Commencement at Concord Academy marks the end of the academic year and the celebration of the senior class with faculty, staff, families, and friends. Commencement events include a reception for the senior class and their families, faculty, and staff; the Baccalaureate Performance, during which graduating seniors share music and stories with their classmates and families; and Commencement exercises on the Chapel Lawn. Additional details are below.
This year’s Commencement speaker will be John Drew P’15 ’19, assistant head and academic dean. For the last 21 years, John has served Concord Academy with the utmost distinction. He has contributed to CA as a teacher in the Science Department, a house faculty member, a coach, a department head, and, perhaps most importantly, as the parent of two wonderful children, Sophie ’15 and Nate ’19, with his wife Gianna. Most recently, he has served as Academic Dean and as my close and reliable partner as Assistant Head of School. Over these past two decades, he has enriched our community with his dedicated work ethic, his wise insight, his steadfast integrity, and his wry good humor. Outside of the classroom, John is an avid long-distance runner, having completed numerous cross-country runs and ultra-marathons. Starting this fall, John will serve as the new Head of the White Mountain School in Bethlehem, N.H. Given his long history at CA, his deep commitment to students, and in particular his connection with the Class of 2019, John is an especially fitting speaker for this wonderful occasion.
Past Commencement speakers include Dame Vivian Hunt, DBE, ’85, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Sarah Koenig ’86, Philippe Petit, Reverend Kim Crawford Harvie, Henry Lewis Gates, geneticist Eric Lander, former Academic Dean Patricia C. Hager, English teacher and former Dean of Faculty Frederic “Sandy” Stott, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes, Anna Quindlen, Christopher Lydon, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Ben Cohen, Queen Noor of Jordan ’69, Dr. Cornel West, and former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
2019 Commencement and Baccalaureate Notes
Thursday, May 30
6:30 p.m. Reception for Faculty, Staff, Seniors, and their Families
7:30 p.m. Baccalaureate Performance
Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel
Friday, May 31
8:00 a.m. Senior Breakfast with Faculty and Staff
Head of School’s Residence, 228 Main Street
10:00 a.m. Commencement Exercises
Speaker: John Drew P’15 ’19
Assistant Head and Academic Dean
Reception immediately following
The senior class will gather for the Baccalaureate reception and performance, during which some will share music, poetry, and stories with classmates, their families, faculty, and staff. Each senior will receive three tickets for Chapel seats at the Baccalaureate performance, which will be valid only until 7:20 p.m., after which general seating will be available. These tickets will be handed out to students at the final Commencement rehearsal. Students may also opt to have tickets held for them to be picked up by family members on the evening of the event. The seniors should dress for Baccalaureate in “Vespers dress”: slacks, sports coat, dress pants, skirt, or dress.
Each senior received five invitations to distribute, and students should see Renee Coburn in the Student Life Office if they need additional invitations, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Invitations were distributed to seniors at the class meeting in late April. Commencement is not a ticketed event.
Dress for Commencement
Seniors should choose clothing from a light and/or pastel color palette, white, khaki, or navy blue. Good taste and common sense should prevail. Whatever is worn should be appropriate for a formal ceremony in front of family and friends. Please keep the covenant of common trust in mind as you select your graduation attire.
Families needing accommodations for relatives in wheelchairs or with walkers, please contact Katie Wells.
Seating for the Commencement ceremony is on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to properly prepare for Commencement exercises, we ask that you not enter the Commencement tent or reserve seats until 8:30 a.m.
To help alleviate some of the congestion that arises from families wanting to capture this special moment on film, we have made arrangements for both the Baccalaureate Performance and Commencement ceremonies to be professionally video-recorded. A professional photographer will take photographs of your child receiving a diploma. You will receive proofs and order information directly from the photographer.
All underclass students are required to attend Commencement and should arrive at Chapel Lawn by 9:15 a.m. Please note that seats are reserved for all underclass students. Underclass students may depart for the summer after the ceremony but are encouraged to attend the reception for all on the quad immediately following Commencement. Student houses will close at 4:00 p.m.
Parents of underclass students are welcome to attend the Commencement ceremony although seating priority is given to the families of graduating seniors.
Operations staff will be directing cars for parking on campus and along Main Street. There will be signs indicating handicapped access. If you have relatives who would appreciate a ride in a golf cart to the Commencement tent, please drive to the Aloian Circle to drop them off there. CA staff will be on hand to take them to the tent. Because of anticipated congestion, we ask that day parents (who are not attending Commencement) arrange to pick up their children at other locations in Concord, rather than the front circle (Aloian Circle). Suggestions include the parking lot on Keyes Road behind Middlesex Savings Bank, the parking lot on the far side of the Concord Free Public Library, or the train parking lots on Thoreau Street. We ask that you follow all posted Town of Concord parking rules and regulations. Thank you for your cooperation on a very busy day.
As you know, Concord Academy is a smoke-free campus, including vaporizers. Finally, though this goes without saying, parents or students should not bring any alcoholic beverages or illegal substances to the graduation. Thank you for your cooperation.