achievement, dedication to creative intellectual pursuits in the liberal arts and service to their community.