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Commencement Weekend 2020

Information and Logistics: Commencement Weekend, May 15-17, 2020

Dean Rachel Kyte, and the faculty and staff of the Fletcher School cordially invite you and your guests to the annual Commencement Weekend exercises and events of the Fletcher School to be held from May 15-17, 2020.

All graduates are expected to participate in the Saturday Class Day Ceremony and both parts of Sunday’s Commencementceremonies: the All-University Commencement and the Fletcher School ceremony.  We hope that graduates and families will consider attending the Friday evening clambake and the luncheon receptions on both Saturday and Sunday.  A full schedule of the weekend’s activities will be available at a later date.

* The Class of 2020 includes both graduating students who will march and receive degrees and those who are members of the class but who have not yet completed all degree requirements. Members of the class of 2020 who will not receive degrees are still encouraged to march in the Saturday Class Day ceremony as well as the All University Commencement (Phase 1) on Sunday morning. During Phase 2, Fletcher Commencement (11:15 on Sunday), only those who will be receiving their degree or have permission are able to march.  Permission to march without completing all degree requirements is as follows:  For those in the M.A. or LL.M. degree programs, no more than one degree requirement can be outstanding. For those in the MALD or MIB degree programs, no more than two degree requirements can be outstanding.

Members of the class of 2020 who will not be graduating are welcome and indeed encouraged to attend all the events of the weekend.

The following information about the ceremonies should assist you in planning your participation.

Saturday, May 16

Fletcher Class Day Ceremony

The Fletcher School’s class day ceremony begins at 11:30am (assembly at 11:15am). The ceremony will include:

  • Entrance processional
  • Dean’s welcome
  • Songs by the Ambassachords 
  • Remarks by a distinguished Fletcher alumnus
  • Presentation of the Stewart Prize to an outstanding first-year Fletcher student
  • Presentation of the Gullion Prize to an outstanding second-year Fletcher student  
  • Presentation of the Leo Gross Prize to a student who has excelled in the law-related courses                     
  • Presentation of the Peter Ackerman award for an outstanding doctoral dissertation
  • Presentation of class gifts
  • Award of the Dean’s medal to the Keynote Speaker
  • Address by the Keynote Speaker
  • Recessional 

The ceremony will be held under a tent on Fletcher field (between Mugar Hall and Professors Row) adjacent to the tennis courts. Graduates do not need to line up in alphabetical order nor wear gaps and gowns.  Business attire, military uniform, or national dress are appropriate.

Sunday, May 17

All-University Commencement Ceremony

The All-University Commencement in which all schools participate includes the entrance processional, the awarding of honorary degrees by Schools including the official award of the Fletcher degree, the awarding of honorary degrees andthe All-University Commencement Address.

This ceremony will be held on the lawn between Ballou and Bendetson Halls.  It is at this ceremony that Dean Kyte   asks our graduates to stand as a group and formally confers Fletcher degrees.   All Fletcher graduates are expected to participate.  Formation for the Fletcher School student procession will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Blakeley Courtyard.  There is no alphabetical marching order. 

At 7:30am (before the All University Commencement Ceremony), a light breakfast for Fletcher students will beserved, under a tent in Blakeley courtyard, including champagne toasts delivered by several members of the graduating class.Please arrive at the breakfast in cap and gown.

The Fletcher School Commencement Ceremony

The Fletcher School will hold its diploma awarding ceremony at approximately 11:15 a.m., immediately after the All-University Ceremony ends.  It will be held under the same tent on Fletcher field that was used for the Class Day ceremony.  

All Spring 2020 Fletcher degree candidates and Fall 2019 degree recipients should assemble inside Blakeley Hall Courtyard by 11:15a.m. or immediately after the conclusion of the All-University ceremony, whichever occurs first.  For this ceremony graduates will march in alphabetical order.  Students who received degrees last Fall may march in the May ceremony if they have not marched in a prior Commencement ceremony. The ceremony will include:

  • Entrance processional
  • Dean’s welcome
  • Presentation of the James L. Paddock Teaching Award to a faculty member who best exemplifies excellence        in teaching
  • Faculty address by the Paddock prize recipient
  • Remarks by two graduating students selected by the Class of 2020
  • Presentation of degrees to individual students and doctoral hooding
  • Closing remarks
  • Recessional

Additional Information

Saturday and Sunday Luncheon Receptions

Following both the Fletcher Class Day Ceremony on Saturday and the Fletcher Commencement Ceremony on Sunday there will be luncheon receptions for all members of the community and their families.

The receptions will occur under the “lobster bake tent” on Fletcher field, adjacent to the commencement ceremony tent. 


Tickets are not neededfor the Saturday and Sunday ceremonies nor are they needed for the Saturday and Sunday post ceremony luncheon receptions.  Seating for guests at the ceremonies is on a first-come first served basis.  The tent is very large and easily accommodates all guests.  If you have guests who need special accommodations (i.e, use wheelchairs), please notify Mary Dulatre ASAP so that we can make special arrangements for their seating at

Fletcher Lobster Bake: Friday, May 15

Students and their guests are invited to join the Fletcher community and Fletcher alumni at the annual alumni reunion lobster bake on Friday evening, May 15.  The event will take place on Fletcher Field, under a tent, and will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are necessary to attend the lobster bake. Information regarding the purchase of tickets will be available in mid April from the Fletcher School’s Alumni Relations Office.  The deadline for requesting tickets will be announced at a later date.

Academic Robes

All degree recipients are expected to be attired in appropriate academic robes for both Sunday ceremonies.

Ph.D. recipientsshould be attired in academic robes to receive their Ph.D. hoods. The Ph.D. hoods will be provided by the Fletcher School, and recipients will be “hooded” at the Fletcher School’s Sunday Commencement ceremony.  Academic robes can be purchased at most university bookstores.  If a Ph.D. recipient wishes to purchase a Tufts Ph.D. cap and gown, these will be available for $72.98 from the Bookstore on or after April 1st.  For those Ph.D. candidates unable to come to Medford before Commencement, please call the Tufts University Bookstore at 617-627-3468 to either purchase or rent a cap and gown.  

Caps, gowns, and hoods for Master’s recipientswill be available for purchase beginning April 1st at the Bookstore.  Graduates need to wear all three items. Caps and gowns cost $60.98, Hoods cost $42.50.  Rentals are available at the Bookstore for both Ph.D. and Master’s degree recipients and orders can be placed beginning on March 1st.  Rentals can be picked up from the Bookstore any time after May 11th. For more information, please visit           


A professional photographer will take photos on Sunday as each graduate crosses the Fletcher stage and is congratulated by the Dean. To expedite the ceremony, it is important that the area in front of the stage be kept clear. Photographs will be posted online for review and purchase approximately one week following the ceremony. The URL will be announced via Fletcher’s faculty, staff and student listservs as soon as they are posted.


Because hotel and motel space in the Boston area is at a premium this time of year, we urge you to make your reservations as soon as possible if not already arranged.  For more information on planning your visit to Tufts, including listings for local hotels, please visit the Tufts Travel website      

The University’s Conference and Event services will provide on-campus dormitory housing on May 14, 15, 16, 17. This year’s rates are $75.00 per night for a single room and $95.00 per night for a double.  

To make a reservation for on-campus housing, please do so via online registration starting February 1st, 2020 by going to: will be no refunds after 5:00pm on May 1st, 2020.  

All reservations must be received by 5:00pm on May 1st, 2020.  Any changes to reservations resulting in a refund, will be subject to a 10% processing fee.  If an online cancellation is received on or before 5:00pm on May 1st, a full refund will be made, minus a 10% processing fee.  After 5:00pm, on May 1st, all payments are non-refundable.If you have any questions, please contact Conference Bureau and Event Services, 108 Packard Avenue, on the Medford Campus at 617-627-3568 or fax at 617-627-3856.


Given the larger number of visitors to campus on commencement day, parking will be scarce.  Parking in all university lots will be on a first-come, first-serve basis so early arrival is recommended.  Parking will be available in the parking lot across from Cousens Gym, the Stearns Village lot between Cousens and Eliot-Pearson, and in the Dowling Hall parking garage on Boston Avenue.  Shuttle service will be available from College Avenue to the Commencement site from 7:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. 


If you have any questions about commencement weekend, please do not hesitate to contact Shelley Adams at (617) 627-3085 or  We look forward to seeing you and your family and guests throughout the weekend!