Weekend Schedule of Events

Please visit our main Commencement web page for the latest 2021 ceremony information.

Commencement weekend can feel like a whirlwind—check out the 2020 schedule below and you won't miss a beat. The schedule below includes operating hours for Founders and the Tea Shop, key dates and times for rehearsal and Baccalaureate, and the schedule for Commencement day.

Friday, May 15 | Saturday, May 16 | Sunday, May 17

Friday, May 15

Dining Services
Founders Commons:
Breakfast 7:30 am–8:15 am; Lunch 11:30 am1:30 pm; Dinner 5:00 pm7:30 pm
Tea Shop: 7:00 am–5:00 pm

Rehearsal Lunch
(with yearbook distribution and optional cap-and-gown portraits)
12:00 pm–1:30 pm
Student Union
This buffet lunch is open to all graduating students who attend Commencement rehearsal.

Mandatory College Senior Survey
1:30 pm–2:00 pm
Lisser Hall

Prior to the beginning of the graduate rehearsal program, this survey is required of all graduating seniors. We thank you in advance for your participation and valuable feedback.

Commencement Rehearsal
2:00 pm–3:30 pm
Lisser Hall

Attendance at rehearsal is very important and all graduating students are strongly encouraged to attend. Mills College has its own unique traditions and procedures for the commencement ceremony so please adjust your schedule now in order to attend. We want everything to run smoothly for you, your family, and guests on this important occasion.

Student Line-Up for Baccalaureate
4:15 pm
Mills Chapel Steps

Candidates line up to march on the Chapel steps. Wear academic regalia (robes, but not hoods, with caps optional).

4:30 pm–5:30 pm
Mills Chapel
Baccalaureate is open to all graduating students, family, friends, and the Mills Community. This celebratory ceremony, which schools have held for centuries, is intended as a "spiritual sendoff" marking the transition from student to alumnae and offers a time to honor all graduating students. Baccalaureate features such elements as music, dance, and words of wisdom.

Saturday, May 16

IMPORTANT: All degree candidates must wear appropriate academic regalia. In order to participate in Commencement, all candidates must be present by 9:00 am on the Mills Oval to pick up their Walking Card.

Pets are not allowed at the Commencement or Farewell Reception events.

Dining Services
Founders Commons:
Breakfast 7:30 am–8:15 am; Lunch 11:30 am1:30 pm; Dinner 5:00 pm7:30 pm
Tea Shop: 7:00 am–5:00 pm

Student Line-Up for Commencement
9:00 am
The Oval
All candidates must assemble no later than 9:00 am on the Mills Oval, in front of Mills Hall, as announced at the rehearsal. Non-resident students should allow extra travel time for heavy traffic and parking.

Light food and beverages will be provided to graduating students near the line up.

132nd Commencement at Mills College
9:45 am–12:15 pm
Holmgren Meadow
Only candidates will march in the procession. BS and BA candidates form one line; masters, certificate/credential, and doctoral candidates form a second line beside the BS/BA candidates. Undergraduate candidates may choose to stand with any other BS or BA candidates in line. Graduate student candidates may choose to stand with any other candidate within their academic discipline. Certificate and credential students may choose to stand with a like certificate or credential student. During the ceremony, students will be seated next to the candidates that they were standing next to in line.

Candidates with children should arrange for childcare in advance. Children are welcome to sit with the candidates' guests in the audience section. Youngsters who grow restless sitting in the chairs may, under supervision, also sit or play quietly in the open lawn area behind the seating area.

Candidates may carry a hood, Walking Card, water bottle, and a Commencement program but nothing else in the procession and only the hood and Walking Card while crossing the stage to be hooded and accept the diploma cover; leave children, purses, wraps, books, etc. with friends or family.

Bent Twig Photo Session
Approximately 12:00 pm–1:45 pm (immediately following Commencement ceremony)
Rothwell Plaza, Strike Patio
For graduating students who have a mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, or other relative who graduated ("Bent Twigs," in Mills parlance). After the ceremony and on your way to the Farewell Reception at the Moore Natural Sciences Building lawn, come with your relative to this quick photo session. The photos will be part of the Commencement coverage in the fall issue of our alumnae magazine, the Mills Quarterly.

Farewell Reception
Approximately 12:15 pm–1:30 pm
Betty Irene Moore Natural Sciences Building Lawn
Congratulations to all of our new Mills College alums! Immediately following the ceremony, follow the mariachi band to the reception, where you can meet at your division sign to say goodbye to favorite professors and other students.

Sunday, May 17

Dining Services
Founders: 8:00 am—12:00 pm
Tea Shop: closed