General Information

Below are frequently asked questions about Commencement. If you have other questions, please call the Office of College Relations at 507-222-4308 or e-mail kraadt@carleton.edu.

Where can we order graduation-related items?

Many items are available year-round from the Carleton Bookstore.  Other items, such as personalized announcements, personalized address labels, and custom notecards and seals, will be available for order at the start of spring term each year.

Where does a senior get a cap and gown for Commencement?

During the Senior Showcase scheduled for May 8 in Severance Great Hall, seniors will have the opportunity to order and be fitted for Commencement caps and gowns. The rental price that day will be $25. After the Senior Showcase through Friday, May 16, cap and gown orders can be placed directly through the Bookstore for a $30 rental fee. Due to the lead time needed for cap and gown shipment, no cap and gown orders can be accepted after May 16.

Seniors will pick up their caps and gowns in Sayles-Hill Great Space from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10 and 11. The gown must be returned to the Bookstore immediately following Commencement; the cap and tassel become the property of the graduate.

How can items be shipped home?

Carleton Mail Services (Leighton 128) provides UPS, FedEx and USPS services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Two Northfield businesses also provide a full range of UPS shipping services to meet your needs, and both will be open on Commencement day. Please contact these businesses directly for rate quotes and information.

Graphic Mailbox is located at 204 West 7th Street in the River Park Mall across from Wells Fargo (phone 507-645-1610). Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Open Commencement Day (Saturday, June 15) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Graphic Mailbox has boxes and also provides packing services for students.

Wally’s Cleaners is located at 801 Division Street, one block south of Econofoods (phone 507-645-5193). Open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open Commencement Day (Saturday, June 15) from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

When should families plan to arrive in Northfield?

Activities for graduating seniors and their families take place throughout the day Friday, June 13, and the Commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday morning, June 14. Please review the Schedule of Events and determine the arrival day and time that works best for you and your family and guests.

Is transportation provided between the airport and campus?

Although Carleton College does not operate any transportation between the campus and the airport, visitors to campus are encouraged to check out the transportation providers described here.

Can family members stay overnight on campus?

Carleton College has a limited number of rooms available in the residence halls during Commencement Weekend for guests of graduating seniors. See Housing Information for more details.

What motels and hotels are in the Northfield area?

We encourage you to make reservations for overnight accommodations as soon as possible. A list of Northfield Area Accommodations is provided for your convenience.

Where is Commencement held?

Carleton's Commencement ceremony is held outdoors on the lawn west of Hulings Hall. Commencement will be held rain or shine. Although there are several shade trees, some seating is in the direct sun. We advise you to bring water and to consider wearing a hat and sunglasses for your comfort. In case of severe weather, the ceremony will be held in the Recreation Center.

Will tickets be needed for the ceremony?

Seating is available to accommodate all guests, whether outdoors or indoors. No tickets are required.

Where should families park vehicles?

Parking on campus is very limited, but there is plenty of street parking available south of the campus.

What time should families arrive for the Commencement ceremony?

You can arrive as early as you like. We ask that you be in your seats by 9:20 a.m. and that the aisles be kept open for the processional. We also ask that you keep the aisles open throughout the ceremony and take care to not block the view of other guests.

Out of respect for others, we ask that there be no artificial noise makers, air horns or megaphones used during the ceremony.

Can photographs be taken during the ceremony?

You may take photographs during the ceremony from your seat. In order to avoid obstructing the view of others, please do not approach the stage area or stand in the aisles.

For your convenience, Carleton College has arranged with GradImages® for a professional photographer to take a photo of each graduate receiving the diploma from President Poskanzer, a second posed photo after leaving the stage, and a third close up photo. Three to five days after Commencement you will receive an email to view your proofs online, and you will have the option of ordering from a variety of packages. There is no obligation to purchase. Carleton does not benefit from this arrangement; it is provided as a service to graduates and their families. GradImages® guarantees complete satisfaction with your photograph package or you will receive a full refund.

Registering your graduate with GradImages® provides them with the information they need to deliver your graduation proofs to you in a timely manner.  You may also provide them with email addresses of up to six friends and family members to allow them to celebrate in the accomplishment. GradImages® respects your privacy and will not share your information with any other parties.  For more information, phone GradImages® at 800-261-2576 or contact at http://www.gradimages.com/.

A member of my family has mobility impairment and requires special access for the ceremony. How may we arrange for this?

No advance arrangements are required. The parking lot east of Skinner Memorial Chapel on First Street will be reserved for dropping off people with mobility impairments and will have parking spaces for vehicles with handicap permits. A short distance down the sidewalk will be a seating section for those with special access needs (and members of their parties); wheelchairs and scooters can be parked in this area. Ushers will be available to assist.

A diagram of the ceremony site indicating the seating areas can be found here

How do we request a sign language interpreter?

If you require the services of a Sign Language Interpreter, please make advance arrangements with the Office of College Relations at 507-222-4309.

Where can snacks or other last-minute items be purchased on Saturday?

The snack bar in Sayles-Hill will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Carleton bookstore in Sayles-Hill will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The bookstore carries batteries, sun block, sunglasses, umbrellas, and other last-minute supplies that may be needed.

Who will be the speakers at this year’s Commencement ceremony?

Following President Poskanzer’s opening remarks, two graduates will address the Class of 2014, family and friends, and faculty at this year’s Commencement Ceremony.  (The two students will be selected in May.)  In addition, Carleton College will confer an honorary doctorate degree upon David R. Loy '69, and he will briefly address the graduating class. 

What other activities will be taking place during Commencement Weekend?

A variety of celebratory festivities are planned for the weekend.  The Schedule of Events will be updated as further activities are planned, so check back often.

Can the Commencement ceremony be viewed online?

Yes, Carleton College will offer live online coverage of the Commencement ceremony for those unable to celebrate with their graduate in person. To "tune in" that morning, friends and family can go to this link. Streaming video of the event will begin at 9:15 a.m. CDT and will last to the conclusion of the ceremony at about 11:30 a.m. Afterwards, the Commencement video will be archived online at the same web address, for anyone wishing to view it later. In person or online, we look forward to sharing this special celebration with you!