Campus Update: New Commencement Guest Policy

President Hanlon and Provost Helble provide the Dartmouth community with an update on the guest policy for Commencement 2021.

To the Dartmouth community,

We are very pleased to announce that we are updating our plans regarding 2021 commencement and investiture ceremonies, and each graduate will be able to invite two guests to one ceremony. This is now possible because of the success of vaccination efforts nationwide, our recent ability to offer vaccines to the Dartmouth community, reductions in COVID-19 case counts regionally and nationally, and more flexible state and local guidance. To maintain the safety and well-being of our community, these ceremonies will be ticketed events only and will follow a series of protocols, which are listed below. The deans of the professional and graduate schools will be in touch with their communities shortly to provide pertinent details. At this time, ongoing capacity constraints necessitated by the pandemic prevent us from opening other traditional commencement activities to guests.

Commencement is the culmination of the academic year, a moment when the Dartmouth community celebrates the accomplishments of our most recent graduates. We are delighted that we can offer the opportunity for guests to be able to share this most special occasion in person with our graduates.


Philip J. Hanlon '77, President

Joseph Helble, Provost


  • Undergraduates (receiving their A.B. or B.E. diplomas) will be permitted to invite a maximum of two guests to the June 13 commencement ceremony. Children five years old and younger are welcome to sit on their parents' laps and do not require tickets.
  • Graduate and professional school students will be allowed to invite a maximum of two guests to their individual school investiture/class day celebrations. Graduate and professional school students are invited to march at the June 13 commencement ceremony, but may not bring guests to that event.
  • The June 13 ceremony will be held on the field at Memorial Stadium, a large outside venue.
  • Tickets will be non-transferrable; they will be available for reservation on May 24. More information about the ticketing process will be shared soon.


  • It is strongly recommended that all attendees (guests as well as graduates) be fully vaccinated before attending commencement events.
  • Those guests who are not fully vaccinated are required to quarantine as outlined in our current travel policy (see details below).
  • Students who plan to attend must take a COVID-19 PCR-based (molecular) test 72 hours prior to their commencement/investiture event. Details are available on the commencement website.
  • Masks will be mandatory at all times, regardless of vaccination status, when people are in the stadium as well as when they are walking around campus and in downtown Hanover, and Lebanon. There will be no eating or drinking in the stadium.
  • Students will be seated in chairs on the field. 
  • Guests will be seated in the viewing stands at Memorial Stadium. The stands will be operating at less than one-third of the normal capacity for this type of event (regular capacity in the stands is just under 8,700). Guests will be seated in pairs, with a minimum of two seats left empty between pairs in each row and with seats in front and behind guests also left empty. Signage with designated flow of traffic will be posted. 
  • Guests will need to arrange for off-campus accommodation in the Upper Valley region. On-campus housing will not be available.


  • If traveling from within New England (i.e., New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island), upon arrival, individuals may access Dartmouth buildings and campus.
  • If traveling from outside of New England, upon arrival, individuals must wait 10 days to access Dartmouth buildings and campus, including Memorial Stadium.
  • If traveling from an international location, individuals must quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the U.S.
  • Individuals may shorten their local 10-day quarantine by taking a PCR-based (molecular) COVID-19 test six or more days after returning to the Upper Valley. If their test result is negative and they continue to be symptom free, they may access campus (including Memorial Stadium) after seven days have passed since they arrived in the Upper Valley.
  • Individuals may complete their waiting period or quarantine at their domestic departure location and arrive in the Hanover area by private vehicle, minimizing stops.
  • The commencement ceremony on June 13 will be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend.