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Baccalaureate & Commencement Information

The 2021 commencement ceremony will take place Sunday, May 16, on the Bethel College campus in North Newton.

Please keep checking back for any updates and changes. All times indicated are Central Daylight Time (CDT).

Virtual commencement recording

The Graduation Committee has decided not to produce a pre-recorded video made by the graduates, since commencement will be held in person this year, and livestreamed for family and friends to watch. The livestream video will be available after the event.

Commencement rehearsal – May 15

Commencement rehearsal for graduates will take place Saturday, May 15, 10-11 a.m., at Thresher Stadium. More details will be sent from the registrar’s office through campus mail.

Baccalaureate service – May 16

Baccalaureate is Sunday, May 16, 10 a.m., at Thresher Stadium with worship, music and other content selected by a committee of seniors. Graduates do not need to wear their graduation robes for Baccalaureate, and they are welcome to sit with their families. Attendance at the service will be limited to 5 guests per graduate if outdoors or 2 guests per graduate if in Memorial Hall. Tickets will be handled electronically, with more information to come.

Class photo – May 16

All graduates should report to the Administration Building steps in cap and gown at 3 p.m. for a class photo. After the photo, graduates will proceed to the sidewalk around the Green to line up for the commencement procession. All graduates are required to participate in the photo. In case of inclement weather, the photo will be taken in Krehbiel Auditorium on the stage, and graduates will then report to Thresher Gym to line up for the procession. 

Commencement – May 16

The formal commencement ceremony takes place Sunday, May 16, 4 p.m., at Thresher Stadium. The commencement ceremony will be limited to 5 guests per graduate for outdoors or 2 guests per graduate if indoors. Tickets will be handled electronically, with more information to come. In case of inclement weather, commencement will take place in Memorial Hall.

Commencement guests are welcome to park in the Thresher Stadium parking lot or other locations, as there are no parking restrictions on campus. Stadium gates (Memorial Hall doors if bad weather) will open at 3 p.m. In order to follow COVID safety requirements, family members are asked to sit together and distance 6 feet apart from others. Face coverings must be worn, and there will be temperature checks at the stadium entrance.

After the ceremony, graduates will exit to meet their families at a pre-arranged campus location. Since the graduates will keep their caps and gowns, they are welcome to go anywhere on campus to take photos.

President Jon C. Gering, faculty, graduates and designated others will begin the commencement ceremony with the traditional Walk Around The Green. Commencement guests are invited to go directly to Thresher Stadium for the ceremony.

Graduation robes, caps and tassels can be ordered and paid for through Thresher Shop. Graduation announcements can be ordered through CB Announcement online or by calling 800-433-0296. Order forms are also available in Thresher Shop.

Livestreaming of Baccalaureate and commencement will be available for those unable to attend in person. More information will be posted later on how to access the livestream.

2021 commencement speaker

Brooke Powers, football athletic trainer and clinical education coordinator, has been selected by the seniors as the Class of 2021 commencement speaker. Please check back for more details.

Important dates for commencement 2021

*Face coverings and physical distancing required at all events due to COVID safety guidelines*

Friday, May 14
7 p.m. Senior Art Exhibit reception for Adam Kroeker, Robert W. Regier Art Gallery, Luyken Fine Arts Center
Saturday, May 15
10 a.m. Mandatory graduation rehearsal for all graduates,Thresher Stadium
Inclement weather rehearsal will be in Memorial Hall.
11 a.m. “Graduate Gathering,” the Caf, Schultz Student Center. Graduates only. Special meal for graduates, with presentation of senior gifts. Hosted by Student Life, Student Alumni Association and Alumni Association.
2 p.m. Nurse Pinning Ceremony, Krehbiel Auditorium, Luyken Fine Arts Center
Check back for more details.
Sunday, May 16
10 a.m. Baccalaureate service, Thresher Stadium
In case of inclement weather, Baccalaureate will take place in Memorial Hall. Guests will be limited to 5 per graduate if outside and 2 per graduate if inside.
3 p.m. Senior class photo, Administration Building steps
All graduates required to attend. In case of inclement weather, photo will be taken in Krehbiel Auditorium on the stage.
4 p.m. Commencement, Thresher Stadium
In case of inclement weather, commencement will take place in Memorial Hall. Relocation decisions will be made by 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, and notification placed on the Bethel website,, and social media. Guests will be limited to 5 per graduate if outside and 2 per graduate if inside.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.