The Commencement pages are presently undergoing revision for the Class of 2016 Commencement - please revisit often for updates.
Commencement exercises will be held outdoors - rain or shine - on Sunday, May 15, at 11:00 a.m. on the North side of Pennsylvania Hall. Unfortunately, the College does not have an indoor space large enough to accommodate everyone in the event of rain, and the many large trees around Penn Hall prevent us from placing tents at the Commencement site. Ponchos will be provided to graduates, faculty, and all guests if necessary; please bring any other rain gear you wish to have if there is inclement weather on Commencement Day.
On your first day on campus in August 2012, at Convocation you processed as a class for the first time, up the north steps of Penn Hall and down the south steps to symbolize your entry to the College. At Commencement, you will process in the opposite direction, up the south steps of Penn Hall and down the north steps to your seats, symbolizing the completion of your time as a student at Gettysburg College.
- Visit the Information for Families & Guests page for further helpful info.
- Don’t forget to check out the Commencement Prep Day page to make sure you have everything you need for the big day!
- 2016 Commencement Student Speaker: TBD
Yearbook Orders: There are three ways to order your yearbook -
Online: Visit www.balfour.com, select your school, and follow the ordering instructions.
Mail: Just fill out the form and mail payment to:
PO Box 650549
Dallas, TX 75265
Phone: To order by phone, please call 1-800-853-1337.
- Textbook Rentals
To avoid additional fees, Textbook Rentals are due back to the Gettysburg College Bookstore on or before Saturday, May 7 @ 6:00 pm. Rental books have a white "Rental Return by 5/7/2016" sticker in the upper right corner of the book.
- Social Media: #gburg2016
Want to send congrats to your classmates? Have a great photo of your cap & gown, ready to go? Share your Commencement moments, photos & memories on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: #gburg2016
- Stay connected & involved after Commencement:
- Find ways to connect, explore, volunteer and give.
- Check out Career Services for Alumni.
- Keep up with other young alumni via Burgians of the Last Decade (BOLD).
Caps and Gowns
Since Baccalaureate and Commencement events are formal, academic attire is required. The regalia package includes a black gown, cap & tassel as well as an academic hood with the appropriate degree colors. In addition, graduates will also receive a Stole of Gratitude (see details below). If the purchase of regalia poses a financial hardship, please contact the Commencement Coordinator. The President's Office maintains a fund to provide assistance in certain cases.
The deadline for pre-ordering regalia through the Bookstore is Sunday, March 20th. The cost is $55. Students who do not order their regalia online will need to order it on April 22nd during Commencement Prep Day. Price at Prep Day is $65 and sizes cannot be guaranteed.
For students who pre-order regalia through the Bookstore: After ordering regalia, you will obtain it in person in the CUB Ballroom on Commencement Preparation Day, Friday, April 22, 2016. If you will not be available on April 22, please contact the College Bookstore to make alternative arrangements.
Gowns should be pressed before being worn. Please wear the cap properly with the tassel on the right side until the degree has been conferred. An academic hood will come with your regalia and should be worn properly - Please refer to the instruction sheet which comes with the hood.
Stoles of Gratitude
The Stole of Gratitude is in part a gift from the Gettysburg College Alumni Association and the Class. Graduates will wear the stoles throughout the Commencement Exercises as a symbol of their appreciation for all of the individuals whose support was instrumental in bringing them to this day. At the reception following Commencement, graduates may present the stole to someone to demonstrate their gratitude for that individual's role in their success. Students have the option of purchasing additional stoles from the Bookstore if they want (supplies are limited.)
After Senior Week, please check your campus email if you think you have earned an honor cord (summa, magna or cum laude). Notification will be sent via email on the Friday before Commencement, and honor cords will be distributed on Commencement morning in Bream Gym during line-up. If your academic department gives departmental honor cords, they will be distributed at the Departmental Receptions on Saturday afternoon or as directed by each academic department administrator.
All ceremonies will start promptly. Please be at the appointed place in good time. If for any reason the planned procedure is interrupted, look to the president, college marshal, the dean or the student marshals for direction.
With courtesy and respect to all graduates and families, please refrain from disrupting the weekend’s formal ceremonies with the use of noisemakers (such as air horns, cowbells and bullhorns), shouting or chanting, and high-volume mobile phone ringtones and conversations.
Since Baccalaureate and Commencement events are formal, academic attire (i.e. "cap & gown") is required. Casual attire is not appropriate dress for Baccalaureate or Commencement. Sensible shoes are recommended as high heels may sink into the grass during outdoor events.
Smoking and Alcohol
Smoking is not permitted once you have entered the academic procession. Please remember that no alcohol is allowed at the graduation site.
You will receive more detailed instructions for Commencement during the line-up in Bream Gym:
- Please arrive at Bream Gym NO LATER than 9:45 a.m. on Commencement morning (Sunday, May 15, 2016) in your regalia (cap, gown & stole). Check in at the registration tables at the entrance for seating instructions (and to pick up an honor cord if applicable). Please go immediately to your seat after check-in. You will be given instructions on how everything works when you arrive.
- No food or drinks will be permitted in Bream Gym.
- Please plan to use the restrooms before entering Bream Gym. Once you are inside, you must remain inside.
- Remember to take ALL belongings with you when you leave Bream Gym in the Commencement procession.
- More ceremony information.
SEATING: No tickets are needed for the Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 15 at 11:00 a.m. Entry to the seating area begins at 9:00 am and seating is first-come, first-served. We ask that you PLEASE DO NOT RESERVE SEATS. Please be prepared for a security bag check. The ceremony takes place at the Beachem Portico, North side of Pennsylvania Hall, rain or shine. Indoor viewing locations with live-streaming video will be available in several campus locations (see Alternate Viewing below.)
The ceremony begins with the Platform Party processing from Musselman Library down the center aisle and up the steps to their seats on Beachem Portico. They are followed by the faculty procession. When announced, the Class of 2016 will process up the steps on the south side of Penn Hall, through the building to Beachem Portico on the north side and down the steps to their seats. On their first day on campus in August 2012, at the end of Convocation the Class of 2016 processed as a class for the first time, up the north steps of Penn Hall and down the south steps to symbolize their entry to the College. At Commencement, they will process in the opposite direction, symbolizing the completion of their time as a student at Gettysburg College.
General Information A - Z
Please see the Accessibility section.
Baccalaureate (Saturday, May 14):
LIVESTREAM LINK - please check back later
Seating in the Chapel is VERY LIMITED and the building is not air-conditioned. Unfortunately, not everyone who wants a seat will be able to get one, and therefore, we have arranged for two remote viewing areas that are both comfortable and close to parking areas. While we are aware that this is not an ideal solution, we encourage you to consider these two options for a more pleasant experience.
On campus: Air-conditioned alternate viewing locations with live video streaming will be available in the following locations:
- Mara Auditorium, Masters Hall 110
- Kline Theater, Brua Hall 200
On the web: This event will be offered to virtual guests via the web as a live video stream beginning at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. A link to the live video stream will be posted on the Commencement home page
Commencement (Sunday, May 15):
Outside, rain or shine, on the north side of Penn Hall
LIVESTREAM LINK - please check back later
On campus: Live video streaming coverage of the commencement exercises will be available rain or shine in the following buildings:
- Mara Auditorium, Masters Hall 110
- Kline Theater, Brua Hall 200
- Pennsylvania Hall: Lyceum (opens at 10:45 am for seating)
In the case of heavy rain, additional live video streaming coverage of the commencement exercises will be available in the following building:
- College Union Building: Ballroom
On the web: This event will be offered to virtual guests via the web as a live video stream beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 15 - A link to the live video stream will be posted on the Commencement home page.
Custom graduation announcements are available through the College Bookstore. Information and order forms are sent directly home to the senior's parents in February. Please contact the College Bookstore at 800-337-6367 for any additional information or questions after receiving the mailing.
To have a graduation announcement sent to your hometown newspaper about your student's graduation, please complete the request form at:
When you click "Submit", the form will go to the College's Communications office which will verify the information and place the announcement.
Due to the number of guests expected, only service animals are permitted at the Commencement site.
With courtesy and respect to all graduates and families, please refrain from disrupting the weekend's formal ceremonies with the use of noisemakers (such as air horns, cowbells and bullhorns), shouting or chanting, and high-volume mobile phone ringtones and conversations.
- Several weekend events will serve light refreshments. Please see the Commencement home page for details.
- Please see the Campus Services section below for Commencement Weekend Bullet Hole and Commons Café hours.
- Send celebration cookies to a senior during finals (or anytime) with a Souvenir Cookie Tin from Dining Service’s Spoil ‘Em Long Distance program.
- Visit the Restaurants page for a listing of local restaurants.
- Other special Commencement Weekend dining options are available:
- The Majestic Theater is hosting a Commencement Dinner on Saturday, May 14th, catered by the Altland House. A buffet dinner, consisting of a Salad/Bread station, 3 entrees (Prime Rib, Bourbon Glazed Salmon, and Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast) with roasted red skin potatoes and vegetables and a Coffee/Tea/Dessert station will be served from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. The price per person including tax and service charge is $36 and a cash bar will also be offered. Call (717) 259-9535 or email Nicole Suski for information and reservations.
- Expanded dining options are available during Commencement weekend at the historic Gettysburg Hotel in downtown Gettysburg. Call (717) 338-5455 or visit their website for information and reservations.
- Flats Café, located inside the Majestic Theater, will be offering expanded seating during their normal hours of operation (Daily from 11am-8pm). Reservations are not required.
- Parents & Family
We invite the families of the Class of 2016 to Honor Your Graduate and to show appreciation for a special member of the Gettysburg College community by making a gift to the Gettysburg Fund. Find out more.
Have you contributed to the Senior Class Gift? Your donation to the Gettysburg Fund can help the Class of 2016 leave a mark on Gettysburg College that no class before you has left! Find out more (Information to follow).
Display & wear your Gettysburg College pride! From diploma frames to sweatshirts, find graduation gift ideas at the Gettysburg College Bookstore.
Send tasty treats to a senior during finals (or anytime!) from Dining Service’s Spoil ‘Em Long Distance program.
Recognize a graduating senior and help support Musselman Library through the Honor with Books program.
Hotels & Lodging
- Visit the Hotel Accommodations page for a listing of local hotels.
- Some area hotels may have a "Commencement Weekend" rate. Please call them for details to inquire and arrange.
Photography and Videography
GradImages is the official photographer for our Commencement. Proofs will be sent to your home and via email within three to five days after graduation. Pictures can be ordered online, by phone or by mail. GradImages can be contacted at 800-261-2576 or via email at www.gradimages.com.
Registering your graduate with GradImages provides them with the information they need to deliver your graduation proofs to you in a timely manner. Giving them an accurate mailing address and email address will allow them to get your proofs to you on the first try. You may also provide them with email addresses of up to six friends and family members to allow them to celebrate in the accomplishment.
Ordering DVDs of Commencement Ceremony: LINK COMING SOON!
During Commencement exercises, guests may find restrooms in the surrounding campus buildings, including:
- Weidensall Hall
- The Science Center
- Masters Hall
- Breidenbaugh Hall
- College Union Building
- Musselman Library (Please note that Musselman Library has limited facilities and will be used as a staging area for Faculty during Commencement.)
Additional ADA compliant outdoor portable restrooms will be available adjacent to the commencement site for guests with limited mobility—Located along the sidewalk at the east end of Musselman Library, near Weidensall Hall.
Campus Map (PDF)
For Accessibility information, please see the section below.
Stay connected & involved
- Join the Parents of Alumni Association.
- Find more opportunities for involvement.
- Read the latest news and subscribe to news feeds via the Gettysburg College News Center.
- Update your contact information.
No tickets are needed for the Commencement exercises on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Seating is first-come, first-served and we ask that you PLEASE DO NOT RESERVE SEATS. The ceremony takes place at the Beachem Portico, North side of Pennsylvania Hall, rain or shine. Entry to the seating area begins at 9 a.m. Please be prepared for a security bag check. Indoor viewing locations with live-streaming video will be available in several campus locations.
Unfortunately, the College does not have an indoor space large enough to accommodate everyone in the event of rain or excessive heat, and the many large trees around Penn Hall prevent us from placing tents at the Commencement site. Ponchos will be provided to graduates, faculty, and all guests if necessary; please bring any gear that you wish to have if there is inclement weather on Commencement Day.
Tips on planning an enjoyable weekend
- Great tips on planning an enjoyable Commencement weekend
- Other events and things to do in and around town
To Campus: Reservations for transportation to campus from local airports & train stations must be made and paid for by May 4, 2016. Click here for more information or call 717-337-6923.
Around Town: Freedom Transit offers free public transportation around Gettysburg. See the Freedom Transit website for details and schedules.
- DVDs of Commencement may be ordered; details to follow.
- For info on live streaming video via the web, please see "Alternate Viewing".
Commencement takes place at the Beachem Portico, North side of Pennsylvania Hall rain or shine. Unfortunately, the College does not have an indoor space large enough to accommodate everyone in the event of rain, and the many large trees around Penn Hall prevent us from placing tents at the Commencement site.
- Ponchos will be provided to graduates, faculty, and all guests if necessary; please bring any other rain gear you wish to have if there is inclement weather on Commencement Day. We advise guests to be prepared with rain gear and warm clothing. If it is raining, Commencement will continue outdoors as planned. It is possible that Commencement might be delayed or cancelled due to dangerous weather. If so, notification will be provided as follows:
- A message will be posted on the College phone number 717.337.6896.
- A message will be posted on the College's home page as first news item and to Facebook and Twitter.
- An all-campus email will be sent.
- An all-campus voice mail message will be sent to College phones.
- Dangerous weather is defined as lightning and strong winds. Rain alone does not constitute dangerous weather, only inconvenient weather. Should the weather turn dangerous once the ceremony has begun, an emergency weather plan will be put into place. All degrees will be conferred, and graduates will receive instructions regarding diploma pick up. Ushers and DPS officers will be on duty to answer questions and direct attendees into campus buildings.
- Please see the Commencement homepage for weather-related site change information for other events (Baccalaureate line-up, Departmental Receptions, etc.)
- See the Commencement Tips page for tips on how to be prepared for any weather.
- Local weather forecast.