Commencement

Save the date for Commencement, June 1-2, 2018.

Lauren Roshan '18 will be the Senior Class Speaker. We look forward to hearing Lauren's perspective on what it takes to engage meaningfully in the world, and how a Bennington education might contribute to that goal. We shall announce our Commencement Speaker early next term.

Information for Graduates and Families 

Following are several details to help you plan:

  • Accommodations. I encourage you to make hotel reservations as soon as possible, as accommodations tend to book quickly during this busy time of year. For information about local accommodations, please visit our website.

  • Commencement Dinner | Friday, June 1, 6:00 pm. Addresses by the commencement speaker and senior class speaker will take place over dinner. To accommodate all graduates, their families, and faculty in a single seating, tickets are limited to four guests per graduate. Tickets will be available for purchase on our website in the spring; please encourage your graduate to watch for details.

  • Conferring of Degrees | Saturday, June 2, 10:00 am. The awarding of degrees is open seating; no ticket is required.

  • Invitations. Four complimentary invitations will be distributed to graduates in the spring, when tickets are available for purchase.

  • Diploma Frames. The Bennington College bookstore is accepting orders for diploma frames. For more information, please call the bookstore at 802-440-4361.

  • Commencement Fee. The $80 fee helps offset the cost of your graduate’s dinner, diploma and cover, and any necessary cap and gown rental. This fee will be billed in the spring.

Commencement Schedule

Wednesday, May 30

  • 6:00 pm | Commencement Rehearsal, Barn 100

Friday, June 1

  • 5:00 pm | Welcome Reception, Commons Lawn
  • 6:00 pm | Commencement Dinner, under the tent, Commons Lawn
  • 7:00 pm | Commencement Addresses, under the tent
  • 9:00–Midnight | Senior Party, (tentative)

Saturday, June 2

  • 10:00 am sharp | Conferring of Degrees, Barn Quadrangle (rain location: under the tent) light refreshments will follow, under the tent  

More information to follow so please check the schedule again later. 

Past Coverage

Past Commencement Speakers

  • 2017 | Cornell William Brooks
  • 2016 | Jane Chu
  • 2015 | Gloria Steinem
  • 2014 | Dr. Johnnetta Cole
  • 2013 | Elizabeth Coleman
  • 2012 | Peter Dinklage ’91
  • 2011 | Tim Daly ’79
  • 2010 | Melissa Rosenberg ’86
  • 2009 | Hendrick Hertzberg
  • 2008 | Rebecca Tinsley
  • 2007 | Mac Maharaj
  • 2006 | Glen Van Brummelen
  • 2005 | Jonathan Lethem ’86
  • 2004 | Shirin Ebadi
  • 2003 | Edith Velmans
  • 2002 | Meredith Monk
  • 2001 | Rick Moody
  • 2000 | Gay McDougall ’69
  • 1999 | Peter Hedges
  • 1998 | Linda Wertheimer
  • 1997 | Jane Alexander
  • 1996 | Mark Gearan
  • 1995 | Irene Borger ’71
  • 1994 | Harvey Lichtenstein ’53
  • 1993 | Kay Crawford Murray ’56
  • 1992 | Harvey Fierstein
  • 1991 | Harvey Gantt
  • 1990 | Joan Tower ’61
  • 1989 | Ellen McCulloch-Lovell ’69
  • 1988 | Elizabeth Frank ’67
  • 1987 | Barbara Lazear Ascher ’68
  • 1986 | Tillie Olsen
  • 1985 | Elizabeth Swados ’73
  • 1984 | Howard Nemerov
  • 1983 | Frederick Wiseman
  • 1982 | Joseph S. Murphy
  • 1981 | Bernard Malamud
  • 1980 | Elizabeth Swados ’73
  • 1979 | Vivian Gornick
  • 1978 | Mitchell Markowitz ’75
  • 1977 | Elizabeth Holtzman
  • 1976 | Joseph S. Iseman
  • 1975 | Carol Channing ’42
  • 1974 | Thomas Brockway
  • 1973 | Senior readings and performance
  • 1972 | Jimmy Garrison
  • 1971 | Anaïs Nin
  • 1970 | Kurt Vonnegut
  • 1969 | Denise Levertov
  • 1968 | Thomas P.F. Hoving
  • 1967 | Russell Baker
  • 1966 | Howard Nemerov
  • 1965 | Gene Baro
  • 1964 | William Sloane Coffin, Jr.
  • 1963 | David Riesman
  • 1962 | Kenneth Burke
  • 1961 | Henri Peyre
  • 1960 | Francis Fergusson
  • 1959 | George Boas
  • 1958 | Jacques Barzun
  • 1957 | Alvin Eurich
  • 1956 | Howard M. Jones
  • 1955 | W. Averell Harriman P ’40
  • 1954 | Franklin Ford
  • 1953 | Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
  • 1952 | Harry Allen Overstreet
  • 1951 | Mary Josephine Shelly
  • 1950 | Reinhold Niebuhr
  • 1949 | Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey
  • 1948 | Erich Fromm
  • 1947 | Lewis Webster Jones
  • 1946 | Reinhold Niebuhr
  • 1945 | Justice Frank Murphy
  • 1944 | Alexander Meiklejohn
  • 1943 | Robert D. Leigh
  • 1942 | William Batt
  • 1941 | Robert Lynd
  • 1940 | Henry Wallace
  • 1939 | Dorothy Canfield Fischer
  • 1938 | Frederick Lewis Allen
  • 1937 | W.H. Kilpatrick
  • 1936 | No commencement speaker