General Information for Commencement Weekend

Accessible Accessibility

All of our Commencement event locations are accessible. Wheelchairs can be rented at Taylor Rental located on Route 9 in Hadley (413/584-4184), or at Mass Surgical Supply (413/532-1401) in Holyoke. For further information regarding pick up and return, please call the vendors.

The Commencement location has a small tent for seating on a first-come, first-served basis. While vehicles are not generally allowed in the Quad, passengers with special needs may be driven to the Quad; speak with the Campus Police Officer at the Quad gate. Vans will circulate campus and may be flagged for transport to the Quad. Special arrangements for transportation can be made with Campus Police by calling 413/542-2291 or 413/542-RIDE.

Commencement Headquarters

 alumni house

During the Commencement Weekend, Commencement Headquarters is located in the Alumni House and short-stay parking is available in front of the building (see parking map). Guides can provide a Schedule of Events, on-campus dormitory room keys, Commencement rain tickets (students must bring ID to pick up tickets), concert tickets, information on events in the area and lists of restaurants and local lodging. Headquarters will be open starting on Friday at 1 p.m. 

Dining on Campus

 valentine dining hall

Valentine Hall will be open during Commencement Weekend and will be serving meals at the following times: Friday breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.;  lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and  dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hours on Saturday and Sunday are 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for breakfast. Additional information, including breakfast menus, can be found at Dining Services closer to the Commencement Weekend. Valentine Hall will not be open for the evening meal on Saturday or Sunday.

Schwemm’s Gourmet Coffee House in Keefe Campus Center is open Friday and Saturday from 8a.m to 2  p.m. and Sunday from 7a.m. to  2 p.m. 

Medical Services

The Student Health Service will not be open Commencement Weekend. ACEMS will be on call for health needs at 413/542-2291.
Students and families with urgent medical needs over the weekend can go to the AEIOU urgent care clinic located at 170 University Drive in Amherst (across from Big Y). Their telephone number is 413/461-3530.
AEIOU Hours: Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For emergencies, contact Amherst College Police at 413/542-2111. The nearest hospital for emergency care is Cooley Dickinson Hospital, located at 30 Locust Street in Northampton, Mass. Their telephone number is 413/582-2000.

Photographs and Video Recording

We understand that Commencement is an important experience for students and families. With this in mind, we are happy to offer the following help for those interested in photography during the ceremony.

Commencement Photos, Inc. (telephone 978/851-5924) will be taking pictures of each senior as they receive their diploma from the president. Photo packages will be available to all either through the Commencement Photos website, or as a result of mailings to the families of the graduates. As a gift to the class, CPI will also be taking a photo of each senior after they receive their cane. The 4x6 photo, free of charge, will be included in the sample photo mailing from CPI in the weeks following Commencement.

The Office of Communications will have several photographers at Commencement assigned to general coverage. These photos will be made available, in full resolution and free of charge, on the Amherst College Flickr site in the week following Commencement. You are welcome to download, share, print and send these photos. The link to these photos will be posted on the Commencement website as soon as it's available.

Collegiate Video (telephone 802/365-4414) has been authorized by Amherst College to produce a keepsake DVD featuring all the important highlights from the Commencement ceremonies. The DVDs will include footage of your graduate being announced, crossing the stage, and receiving their diploma. Families receive a brochure and order form in the mail or ordering can be done online. DVDs are approximately 90 minutes in length.  Information is also available on the website.

Photographs after the ceremony: Some wonderful locations to capture a photo of your happy graduate after the ceremony include:

  • The Stage Area: After the recessional has left the stage area, guests are invited to take photos on or near the stage.
  • War Memorial: Using the Holyoke range as the background, the War Memorial offers a stunning option for photos.
  • Stearns Steeple: Located just in front of the entrance to the Mead Museum, the steeple with its granite exterior provides an austere and elegant backdrop.

Social Media

We invite you to follow @AmherstCollege on Twitter and amherstcollege on Instagram, and to tag your Commencement Weekend tweets and photos with #AmherstCommencement.


(Commencement photographs from amherstcollege Instagram)

On-Campus Parties

Please see Guidelines for On-Campus Parties.