Friday graduation activities begin with student project presentations in Gates and senior work exhibitions around campus, followed by the Laurel Ceremony and parent reception in the evening.

On Saturday, the soon-to-be graduates, led by bagpipers and the grand marshal, process past cheering family and friends. The board chair and president provide a welcome, three graduating seniors share their perspectives, and a commencement speaker chosen by the senior class addresses the audience.

As degrees are conferred, students announce a fellow graduate’s name and present him or her with a flower. The ceremony is followed by a reception in the Newlin Gardens.


Please remember that there is no reserved seating. Let COA know in advance if you, your family, or friends have any special needs or seating requirements so that we may make appropriate arrangements.


Commencement is held on the last Saturday of term under a tent, rain or shine. June temperatures can vary greatly, so please bring a jacket and appropriate shoes (or boots!). In nice weather, the ceremony is visible from the lawn, and families with young children often prefer to bring blankets to sit on the grass.


A listing of local accommodations can be found here.