Commencement Information

The 134th Commencement of Northfield Mount Hermon will take place on Sunday, May 21, 2017. Families and guests are welcome to attend the Baccalaureate service that will take place Sunday, May 14, as well as the Class Day exercises and Commencement eve dinner on Saturday, May 20. Class of 2017 parents will receive invitations in March with details about all of the NMH Commencement exercises. 

Questions? Email or call Sherri Haughey in the Dean of Student's Office (413-498-3252 or

Commencement events

Calendar of events for seniors

Events for family and guests are summarized below. 

  • Baccalaureate: Sunday, May 14, 11 am, Memorial Chapel. Members of the Class of 2017 join the faculty for reflection, song, and the salutatory address. The community honors retiring teachers. Families and guests are welcome, but not expected, to attend.
  • Commencement Rehearsal: Saturday, May 20, 10:30 am–noon, Memorial Chapel. Seniors only.
  • Class Day Exercises: May 20, 5-6:30 pm, Memorial Chapel Faculty and staff join the Class of 2017 and their guests for the graduate awards ceremony and valedictory address.
  • Commencement Eve Dinner: May 20, 6:30–8 pm, Alumni Hall and tent next to Alumni. A special-occasion dinner for the Class of 2017, their family, guests, and NMH faculty. Please follow this link to make reservations.
  • Catholic Commencement Eve Mass: May 20, 7:30 pm, Memorial Chapel. This tradition accommodates students and families who would not otherwise be able to attend Mass on Sunday because of Commencement. Our celebrant will be Fr. Ryan Rooney ’03.
  • Class of 2017 Breakfast: Sunday, May 21, 8:30 am, Alumni Hall. Seniors only.
  • Class of 2017 Head of School’s Gathering: Sunday, May 21, 10 am, Memorial Chapel. Seniors only.
  • Commencement: Sunday, May 21, 11 am, Thorndike Field. Tickets are not necessary. (Please note that student commitments begin at 8:30 am.) Diplomas are awarded to the Class of 2017.
  • Commencement Lunch: May 21, 1 pm. Complimentary buffet lunch for students, their families, and guests. Located in Alumni Hall for students affiliated with the Cottages, Hayden, Wallace, Rikert, and North Farmhouse. Located in Forslund Gym for students from Crossley, MacKinnon, Shea, and Overtoun.

Commencement speaker
Frank Shorter, who won the 1972 Olympic marathon and sparked a running boom across the United States, will be the 2017 commencement speaker. He is a 1965 NMH graduate.

Please plan ahead and make reservations as soon as possible. Spring is a busy time in the Pioneer Valley; most hotels south of NMH will be booked early. Also consider looking north to nearby Brattleboro, VT, or Keene, NH. For a list of hotels, check out the area lodging page.

Parents will receive invitations to the NMH commencement exercises in late February. In late March, your graduate will be given eight additional invitations that may be sent to whomever s/he and you wish. Announcements (see below) are an alternative way to get the word out.

Printed announcements are optional and typically sent to an extended circle of friends and loved ones to include them in the celebration without formally inviting them to the ceremony. Order information will be available later this year.

Caps and gowns
Commencement regalia belong to the school and are loaned to the students for Baccalaureate and Commencement. We ask graduates to return their caps and gowns immediately after Commencement, so as not to incur a late fee.

Campus safety officers will direct you to campus parking on Commencement morning. If you have special parking needs, please inform the officer. Vehicle and pedestrian traffic on campus will be heavy; please obey the campus speed limit (19 mph) and be sure to allow extra time for parking.

Accessibility for people with disabilities
Golf carts will be circulating throughout campus to assist anyone with special needs. Please take advantage of this complimentary service. Restrooms for people with disabilities are available in nearly all buildings except older dormitories.

Professional photographers from Commencement Photos, Inc.  will take one candid shot of every student accepting his or her diploma and one posed shot at the bottom of the stage. We encourage you to use this service and limit personal photography during the ceremony for the benefit of all Commencement guests. An order form for Commencement Photos, Inc. will be mailed to you this winter. You also may order from the company's website just before and after Commencement.  

In addition, general photos taken during Commencement weekend by NMH photographers will be available at our Flickr site within a few days of the event.

Video of Commencement ceremony
Video of the Commencement ceremony will be uploaded to the school's YouTube site and to this page within a day or two of Commencement.

Extreme weather plan
Commencement is held under a spacious tent on Thorndike Field. Please be prepared for variable weather.

No tickets are necessary for Commencement.

Thorndike Field may prove difficult to walk on with high-heeled shoes. Given the rolling campus terrain, the paths, and the lawns, graduates, families, and guests are urged to wear flat-soled shoes on campus. Please check the forecast and dress for the weather.

Dormitory closing
Campus dormitories will close for graduates at 5 pm on Commencement Sunday. Please remove all personal items from your graduate's room. Anything left behind will be donated to charity or to the NMH ecoleaders' fall tag sale.

Shipping and storage
Campus dormitories will close for graduates at 5 pm on May 21. Please remove all personal items from your graduate's room. Anything left behind will be donated to charity or to the NMH Ecoleaders tag sale in the fall. Summer storage may be available at local facilities such as Bernardston Self Storage (413-648-5393). You also may obtain permission to ship directly to the college your graduate will attend in the fall. The campus UPS store will be open only during weekdays and closed Sunday, May 21, so encourage your graduate to pack and ship belongings before Commencement weekend.

Graduation gift ideas

  • Lift Thine Eyes: The Landscape, the Buildings, the Heritage of Northfield Mount Hermon School (2010). Available in the NMH Bookstore and in Blake Hall on Sunday, May 21. Hardcover books, $50; soft cover, $35 To order online, click here  or call 413-498-3222.
  • You may wish to purchase a congratulatory postcard and rose to honor your graduate. Cards and flowers will be received the morning of Commencement, before the ceremony. You can also purchase cards to thank teachers who have played an important role during your student's time at NMH. Orders are due by May 5. Please follow this link for commencement rose and card details.

Commencement 2018
Commencement exercises for the Class of 2018 are tentatively scheduled for 11 am on Sunday, May 27, 2018.