Frequently Asked Questions
When should I arrive in Walla Walla?
There are two main events held during Commencement weekend which parents, families, and graduating seniors are encouraged to attend: Baccalaureate on Saturday afternoon and Commencement on Sunday morning.
A complete list of Commencement weekend activities will be posted as events are finalized. Please check back periodically for updates.
Where should I stay during Commencement Weekend?
You are encouraged to secure lodging as early as possible since many locations sell out during Commencement weekend. Whitman College does not provide housing for parents or families during Commencement. For more information about local hotels and other accommodations, check out the following links:
- Tourism Walla Walla
- Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Dayton, WA Chamber of Commerce
- Pendleton, OR Chamber of Commerce
- Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau
Where can I park during Commencement?
Limited parking is available in the lots on campus near the Harper Joy Theatre and the Music Building. Please respect reserved parking signs in these lots. Free parking is available in most residential neighborhoods that surround campus. Many people choose to park downtown and walk to campus.
Where should I eat during Commencement Weekend?
There are many dining options available at restaurants in Walla Walla. Advance reservations are recommended during this busy weekend. A list of local restaurants can be found on the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce website. A complimentary light lunch will be served on the lawn between the Memorial Building and the Penrose Library following the Commencement Ceremony.
When and where is the graduation ceremony?
The Commencement Ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. It will run approximately 2 hours and a light lunch will be served following the event.
The ceremony is held on the south lawn of the Memorial Building on Boyer Avenue between Park and Otis Streets (please note that these streets are closed during the event).
What are the seating arrangements for Commencement?
Reserved seating at Commencement is for graduating seniors, faculty members, guests with special needs, and members of the 50th-year reunion class. Please respect all seating areas that are designated with signage as reserved.
Parents, families and visitors are invited to sit in the open seating sections which include folding chairs and bleacher seating. Seating in these sections is on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8:30 a.m. We recommend you bring your own blankets, stadium cushions or anything else you need to sit comfortably. Please be considerate and only hold the number of seats your party will actually use. Guests are also welcome to bring their own chairs and enjoy the ceremony from the open grassy areas.
Is there seating reserved for mobility-impaired or hearing-impaired guests?
Staff and students serving as event ushers will be available to guide individuals to appropriate seating. Guests in wheelchairs may bring one additional guest to sit with them in the reserved section.A sign language interpreter will be provided at both Baccalaureate and Commencement. To learn more about Accessibility during Commencement weekend, visit the Accessibility page.
Can I watch the ceremony indoors?
If you prefer to watch from an indoor location, you may view the ceremony indoors by webcast from the Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom (the red brick building located on the corner of Boyer Ave. and Park St.)
What happens if it rains?
The show must go on! If it rains, the Commencement ceremony will continue outdoors as planned. Guests are encouraged to bring an umbrella or rain gear. A limited number of umbrellas will be available for purchase at the event.In the event of extreme weather which is defined as weather that is unsafe (severe winds, hail or lightning), the Commencement ceremony will move indoors and begin at a later time than regularly scheduled. Please click through to familiarize yourself with the Extreme Weather Plan prior to the event.
Who is the Commencement speaker?
The 2017 Commencement speaker is social activist and alumna Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg '01.
For more information about past Commencement speakers, please visit the Commencement History section of the website.
When and where is the senior class photo taken?
Graduating seniors should meet no later than 9:45 a.m. near the Science Building on the morning of Commencement. Please come dressed in cap and gown. Following your senior class photo, you will line up for the processional near the tennis courts.
How can I purchase copies of professional graduation photos or the graduation ceremony DVD?
Local photographer Marty Huie has professionally photographed Whitman Commencement for many years. Shortly after commencement, his company will send packets addressed "To the Parents/Family of STUDENT NAME." All the order information will be included along with contact information if you have questions. All order questions should be directed to the photography company directly, not Whitman. Also, you can order online through this link: www.orders.gradphotonetwork.com If you have questions, please call (509) 529-5183 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can family and friends take pictures during the diploma presentation?
Audience members can take stills and videos from their seats but should not approach the stage or stand in the area where graduates exit the stage. This is because the official professional photographer will capture graduates, diploma in hand, coming off the stage. If a graduate sees multiple cameras, he or she will be distracted which will negatively impact the photographer's ability to capture the best possible professional shot.
How can someone who is unable to attend in person view the Commencement ceremony?
Where can I buy commencement announcements, memorabilia and Whitman College gear?
Please visit the Herff Jones website for all your commencement memorabilia and announcement needs.
The Whitman College Bookstore offers an expansive selection of items, including textbooks, dorm supplies, clothing, and other college essentials. Unlike many campus stores, the Whitman College Bookstore is completely owned and operated by Whitman – not a large outside company. Visit the bookstore on campus or online for all your Whitman College essentials!