2019 Masters Level Hamilton/Boston Commencement Information

NOTE: Some updates for 2019 are still pending.

Please click here for Charlotte Commencement information and here for Jacksonville Commencement information. Doctor of Ministry students click here for additional information. 

This graduation webpage is the primary mode of detailed communication to Masters level graduates, their families and guests for both the Hamilton and Boston campuses. However, if at any time you have questions regarding the commencement activities, please contact our office at graduation@gcts.edu or 978-646-4071. 

Please review all of the information found on this webpage, especially arrival times for robing at Baccalaureate and Commencement. The times have been set to allow for sufficient time to go over the instructions for processing to the Gordon Chapel and Bennett Center, respectively, as well as detailed instructions on receiving your diploma.  

If a graduate encounters any difficulty on his/her way to Baccalaureate or Commencement, please call the seminary switchboard at 978-468-7111 between 5:00 pm and 7:45 pm on Friday night and between 8:00 am and 10:15 am on Saturday. The switchboard will contact Natalie Crowson, Assistant Registrar, who will be organizing the graduates on both occasions.

In His Service,
Julie Nichols, Interim Dean of Students

Important Dates

April 30: Graduate Banquet for Boston Campus (Adults only)

6:00 pm, Venezia Boston
Look for an invitation in early April. No Charge. RSVP deadline is April 22, 2019. 

May 3: Graduate Banquet for Hamilton Campus (Adults only)

6:00 pm, Peabody Marriott
Look for an invitation in early April. No Charge. RSVP deadline is April 26, 2019. 

May 10: Baccalaureate Buffet

5:00-6:30 pm, Alumni Hall 
Gordon-Conwell Seminary, Hamilton
Click here for details and to purchase tickets. 

May 10: Baccalaureate (Worship Service)

Graduates must arrive by 7:00 pm at the Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College
8:00 pm (ceremony begins), A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel, Gordon College
Speaker: Dr. Pablo Polischuk
Graduates must wear academic regalia

May 11: Commencement 

Graduates must arrive by 8:00 am at the Gordon College Chapel
10:00 am (Ceremony begins), The Bennett Center, Gordon College
Speaker: Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger
Graduates must wear academic regalia

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Important Deadlines

No later than March 20: Order extra graduation announcements here.

Beginning March 18: Reserve tickets to Baccalaureate Buffet here.

Beginning March 29: Graduation Announcements will be placed in student mailboxes. Out-of-town graduates will receive them in the mail.

No later than April 15: Notify Registration Office via email to registration@gordonconwell.edu if you will not be attending Commencement.

Week of April 22: Pick up regalia for Boston Graduates.

April 26: Deadline to submit written work (Masters only; D.Min. students click here).

April 26: Deadline for purchasing Baccalaureate Buffet tickets here.

April 26: Deadline to RSVP for Graduate Banquet.

Week of April 29: Pick-up regalia for Hamilton Graduates.

No later than April 29: Submit your photos for the Graduate Banquet slide/video presentation.

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Safety and Security

Each year we reevaluate our safety and security plans, and we would like to make you aware of some continued safety and security restrictions and procedures ahead of time to reduce any inconvenience to you, your family, or other guests. 

The continued safety and security restrictions and procedures are:

1. No Backpacks will be allowed at Baccalaureate or Commencement.

2. No Packages will be allowed at Baccalaureate or Commencement, unless they are medically necessary, strollers or diaper bags, etc. and then, are subject to a random search.

3. No Balloons will be allowed at Baccalaureate or Commencement.

4. Vehicles with valid passes parking at the Bennett Center or Gedney Strip for Commencement are subject to a random vehicle and trunk search.

5. We also ask your cooperation in keeping your personal belongings (jackets, etc.) with you at all times during the events.

6. Vehicles parked in reserved parking at the Bennett Center Lot will NOT be allowed to exit the lot until pedestrian traffic has returned to a safe level that allows the return of vehicular traffic to the area. Expect to wait at least 20 minutes after Commencement to exit the Bennett Center parking lot. Please plan accordingly.

We have no specific threat to either event, however, we are taking these necessary preventive measures after evaluation of our security plan to provide for the safest possible Baccalaureate and Commencement for the graduating class.

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Pre-Graduation Logistics

 In Absentia

Attendance at Commencement is mandatory for all graduates living within a 250-mile radius of the seminary. If you will not be attending Commencement, you must notify the Registration Office via email (registration@gcts.edu) no later than April 15. Your name will be listed in the program, but not announced.

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Name Pronunciation

Your name is important! We want to pronounce your name correctly at Commencement. If you have not already done so on your graduation application, please write out the phonetic spelling of your name and email this to the Registration Office (registration@gcts.edu) or stop by in person. We need your help with this task.

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Graduation Announcements

We are now in the process of having announcements (not invitations) printed. Each graduate will receive 10 announcements free of charge. They will be put in student mailboxes, beginning April 2nd. Out-of-town graduates will receive them in the mail.

If you’d like to order extra announcements, please click here. The cost is $.50 per announcement. Please send payment to the Communications Office at 130 Essex Street, South Hamilton, MA 01982. The announcements will be sent to the address that you provide on the form after payment is received. Contact the Communications Office (communications.office@gordonconwell.edu) or 978-646-4066 with any questions.

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Required Graduate Survey

One of the requirements of graduation is completing the Graduating Student Survey. The information you enter into the survey is confidential. We ask for your student ID only, so that we know that you completed the survey. The information you give us is used to continue to improve Gordon-Conwell. The survey must be completed online before graduation. If you are a graduating MA/M.Div./Th.M. student, please click here. If you have any problems completing the survey, please contact us at assessment@gordonconwell.edu

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          Required Loan Exit Counseling

Any student who received a Federal student loan while at Gordon-Conwell is required to complete an online exit counseling tutorial before graduation. Please note that this is a Federal requirement, and that GCTS cannot issue your diploma or transcript until this requirement is met. The Loan Exit Counseling tutorial includes important information about student loan repayment plans and how to contact your loan servicer. The deadline for May graduates is April 15, 2019.

Students who have received an Unsubsidized or GradPlus loan while attending Gordon-Conwell must complete an online Loan Exit Counseling Tutorial. The Financial Aid office will receive notice from the Department of Education once done. Please go to this link and then LOG IN.

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Graduate Banquet

FRIDAY, MAY 3 at 6pm

The Office of Student Life is pleased to host a special evening with a lovely meal to honor our graduates. We encourage our graduates to bring one guest (spouse or friend). RSVP is required. Invitations will be sent in April.

In order to make this a more meaningful evening, we ask our graduates to submit two photos highlighting their seminary experience.

Please use email subject line GRADUATE BANQUET. Use the following format to name your photos:  

LastName, FirstName 1          LastName, FirstName 2

Photo ideas: photos of you in your ministry setting, you with seminary friends, family, faculty. We would also like photos of campus/community life, e.g., events (inside or outside), the snow, children playing, Chowdafest, fun times in Boston/North Shore/New England, etc.

Please email high-quality digital photos as attachments to: stulife@gordonconwell.edu

The deadline for submitting photos is April 29. 


TUESDAY, APRIL 30 at 6pm

Look for an invitation in early April. RSVP deadline is April 22, 2019. 


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Regalia (Boston and Hamilton Graduates)

All who march in the procession at both events will wear full academic regalia. It is most appropriate for men to wear ties, as necklines are visible. Women should consider wearing blouses or dresses with buttons so that regalia hoods can be easily fixed to these (instead of pinned). All regalia must be taken home after Baccalaureate. After Commencement, graduates may keep their regalia.

Honor insignia on academic regalia are limited to official pins (Psi Chi pins or other seminary-sanctioned academic honors). Other insignia (e.g., cords, capes, and stoles) or decorations are not permitted.

Care of Academic Regalia

The Graduation gown may be placed in the dryer on permanent press for 15-20 minutes to remove wrinkles. The hood should be lightly ironed.

Please make sure that your regalia fit properly and that the gown has a long extension on the end of the sleeves. Please notify the Registration Office immediately if you detect any problems with your regalia.

Regalia Pick-Up for Hamilton Graduates

Week of April 29 in the Pierce Great Room
Monday 12:00–2:00 pm; 5:00–7:00 pm
Tues/Wed/Thurs 11:30 am–1:30 pm

All regalia not picked up by 1:30 pm on Thursday, May 2, will be available in the Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College after 6:00 pm on Friday, May 10 and at the Gordon College Chapel on Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 am.

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Regalia Pick-Up for Boston Graduates

Regalia will be available at the CUME Library beginning Tuesday, April 23. All regalia not picked up will be available in the Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College after 6:00 pm on Friday, May 10 and at the Gordon College Chapel on Saturday, May 11 at 8:00 am. 

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Location and Direction

Please be advised that the Baccalaureate Buffet is on the Hamilton campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, while the location for the Baccalaureate Ceremony and Graduation Ceremony are on the campus of Gordon College.

Directions to Gordon College

Graduates are advised to take Exit 18 to come to Gordon College to avoid traffic jam at Bennett Center and long lines on Rt. 128.  At Exit 18, turn LEFT onto Route 22. When at the fork on the road (approx. 1.5 mile), veer to LEFT to continue on Rt. 22 until you come perpendicular to GRAPEVINE Road (@ stop sign); turn RIGHT and continue on to Gordon College.) 

Gordon College 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham, MA, 978-927-2300    

Website: http://www.gordon.edu/

Due to limited parking at Gordon College, graduates and families living on campus will be transported to Gordon College in buses on Saturday morning, except those families with children in car seats. There will not be a shuttle bus on Friday evening.

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Times and Locations of Assembly

Graduates will assemble as follows at Gordon College:

Baccalaureate Service: no later than 7:00 pm at the Ken Olsen Science Center, Gordon College. It takes one hour to robe and arrange the proper line for procession. In order for graduates to be placed within their respective degree programs, it is imperative that all graduates be on time with cap, tassel, gown, and hood. The walk from the Ken Olsen Science Center to the Chapel is about 2½ blocks. See Gordon College campus map here.

Commencement Service: no later than 8:00 am at the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel.

The walk from the chapel where the graduates will robe for Commencement is ¼ mile to the Bennett Center (see Gordon College map). Women may want to consider wearing low-heel shoes for comfort. Graduates not able to walk the distance should contact Student Life Services (graduation@gordonconwell.edu) ASAP to arrange for assistance.

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Book your group rate for Gordon-Conwell Commencement!

Boston Marriott Peabody
     8A Centennial Drive
     Peabody, MA 01960

Start Date

End Date

Room Type







Please ask your guests to call Marriott Reservations at 1 (800) 228-9290 no later than Thursday, April 25, 2019, (the “cut-off date”) to make their sleeping room reservations. They should identify themselves as part of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary group staying at the Boston Marriott Peabody, located at 8A Centennial Drive, Peabody, MA 01960.

Book your group rate for Gordon-Conwell Commencement 

Transportation and Parking

Shuttle to and from Gordon College on Commencement Day

Due to limited parking at Gordon College, graduates and families living on campus will be transported to Gordon College from the seminary’s Academic Center parking lot on Saturday morning as follows:

• Two buses will run the schedule below from the GCTS Academic Center parking lot: 

7:30 am - Graduates only to Gordon Chapel where they will robe and receive instructions
7:45 am - Graduates only to Gordon Chapel

Continuous runs from GCTS Academic Center to Bennett Center:

8:00-10:15 am – Guests to Bennett Center where Commencement will be held

• After Commencement, two buses will make continuous runs from Gordon Chapel to GCTS Academic Center parking lot until 2:00 pm for graduates and guests.

For the graduates whose children must be in a car seat, we strongly encourage you to car pool, if at all possible.

If off-campus guests are turned back after arriving at Gordon College due to full parking lots, they will be directed to the Gordon-Conwell campus and pick up the shuttle within the listed times above. 

Shuttle for elderly/those needing assistance after Commencement: A one-way bus to the Gordon Chapel will be parked outside the main doors of the Bennett Center immediately following the commencement service. If you or anyone in your party is elderly and/or needs assistance, we invite you to make use of this shuttle. (The shuttle is not wheelchair accessible.)

Parking (including Handicapped Parking) at Gordon College on Commencement Day

In order to avoid a traffic jam, there will not be a drop off at the Bennett Center. Campus Safety will direct you to the designated parking areas. 

There are 35 designated handicapped parking spaces in the Bennett Center parking lot for this event. Please contact Student Life Services ASAP if you or your family will need special assistance (graduation@gordonconwell.edu) or at 978-646-4071.

Graduation Day and Ceremony

CommencementAn Event for Graduates and Family Members

All are welcome. There is no limit to the number of family members and friends invited; however, we kindly request that graduates who currently serve a church, limit their guests to an appropriate number of church members. We want to ensure that we can accommodate family members of all graduates. No tickets are needed.

Commencement Morning: The Bennett Center Auditorium (gymnasium) where Commencement will be held, will open at 9:00 am. The building itself will open at 7:00 am. Early arrivers may wait in the lobby, lounge, and aerobics room areas where there will be chairs available for their use. Only authorized personnel will be allowed in the auditorium before 9:00 am. Graduates should report to the Gordon College Chapel (see Times & Locations of Assembly).

No Air-Conditioning in the Bennett Center

The graduates and their families are encouraged to dress appropriately for Commencement as the Bennett Center is not air-conditioned.

Assembly & Procession Prior to and Following Commencement

Prior to the Commencement Ceremony, the Graduates will assemble at Gordon College no later than 8:00 am at the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. The walk from the chapel where the graduates will robe for Commencement is ¼ mile to the Bennett Center (see Gordon College map). Women may want to consider wearing low-heel shoes for comfort. Graduates not able to walk the distance should contact Student Life Services (graduation@gordonconwell.edu) ASAP to arrange for assistance. In case of rain, plastic covers will be available.

Following the Commencement Ceremony, The procession will proceed from the Bennett Center to the Chapel for diploma pickup, Graduates will exit through the side door of the Bennett Center and walk directly to the chapel to pick up their diplomas. (Graduates will receive empty folders on stage.)  

Graduates may invite family members and friends to meet on the Chapel lawn for an opportunity to take photos with friends/faculty/president. October graduates also are requested to meet their family members at the Chapel. Please do not stop and gather in front of the Bennett Center. We must keep the road open to clear the parking lot. The Gordon Chapel lawn is ideal for taking photographs with friends/family. Refreshments will be served on the lawn.

Photograph with President Hollinger: Anyone wishing to take a photograph with the seminary’s president, Dr. Dennis Hollinger, may do so by going to the front of the Chapel area (look for the Gordon-Conwell banner). Dr. Hollinger will be available up to 1:00 pm. A staff person will be present to direct graduates in taking turns for the photographs.

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Special Accommodations

Designated Area for Moms

Moms who wish to nurse their infants discreetly may do so in the following areas: Chairs and a divider screen in the lobby of the Chapel on Friday night for Baccalaureate and for Commencement, in the Children’s Room.

Children’s Room at Commencement will be located in the aerobics room in the Bennett Center for the convenience of those who want to come out with their children. A TV monitor will be available. Ushers will direct families to the room. Children must be supervised at all times by parents.

Strollers in Bennett Center at Commencement:

The ushers will direct parents to the area designated for strollers. Due to limited space, strollers will not be permitted in the Auditorium.

No Pets will be allowed in the Baccalaureate or Commencement services, with the exception of service animals.

People with Physical Challenges

If you or any of your invited guests have a physical challenge and in need of assistance, please contact Erica Giovanniello, Head Usher, (EricaG@gordonconwell.edu) as soon as possible to arrange for assistance.

Gordon-Conwell will have six wheelchairs on loan, as well as a limited number of hearing aids (assisted listening devices). 

There will be a reserved area for those in wheelchairs at both Baccalaureate and Commencement. In order to accommodate everyone, we need to know if any of your family members are bringing his/her own wheelchair.

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Professional Photos, Live Streaming, and Video Orders

Professional Photos at Commencement

The seminary will have professional photographers taking photos of graduates as they receive their diplomas from President Hollinger, as well as when they proceed down from the stage. Therefore, we ask that students please not hire their own professional photographers or videographers for either service. Photos may be taken by family or friends only from their seats during events. Additionally, in keeping with fire code there is to be no photography (or standing) in the aisles, against the back walls, or in balconies during either event.

The company, Commencement Photos, Inc., will send a letter to all graduates offering them an opportunity to preorder their graduation pictures. If you are not satisfied with the picture received after Commencement, it can be returned. Those who choose not to preorder will receive a proof of the picture and a second opportunity to order after Commencement. 

For more information visit www.commencementphotos.com, call 978-851-5925, or email customerservice@commencementphotos.com (Please include “Gordon-Conwell” in the subject line).

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Live Streaming & Videos

Live video streaming for both Baccalaureate and Commencement will be available for those who are unable to attend in person. Watch at http://www.gordonconwell.edu/live. The live stream will begin 15 minutes prior to each event.

If you would like to order a digital copy of the entirety of the Baccalaureate Service and/or Commencement Exercises, please fill out a video order form.

The Baccalaureate sermon, Commencement address, and student remarks will be posted to YouTube for free viewing. Visit our YouTube page.

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Post Graduation

Diploma Size

11” x 17” The Hamilton Bookstore has a few of the special GCTS frames. Contact Dave Shorey (dshorey@gordonconwell.edu).

Hamilton Campus Mail Boxes

Graduates must close their GCTS mailbox and give the Mailroom their new address before they leave campus! This can be done at the mailroom window or online. If you live in the apartments, you must also file a change of address with either the South Hamilton post office or by going online. For more information, read the Mailbox Closing and Forwarding policies on the bulletin board outside the Mailroom. 

Career Services & Placement

Be sure to look for professional full-time and part-time ministry positions around the country (and even the world) on GCTS’s ministry employment website, www.MinistryList.com. While there, put your personal ministry profile on the Candidate List, along with your resume, so that churches and ministries looking for Gordon-Conwell degree holders may contact you. Finally, check out the left sidebar for helpful resume, interview and ministry job search tips!

Alumni Services Announcement

Graduation is just the beginning of your lifetime relationship with Gordon-Conwell as an Alum. Sign up at the Alumni website to find resources that will serve you in ministry and to stay connected as a valuable part of the worldwide Gordon-Conwell family. As an alum you can:

Stay connected to Gordon-Conwell and your classmates. Be sure to create an account online today!


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