Tips for a Wonderful Williams Commencement

Dear Guests of the Classes of 2022 and 22.5,

With Commencement now days away, I want to share a few tips to help make this a great weekend for all.

On Commencement Sunday, June 5

The Williams Quad, our outdoor Commencement venue, will open at 8:00 a.m. The procession begins at 9:30 a.m. and the ceremony itself begins at 10:00 a.m. Please plan to occupy only six seats per graduate in the Williams Quad, and please refrain from saving seats. If additional guests plan to attend, we invite them to sit in Chapin Hall, immediately adjacent to the Williams Quad, where the ceremony will be live-streamed. This venue is air-conditioned, offers comfortable seating, and is fully accessible: masks will be required in Chapin at all times.

Please review accommodations for our guests with disabilities.

Comprehensive information about parking and access for visitors with disabilities can be found here. We ask that you arrive early for major weekend events–and by 8:30 a.m. Sunday for Commencement–so that we can help you from where you’ll park to where you’ll be seated.  We will have golf carts available to take you to the accessible seating area.

Be prepared for all kinds of weather.

Commencement at Williams is an outdoor event unless day-of predictions for electrical storms or torrential downpours would endanger attendees. A forecast of light, even moderate, rain won’t move the ceremony indoors, so please pay close attention to the weather forecast. Bring a raincoat and umbrella or (if we end up with bright blue skies) a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, as there will be little to no shade. Again, the ceremony will be live-streamed in Chapin Hall, adjacent to the Commencement site, so you can always take a “weather break” there.

The ceremony lasts approximately two hours. The location of family seating will allow you to get up, stretch, and walk around without interrupting the proceedings. Water coolers will be stationed at convenient locations around the Commencement site, but we recommend you bring a water bottle as well. Coffee and light snacks will be available for purchase (cash or credit card) from 7:30-10:30 am in Paresky Center.

If extreme weather forces us indoors, here’s what to keep in mind:

  • If Commencement moves inside, the College Bell will sound continuously at 7:45 a.m. to alert those on campus, and we’ll email your students at around 7:00 a.m. to let them know.
  • We will have given each senior 4 guest tickets to the Lansing Chapman Rink. (Indoor Commencement tickets will be in senior SU boxes in Paresky starting June 1.)
  • Masks will be required indoors at all times.
  • The rink will open at 8:00 a.m. for those ticket holders who wish to arrive and get settled early. The procession will step off at 9:40 a.m. and the Commencement ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m.
  • Guests without tickets will be welcome to view the Commencement simulcast from nearby Chandler Gymnasium (where masks will also be required).
  • Our indoor Commencement venue has limited wi-fi capacity: a high volume of traffic will likely result in slow connection speeds. 
  • For those off campus—including those who decide to stay in their hotel rooms in the event of an indoor Commencement—the event will be streamed online so that anyone with an internet connection can view the ceremony from a computer, tablet, or smartphone at

On Class Day Saturday, June 4

In the event of severe weather, Saturday’s Ivy Exercises will be moved inside to the Lansing Chapman Rink (masks required). Tickets are not required for indoor Ivy Exercises.

This Commencement map will help you find all rain-or-shine venues and parking places.

Review the full weekend schedule here. 

Rain or shine, Commencement 2022  promises to be a wonderful event for you and your graduating Williams students. For now, we thank you for being flexible, remind you to pack some rain gear, and wish you a safe journey to Williamstown.


Lee Park (she/hers)


College Marshal and William R.Kenan, Jr. Professor of Chemistry