Commencement

Commencement Weekend 2020, May 29-30

Save the date for Commencement Weekend 2020 and the Conferring of Degrees on Saturday, May 30 at 10:00 am. If your family has not booked lodging for Commencement weekend, please remind them to do so soon. Local hotels and motels fill up quickly at this busy time of year.

Until then, please enjoy our coverage from Commencement 2019. 

Videos from 2019 Commencement Weekend: 

Photos from 2019 Commencement Weekend: 

Information for Graduates and Families 

Following are several details to help you plan:

  • Accommodations. We 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.

  • Invitations. Four (4) commemorative invitations will be distributed to graduates in early May.

  • Dinner tickets. Ticketing is now closed. Each graduate is limited to a maximum of four (4) guest tickets for dinner.

  • Diploma Frames. Diploma frames will be available for purchase in the Bennington College bookstore. For more information, please call the bookstore at 802-440-4361.

  • Commencement Fee. The $80 graduation 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 29

  • 6:00 pm | Commencement Rehearsal, Barn 100

Friday, May 31

Saturday, June 1

  • 10:00 am sharp | Conferring of Degrees, Commons Lawn. Light refreshments will follow, under the tent. 

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

Past Coverage

Past Commencement Speakers

  • 2019 | Mountain Man (Molly Erin Sarlé ’12, Amelia Meath ’10, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig ’09)
  • 2018 | Liz Lerman
  • 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