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This year’s in-person Commencement Ceremony is for the Class of 2021 graduates with their selected guests, and a limited number of members of the KSC community.

All Commencement events will be live-streamed. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 29. The start time of the procession of the graduates will be flexible depending on how many graduates RSVP their intentions and show up to walk. Historically, the procession has begun between 12:15 pm and 12:30 pm. We anticipate that the start time will be closer to 12:30 pm this year. The ceremony should conclude by 3:30 pm.

On May 29, the Keene State College campus will be open to only Commencement attendees, and will re-open again to the public at 5 p.m.

Updated on May 28

Dear Keene State Owls:

There are a lot of details in this message. Please read it thoroughly. Please remember this is the official web site and (603) 358-8500 is the official recorded telephone information for Commencement; these sources will always have the most up to date information. Please also share this information with your families.

Be Prepared for Day of Commencement – Saturday, May 29

For Graduates Who ARE in KSC’s COVID Testing Protocol

  • If you are in Keene State’s testing protocol now, you will need to get tested either today or tomorrow, and again on Wednesday, May 26 in order to enter the Commencement ceremony with a current wristband. Testing will continue inside Spaulding Gym.
  • Graduates who are currently in KSC’s COVID testing protocol with a red wristband will check in at 10:30 a.m. between the Student Center and Hoot n Scoot.
  • If you have had a positive COVID-19 test result between February 28, 2021 and May 19, 2021, see “Option 3” below for your check in details at the Redfern Arts Center instead.
  • For these graduates who are living more than a 10-minute walk from campus, parking will be available in the Madison Street lot off of Winchester Street.
  • Parking will be limited for Commencement so we are asking that you walk to campus if able to do so. If there are any questions regarding parking, please only speak with the Parking Office: 603-358-2227 /

For Graduates Who are Not in KSC’s COVID Testing Protocol

  • Graduates who are not in Keene State’s testing will first check-in outside of Redfern Arts Center to obtain wristband at 10:30 a.m. Look for a table with blue balloons.
  • You have three options for showing required proof for COVID safety:
    • Option 1: Walk-up testing at Red Tent outside Spaulding Gym on either Tuesday, May 25 or Wednesday, May 26. Testing is open 8:30am – 12:30pm or 1:30pm – 7pm. No appointment needed.
    • Option 2: Bring to Commencement check-in a printed copy of a negative PCR COVID-19 test result from a test dated on or after Monday, May 24. Rapid (antigen) tests will not be accepted. On May 29, you will check in outside the Redfern Arts Center at 10:30 a.m. Look for a table with blue balloons.
    • Option 3: Bring to Commencement check-in a printed copy of a past positive COVID result from a test taken between February 28 – May 19, 2021. On May 29, you will check in outside the Redfern Arts Center at 10:30 a.m. Look for a table with blue balloons.
  • You will enter campus between the Spaulding Gym and Media Arts Center.
  • Parking will be available in the Spaulding Gym Lot off of Wyman Way.

Requirements for Guests at Commencement

  • A maximum limit of two guests per commencing student will be strictly enforced. Please, no sharing of tickets.
  • Masks will be worn at all times. This applies to everyone – even if fully vaccinated.
  • Each guest will present a ticket in order to enter the Commencement area.
  • In order to enter the Commencement area at check-in, each visiting guest, in addition to a ticket, will be required to show:
    • Printed copy of a negative PCR COVID-19 test that must be dated on or after Monday, May 24. Rapid (antigen) tests will not be accepted. OR
    • Paper proof showing fully vaccinated status was achieved on or prior to Friday, May 15. You are fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or the single-dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • A required distance of 3 feet outdoors between attendees in the Commencement area will be maintained – chairs are not to be moved from their location, and chairs cannot be reserved – open seating, please.
  • Guests may not bring chairs, tents, coolers or any other such items to the Commencement area.
  • Guests will receive a wristband at check-in, which must be worn during the ceremony.
  • Ticketed guests can check in as early as 9 a.m. at the Winchester Street lot.
  • All guests should park in the Winchester Lot, located at 322 Winchester Street, Keene.

Getting Your Guest Tickets

  • If possible, make sure your guests have their tickets before they arrive.
  • If you are a remote graduate, and not testing on campus this week, your guests will pick up their tickets when they check in at the Winchester Street Lot on Saturday, May 29.

Additional Details for Saturday

If you are a graduate who needs to be dropped off on campus: The Graduate-only Drop Off location is between the Student Center and the Zorn Dining Commons. Vehicles will be directed to enter Madison Street proceed to the drop off area and then exit via Blake Street. There will be no parking or holding of vehicles in the Drop Off area.

Lining Up for the Ceremony: Arrive at Spaulding Gym Recreation Center promptly at 11:30 a.m. for line-up. We will be reading names as grads cross the stage, working from a prepared alphabetical list by school (Sciences, Sustainability, and Health, Art, Education, and Culture and Masters), so it will be imperative that you line up in alphabetical order by school. Staff will be available to assist you to line up in this order at 11:30 a.m.

Guests with approved wristbands, and graduates, will have access to bathrooms in the Student Center.

On May 29, the campus will be open only to Commencement attendees for health and safety reasons, and will re-open to the public at 5 p.m. that day. A reminder that we will be livestreaming the Commencement Ceremony via the web. Your family and friends who are unable to be in Keene can view the ceremony from!

Reading Your Name During the Ceremony: If the pronunciation of your name is not exactly as it is spelled, we have asked you to complete a “Phonetic Spelling” field on your Intent to Graduate form with the Registrar’s Office. If you didn’t complete this field, you can add the pronunciation of your name by hand in marker on your walking card at line-up on Saturday. You will also have the opportunity to clarify the pronunciation of your name directly to the faculty reader when you approach the stage.

Weather: The Commencement Ceremony will be held outside on Fiske Quad. We strongly encourage you to check the weather forecast for Saturday and dress appropriately. We are known to experience all types of weather on Commencement Day. Please carefully choose attire for underneath your gown and wear sunscreen. The forecast as of today is for temperatures near 47 degrees with rain showers. But, remember, this is New England and the weather can change quickly. We will provide rain ponchos in the gym for graduates to wear under their gowns. In case of severe weather, the Commencement ceremony may be delayed, abbreviated or curtailed.

Decorum: Commencement is an important day for graduates and their loved ones. Air horns, other noise makers and beach balls are not allowed at the ceremony. Items that distract or diminish the ceremony experience will be confiscated and not returned. Campus Safety will determine if an item is noisy and/or disrespectful. Please turn off your cell phone prior to walking to the quad, and share this information with your guests. Graduates are expected to remain through the entire Commencement ceremony, which ends at approximately 3 p.m.

Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco are Prohibited: Alcohol is not allowed at Commencement at any time and will be confiscated. Graduates will not be allowed to participate in or attend the Commencement ceremony if intoxicated. Keene State College campus is a tobacco-free zone for Commencement Saturday, May 29, 2021.

Thank you for reading this carefully. For questions, please contact

Keene State Commencement Planning Team

Future Ceremonies

  • Commencement 2021 will take place on May 29, 2021.
  • Commencement 2022 will take place on May 7, 2022.
  • Commencement 2023 will take place on May 6, 2023.

Contact College Ceremonies and Events

Office of College Ceremonies and Events