Bagpipe players at graduation with President Birge at the gate

Commencement

Commencement 

graduation cap in flowers

We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2022! Learn more about this year's honorary degree recipients and keynote speaker here. Please continue to check back to this page for updated information.

11 A.M. 
Saturday, May 14, 2022 
Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium
Masks are optional*
Watch Live HERE 

Baccalaureate Ceremonies

2 P.M. 
Friday, May 13, 2022
Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium 
Masks are optional*

COVID Safety Protocols 

Masks are optional for all guests and visitors inside campus buildings and at the commencement ceremony.

Masks are also optional in all simulcast viewing locations. Please continue to check this page for updated information on COVID Safety protocols as they can be updated anytime. 

Commencement Ceremony Viewing Options


Guests who do not have tickets for the campus center gymnasium are able to watch the live stream ceremony in the Amsler Campus Center in Sullivan Lounge the Campus Center Marketplace, as well as the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation. All locations are air-conditioned and allow strollers. Tickets are not required. 

The Campus Center Gymnasium requires a ticket, is not air-conditioned and does not allow strollers. 

 

Ticket Information

Who Needs a Ticket?

Tickets are required for the Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium. Tickets are required for anyone age three (3) and older. Children under age 3 will be expected to sit on the lap of a parent or guardian.

Tickets are not required for graduates who are participating in processional for the Commencement ceremony. 

The Amsler Campus Center Gym doors open at 9:30 A.M. on Saturday, May 14. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis

What if I Lose My Tickets?

Lost tickets are not replaceable. All guests (3 and older) must have a ticket in order to enter the Amsler Campus Center Gym for the Commencement Ceremony. Guests without tickets may view the ceremony in air-conditioned simulcast locations.

Commencement Ceremony Lineup and Reader Card Instructions

Lineup

Reader cards for bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates are available for pick up during Commencement lineup in Venable Gym. 

When graduates arrive at Venable gym they should head to the Registrar located at a table in the back of the gym to pick up their reader card with their name and degree. 

During the ceremony, reader cards are handed to the announcer who will read your name and any honors as you walk across the stage. 

Once graduates have their cards, they can line up behind the signs for their majors, located on stanchions throughout the gym. If the graduate has a double major, they may line up with whichever major they choose. Be sure to keep track of your reader card until you hand it to the official who is reading names during the ceremony. The procession will be two people across. Graduates will be seated with the people standing in front of them and behind them, not the person standing beside them.

Academic Regalia is required for the commencement ceremony. You can purchase regalia through the MCLA Bookstore. Please note that there have been delays in shipping and the bookstore will notify you when your purchase is ready for pick up. 

Example of a Reader Card

During individual recognition, graduates hand their reader card to the announcer. The card is preprinted with the graduate’s major, name, and any distinction. If the graduate’s name is difficult to pronounce, the graduate should clearly print the phonetic pronunciation on the card. 

Example of a Commencement Reader Card

reader card

Processional, Recognition, and Instructions

Graduate Processional 

College staff will direct line-up activities and will be available to assist graduates before and during each Commencement ceremony. 

The procession from Venable Gym will begin at 10:45 a.m. 

Individual Recognition

Throughout the ceremony, graduates will appear before family, friends, fellow graduates, and business and professional leaders from our community. Graduates should represent themselves and the College with dignity, decorum, and pride. The College reserves the right to ask anyone to leave the ceremony. 

Recessional

Graduates will not be able to leave the ceremony early and should plan to meet their guests on Murdock Lawn (or the rain location in Venable Gym) once the ceremony concludes. The recessional will be led by the platform party and faculty, followed by graduates. Guests are asked to wait to leave the gym until all graduates have exited. 

 

Photography and Recording Equipment

MCLA has arranged for Grad Images to take professional pictures of all graduates as they cross the stage during the ceremony. Graduates will be contacted through MCLA email at a later date with purchasing information, but are under no obligation to purchase photos. Guests are required to photograph or shoot video from their seats only and must not obstruct the view of others.

 

Information to Share With Your Guests

Early arrivals will have the best choice of seating in the Amsler Campus Center Gym. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Guests interested in sitting together should arrive together. All guests (age 3 and older) must have a ticket.

First Aid is located in the rear of the Amsler Campus Center Gym. Paramedics will be available on-site throughout the ceremony. 

Lost and Found is located in the Amsler Campus Center Marketplace Info Booth.

MCLA is proud to be a tobacco free/smoke-free campus.

All adult-aged campus community members participating in Commencement activities and guests attending Commencement activities must have a valid form of government-issued identification with them at all times. Guests under 18 years old are not required to meet this standard.

Bags and personal items are prohibited in any areas where Commencement activities - including Baccalaureate - are taking place. All personal items brought into these areas are subject to search. 

Prohibited items at activities in the Amsler Campus Center include:

  • Bags, backpacks, large handbags, briefcases, duffle bags, luggage, and all like articles
  • Balloons, posters or other view obstructing material (there will be an area outside of the venue to tie up balloons, which can be given to a graduate during the celebration on Murdock Lawn.)
  • Noise makers (air horns, vuvuzela, Bluetooth speakers, etc.)
  • Coolers
  • Parcels
  • Pets (only service animals allowed)
  • Alcoholic beverages, drugs, or illegal substances
  • Strollers (stroller parking area outside of venue)
  • Laser pointers
  • Firearms
  • Weapons in violation of the College's weapons policy or any object that is a weapon per se (stun guns, firearms, Tasers, handcuffs, brass knuckles, sticks, clubs, batons, martial arts instruments, pepper spray, knives, etc.)
  • Fireworks or any explosive/incendiary device
  • Glass or metal containers
  • Canes, chains, or sticks of any length not intended for medical use

Law enforcement and the College reserve the right to restrict any item not specifically mentioned above.

Community members or guests found in possession of the above-mentioned items may be turned away and/or asked to leave the Commencement ceremony. All items will be confiscated and disposed of where applicable. The College and law enforcement will not return items of an illegal nature to anyone and reserves the right to file criminal charges for possession of illegal items when warranted.

No storage or check area will be provided for prohibited items. Prohibited items that are NOT ILLEGAL should be stored in the trunk of a vehicle or other safe location outside of the Commencement area. 

Safety Guidelines:

  • No standing is allowed in the back area of the Amsler Campus Center near the gymnasium doorways, hallways, or exits at any time. The campus center patio or secondary viewing area may be used for that purpose.
  • Building access will be limited to those areas where Commencement activities are taking place. All other campus buildings will be secured and will require contacting Campus Police for access.
  • No vehicles may be left standing unattended at any time. Unattended standing vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.
  • No personal property may be left unattended at any time. Unattended property will be confiscated, inventoried and brought to Campus Police Headquarters at 277 Ashland Street for safe keeping. 

All MCLA community members and guests are strongly encouraged to report any suspicious activity to Campus Police by calling (413) 662-5100 or extension 5100 from any campus phone.

All MCLA community members and guests attending Commencement activities are expected to comply with the reasonable requests of law enforcement and College officials. Failure to do so may lead to removal from Commencement and/or criminal charges being filed.

 

Information for Accessibility Needs

Parking is available behind Murdock Hall with additional parking behind Bowman Hall.

Seating is available in the first section to the left as you enter the gym; and accessible section is reserved for handicapped persons plus one guest only on a first come, first served basis.

Parking is allowed in all MCLA lots and legal street parking. Parking behind Murdock Hall and Bowman Hall is reserved for Handicap parking.

 

Important Phone Numbers

  • Graduate Registration - Registrar's Office, 413.662.5216
  • Graduate or Parent Questions - Student Development, 413.662.5129
  • MBA Graduate Questions - Nancy Ovitsky, 413.662.5306
  • M.Ed. Graduate Questions - Michelle Delisle, 413.662.5381
  • Parking / Handicapped Access / Wheelchair Requests - Public Safety, 413.662.5284
  • General Commencement Event Questions – Jackie Kelly, 413.662.5185
  • Senior Days and Baccalaureate Questions – Jenn Labbannce, 413.662.5129

 

Schedule for Commencement ActiviTIES

Friday, May 13  
10 a.m. Commencement Information Meeting for all graduates in the Campus Center gym. 
1  p.m. Amsler Campus Center Gym doors open for Baccalaureate Ceremony guests. No tickets needed.
1:30 p.m. Graduates line up on the Campus Center Blacktop. Academic regalia required (gown only).
2 p.m. Baccalaureate Ceremony begins.
3 p.m. Baccalaureate Reception in the Academic Quad 
(rain location: Campus Center Marketplace).
Saturday, May 14  
9:30 a.m.

Amsler Campus Center Gym doors open for Commencement Ceremony guests. Tickets are required.

Simulcast locations doors open with air conditioning. No tickets required for simulcast.

10 a.m.

Students arrive in Venable Gym and pick up their card with their name and degree from the Registrar’s table, then line up behind their chosen major. Academic regalia is required (cap and gown); Masters and CAGS candidates carry their hoods. 

Note: bachelor’s degree candidates wear tassels on the right; grad degree candidates wear tassels on the left.

10:45 a.m. Procession begins.
11 a.m. Commencement Ceremony.
1 p.m.

Ceremony ends. (approximately)

Commencement Celebration on Murdock Lawn

 

 

Commencement Information

Senior Days: Senior Days is a final opportunity for members of the graduating class to spend time together socializing, recalling memories of their experience at the College, and celebrating their individual and collective achievements. Students participate in the senior-only events leading up to and including the Commencement Ceremony. Students wishing to participate in Senior Days must register for the program.

Baccalaureate: This program allows members of the graduating class to formally give thanks and reflect on their years of education at MCLA with family, friends, and members of the college community who are in attendance. The program includes a series of readings of Ivy poems and orations written by previous graduating classes and is a time for the class to debut their written poem for the college community.

Ivy: During the Baccalaureate Ceremony graduates are given sprigs of ivy, which represent learning and growing. The indirect route that ivy takes as it grows is a metaphor for the educational journeys of our students. During MCLA's history, an ivy sprig used to be planted at the base of Murdock Hall and over time came to cover the building. Since the College no longer plants ivy at the base of Murdock, graduating students are given ivy, then give leaves to those they feel have positively impacted their education at MCLA.

Commencement Ceremony: Often referred to as “Graduation,” the Commencement ceremony is an academic exercise in which diplomas are conferred. This ceremony is for students projected to successfully complete all of their graduation requirements by the end of that spring or summer semester. Students completing all their requirements by the end of the previous fall semester may also participate in the upcoming spring ceremony.

You will not receive a diploma at the Commencement ceremony; you will receive your official diploma cover. Conferral of a degree occurs when the registrar finalizes the student’s academic record and confirms that all requirements have been satisfied. Participation in the Commencement ceremony does not constitute conferral of the degree. Similarly, inclusion of a student’s name in such publications as the Commencement program does not confirm eligibility for the degree. 

Regalia: Graduates participating in MCLA Commencement ceremonies are required to wear official MCLA regalia (cap, gown and tassel) available exclusively through the MCLA Bookstore. Professional dress and appropriate footwear is strongly recommended for all Commencement ceremony participants. MCLA reserves the right to request that graduates change inappropriate attire before they will be allowed to participate in the Commencement ceremony.

Cap Decorating: The top of a graduate’s cap may be decorated. Decorations should represent the graduate and the institution with dignity, decorum and pride. The College requests that caps are not decorated in a way that would impede the view of those students sitting behind one’s cap. 

Honor Cords: Honor Cords are tokens of achievement consisting of twisted cords with tassels on either end. Cords are awarded to members of honor societies or for various academic and non-academic achievements, awards, or honors. Usually cords come in pairs with a knot in the middle to hold them together. They are worn over the gown at the Commencement Ceremony and Celebration. Similarly, Spirit Cords are given to honor those students who support the College with a gift. Cords are not needed for the Baccalaureate Ceremony. 

Honor cords are purchased through individual honor societies, not the MCLA Bookstore. 

Commencement Celebration: The Commencement Celebration is a post-Commencement ceremony party with music and refreshments held on the Murdock Lawn. You may bring as many guests as you like to celebrate your accomplishment. No tickets are needed. 

There will be a live stream of the Commencement ceremony and keynote address on the College YouTube channel. Please check this page for a direct link to the live stream on the day of Commencement. 

Degree Requirements: Currently enrolled students can apply for graduation online through Banner Self-Service. From the portal page, select "Banner" in the header bar. From the student menu, select "Student Records" and then select "Apply for Graduation.”

Students can also download the graduation application form from the Registrar's Office

Graduation Requirements: Students should review the requirements for graduation to ensure they will have completed all of the necessary steps in order to graduate. This information can be found at http://www.mcla.edu/Academics/registrar/graduation/index or through the Registrar's Office at (413) 662-5216, or registrar@mcla.edu.

Graduation with Distinction: Students of superior academic achievement graduate with distinction according to their quality point average earned at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts only. 

Summa cum Laude   3.800 - 4.000
Magna cum Laude     3.600 - 3.799
Cum Laude                 3.300 - 3.599

Transcript Request Policy: MCLA policy prohibits faxing transcripts. Please allow 3-5 days processing or up to 3 weeks during peak processing time. Transcripts are mailed first class postage only. Transcripts include all academic history. Transcripts are signed and stamped with the college’s official seal. Transcripts are mailed in individual envelopes stamped as official. Processing fee is $5 per copy for paper requests delivered or mailed to the office. Transcripts will NOT be processed if there are outstanding obligations to the College or holds on student records.

This information can be found at http://www.mcla.edu/Academics/registrar/records-forms/transcripts.

Diplomas: Diploma covers are distributed at the ceremony. Diplomas will be mailed after the ceremony.

Tickets are required for the Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium. Tickets are required for anyone age three (3) and older. Children under age 3 will be expected to sit on the lap of a parent or guardian.

Tickets are not required for graduates who are participating in processional for the Commencement ceremony. 

Each graduate will be eligible to pick up five Amsler Campus Center Gym tickets during the designated ticket pick up time listed below. 

There will be no extra ticket available.  

If you do not have a ticket and wish to watch the ceremony on campus you can watch live from the alternative viewing locations in the Amsler Campus Center in Sullivan Lounge, Campus Center Marketplace, and the Feigenbaum, Center for Science and Innovation.  

All locations are air-conditioned and allow strollers. Tickets are not required. The Campus Center Gym requires a ticket, is not air-conditioned and does not allow strollers. 

How Do I Get My Tickets?

Tickets will be handed out in Amsler Campus Center Marketplace during the following dates and times. All students must have their MCLA ID in order to pick up tickets. If you would like tickets and cannot pick them up at these times, you must call 413-662-5224 or email advancement@mcla.edu before 5 p.m. on Friday, April 15, 2022. No tickets will be available via phone or email after 5 p.m. on Friday, April 15, 2022.

Monday, April 11 from 10-5 P.M. 

Tuesday, April 12 from 10-5 P.M.

Wednesday, April 13 from 10-5 P.M.

Thursday, April 14 from 10-5 P.M. 

Friday, April 15 from 10-4 P.M.

Can I Get Extra Tickets?

There will be no extra tickets available for the 2022 Commencement Ceremony. Additional guests are welcome to watch live from the alternative viewing locations in the Amsler Campus Center in Sullivan Lounge, Campus Center Marketplace, and the Feigenbaum, Center for Science and Innovation.  

All locations are air-conditioned and allow strollers. Tickets are not required. The Campus Center Gym requires a ticket, is not air-conditioned and does not allow strollers. 

What if I Lose My Tickets?

Lost tickets are not replaceable. All guests (3 and older) must have a ticket in order to enter the Amsler Campus Center Gym for the Commencement Ceremony. Guests without tickets may view the ceremony in air-conditioned simulcast locations.

Lineup: Reader cards for bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates are available for pick up during Commencement lineup in Venable Gym. 

When graduates arrive at Venable gym they should head to the Registrar located at a table in the back of the gym to pick up their reader card with their name and degree. 

During the ceremony, reader cards are handed to the announcer who will read your name and any honors as you walk across the stage. 

Once graduates have their cards, they can line up behind the signs for their majors, located on stanchions throughout the gym. If the graduate has a double major, they may line up with whichever major they choose. Be sure to keep track of your reader card until you hand it to the official who is reading names during the ceremony. The procession will be two people across. Graduates will be seated with the people standing in front of them and behind them, not the person standing beside them.

Example of a Reader Card: During individual recognition, graduates hand their reader card to the announcer. The card is preprinted with the graduate’s major, name, and any distinction. If the graduate’s name is difficult to pronounce, the graduate should clearly print the phonetic pronunciation on the card. readercard

Graduate Processional: College staff will direct line-up activities and will be available to assist graduates before and during each Commencement ceremony. 

The procession from Venable Gym will begin at 10:45 a.m. 

Individual Recognition: Throughout the ceremony, graduates will appear before family, friends, fellow graduates, and business and professional leaders from our community. Graduates should represent themselves and the College with dignity, decorum, and pride. The College reserves the right to ask anyone to leave the ceremony. 

Recessional: Graduates will not be able to leave the ceremony early and should plan to meet their guests on Murdock Lawn (or the rain location in Venable Gym) once the ceremony concludes. The recessional will be led by the platform party and faculty, followed by graduates. Guests are asked to wait to leave the gym until all graduates have exited. 

Photography and Recording Equipment: MCLA has arranged for Grad Images to take professional pictures of all graduates as they cross the stage during the ceremony. Graduates will be contacted through MCLA email at a later date with purchasing information, but are under no obligation to purchase photos. Guests are required to photograph or shoot video from their seats only and must not obstruct the view of others.

Early arrivals will have the best choice of seating in the Amsler Campus Center Gym. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Guests interested in sitting together should arrive together. All guests (age 3 and older) must have a ticket.

First Aid is located in the rear of the Amsler Campus Center Gym. Paramedics will be available on-site throughout the ceremony. 

Lost and Found is located in the Amsler Campus Center Marketplace Info Booth.

MCLA is proud to be a tobacco free/smoke-free campus.

All adult-aged campus community members participating in Commencement activities and guests attending Commencement activities must have a valid form of government-issued identification with them at all times. Guests under 18 years old are not required to meet this standard.

Bags and personal items are prohibited in any areas where Commencement activities - including Baccalaureate - are taking place. All personal items brought into these areas are subject to search. 

Prohibited items at activities in the Amsler Campus Center include:

  • Bags, backpacks, large handbags, briefcases, duffle bags, luggage, and all like articles
  • Balloons, posters or other view obstructing material (there will be an area outside of the venue to tie up balloons, which can be given to a graduate during the celebration on Murdock Lawn.)
  • Noise makers (air horns, vuvuzela, Bluetooth speakers, etc.)
  • Coolers
  • Parcels
  • Pets (only service animals allowed)
  • Alcoholic beverages, drugs, or illegal substances
  • Strollers (stroller parking area outside of venue)
  • Laser pointers
  • Firearms
  • Weapons in violation of the College's weapons policy or any object that is a weapon per se (stun guns, firearms, tasers, handcuffs, brass knuckles, sticks, clubs, batons, martial arts instruments, pepper spray, knives, etc.)
  • Fireworks or any explosive/incendiary device
  • Glass or metal containers
  • Canes, chains, or sticks of any length not intended for medical use

Law enforcement and the College reserve the right to restrict any item not specifically mentioned in the list above.

Community members or guests found in possession of the above-mentioned items may be turned away and/or asked to leave the Commencement ceremony. All items will be confiscated and disposed of where applicable. The College and law enforcement will not return items of an illegal nature to anyone and reserves the right to file criminal charges for possession of illegal items when warranted.

No storage or check area will be provided for prohibited items. Prohibited items that are NOT ILLEGAL should be stored in the trunk of a vehicle or other safe location outside of the Commencement area. 

Safety Guidelines:

  • No standing is allowed in the back area of the Amsler Campus Center near the gymnasium doorways, hallways, or exits at any time. The campus center patio or secondary viewing area may be used for that purpose.
  • Building access will be limited to those areas where Commencement activities are taking place. All other campus buildings will be secured and will require contacting Campus Police for access.
  • No vehicles may be left standing unattended at any time. Unattended standing vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.
  • No personal property may be left unattended at any time. Unattended property will be confiscated, inventoried and brought to Campus Police Headquarters at 277 Ashland Street for safe keeping. 

All MCLA community members and guests are strongly encouraged to report any suspicious activity to Campus Police by calling (413) 662-5100 or extension 5100 from any campus phone.

All MCLA community members and guests attending Commencement activities are expected to comply with the reasonable requests of law enforcement and College officials. Failure to do so may lead to removal from Commencement and/or criminal charges being filed.

Masks must be worn at all times in buildings. Please continue to check this page for updated information on COVID Safety protocols as they can be updated anytime. 

Parking is available behind Murdock Hall with additional parking behind Bowman Hall.

Seating is available in the first section to the left as you enter the gym; this section is reserved for handicapped persons plus one guest only on a first come, first served basis.

Parking is allowed in all MCLA lots and legal street parking. Parking behind Murdock Hall and Bowman Hall is reserved for Handicap parking.

Graduate Registration - Registrar's Office, 413.662.5216
Graduate or Parent Questions - Student Development, 413.662.5129
MBA Graduate Questions - Nancy Ovitsky, 413.662.5306
M.Ed. Graduate Questions - Michelle Delisle, 413.662.5381
Parking / Handicapped Access / Wheelchair Requests - Public Safety, 413.662.5284
General Commencement Event Questions – Jackie Kelly, 413.662.5224
General Senior Days and Baccalaureate Questions – Jenn Labbance, 413.662.5129

gatesHonorary Degree Recipients

The Commencement speaker will be Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos E. Santiago, who is responsible for providing overall direction to public higher education in Massachusetts and helping shape state-level policies that maximize the benefits of higher education to the Commonwealth and its citizens. Santiago will also receive an honorary doctorate from MCLA. 

In addition, MCLA will confer honorary doctorates to two other outstanding members of our academic community: former North Adams Mayor and current Berkshire United Way President and CEO Thomas W. Bernard, and outgoing MCLA Trustee Susan Gold, a longtime MCLA trustee and community member who has worked tirelessly to advance the mission of the College and the quality of life in Berkshire County.  

 

 

 

 

Note from the Registrar:


Conferral of a degree occurs when the registrar finalizes the students’ academic record and confirms that all requirements have been satisfied. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not constitute conferral of the degree. Similarly, inclusion of a student’s name in such publications as the commencement program does not confirm eligibility for the degrees.