Dear members of the Class of 2021,

Thank you so much for your terrific response to our recent survey regarding your preference for an in-person or virtual Commencement ceremony.

The consensus was that the majority of you wish to celebrate your academic achievement with an in-person ceremony, preferably one held outside that follows recommended safety precautions.

Commencement is still months away, but I wanted to let you know that we heard you, and we are currently navigating the logistics of holding an in-person ceremony — or ceremonies — depending on state guidelines in effect at that time.

We are still in the early phases of planning, but I wanted to let you know that we are committed to helping you celebrate your milestone achievement. Stay tuned for more information as our plans, and recommended health and safety protocols, continue to evolve over the next few weeks.

Thank you,

Teresa Winters,
Dean of Students

Elms College will hold is 90th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 15, 2021.

  • Arrive at MassMutual Convention Center- 1277 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103 by 8:30 a.m.
  • You will go to the Exhibition Hall A (“staging area”)
  • In the staging area you will robe with your gown, cap and hood
  • Staff and Faculty will direct you where to line up.
  • Do NOT leave any valuables in the staging area so do not not bring bags or big purses!
  • Turn off your cell phone or set to vibrate once ceremony begins.
  • Tassels go on the right
  • Remember to take your name card with you, which you will receive in the staging area.
  • You enter in alphabetical single file by degree: AA-BA-BS-MAAT-MAT-MBA-MED-MS-MSN-MSN/MBA Dual Degree-CAGS-DNP
  • Download detailed commencement day instructions here.

Accessibility Arrangements:

  • An interpreter for those who are hearing-impaired will be part of the commencement ceremony.
  • Graduating students attending the commencement ceremony or any other Elms sponsored event that may require accessibility related accommodations should contact Hillary Gregory to discuss the necessary arrangements no later than April 1, 2021.
  • Family and friends attending graduation events that may require accessibility related accommodations should contact Hillary Gregory, Director of Student Accommodations and Support Services, directly at 413-265-2333 or
  • The MassMutual Center has reserved seating sections available for individuals who use wheelchairs or who have mobility challenges. The spaces are limited, so please plan accordingly. A MassMutual attendant may be able to assist you in locating these sections and may be able to assist any person in need of mobility support, including escorting guests to accessible seating areas.
  • The MassMutual Center offers drop-off and pick-up areas at the Box Office entrance on the corner of Bruce Landon Way and Main Street for guests requiring mobility assistance.
  • If you have specific accommodation needs not listed above nor on the MassMutual Center Accessibility link, please contact Hillary Gregory at 413-265-2333 or

Caps, Gowns and Hoods

Caps Decorating Guidelines

At Elms College, we hold all of our graduates in high esteem and recognize their achievements at Commencement. If you wish to decorate your graduation cap to wear at commencement, please remember to respect the historical and formal integrity of this event when decorating your caps.

Please take into consideration these guidelines set forth by the college when decorating your cap:

  • Please only decorate the flat, top area of the mortar board
  • Decorations must be flat on the surface of the cap and not raise above 1 inch off the surface of the mortar board
  • No hanging objects off the sides of the cap except for the tassel
  • No bells, horns or anything that makes noise
  • No fresh flowers, food, or living objects
  • No lighted objects
  • No battery operated objects
  • No obscenities, profanity, vulgarity or lewdness
  • Must not contain any advertisement, symbols, abbreviations, initials, words, slogans, patches, or pictures that refer to drugs, alcohol or weapons
  • Must not denote an affiliation with gangs or which advocate drug use, violence, illegal activity, or disruptive behavior which is detrimental to the safety and welfare of other students
  • No hate speech, intolerance or racist slogans
  • This list is not all inclusive. Elms College reserves the right to determine if a decoration is inappropriate

If you have a question about these guidelines or about the appropriateness of your decorated cap, please bring it to the attention of the Dean of Students Office, or 413-265-2210.

Invitations and Tickets

Formal Invitations will be available in the Registrar’s Office and the Dean of Students office as well as in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies during the first week of April.

No tickets are needed. The event is general admission, arena seating.


Shuttle buses are available to take graduates to Commencement from campus. The first bus leaves at 7:45 a.m. and the second at 8:15 a.m. from the Maguire Center. There is no return bus. Please contact Laurie Fontaine in the rental office to reserve a spot on the bus,

Receiving your Diploma

December 2019 and May 2020 Graduates

Don’t have your diploma yet? For questions on how to obtain your diploma, please email directly for more information.

At Commencement President Dr. Harry Dumay will hand you a diploma cover when you walk across the stage. Once you come off of the stage, you will be directed to the Registrars’ table where you will receive an envelope containing either your diploma or a letter explaining why you are not receiving your diploma. (Outstanding bill or incomplete course work are the usual reasons.)

If you are unable to attend commencement, you may pick up your diploma from the registrar’s office any day after commencement has taken place. For any questions regarding this, please contact with any questions.

Photographs and Social Sharing

Graduates and their families are invited to share their social media photos using the hashtag #Elms2021. Be sure to follow @elmscollege on Instagram and Twitter. Photos taken by Elms College staff during these events will be posted on the Elms College Facebook page as soon as they are available.

During Commencement, a professional photographer from Commencement Photos will be taking a picture of each student as they are handed their diploma. In the weeks after commencement, Commencement Photos will be contacting you and your family to be able to purchase these photos.

Honor Cords

Honor Cords is a token consisting of twisted cords with tassels on either end.   Their wearing signifies specific academic achievement in an Elms College recognized academic honor group.

Undergraduate Honors Cords

Honor cords are awarded to undergraduate students only who will graduate with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Honor cords are distributed by the registrar’s office. More than one cord may be worn at the same time. 

If a graduating student would like to wear an academic honor cord from a previous college degree (whether graduate or undergraduate), the cord may be work with permission from the registrar’s office. Please submit a request to the Registrar’s office,, by April 1 for approval.

Honor Society Cords

Honor Society Cords are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students after being inducted into an honor society. Students are notified through email if they have met the qualifications to be inducted into an honor society. More than one cord may be worn at the same time. Honors Cords are distributed by the Office of Academic Affairs.


A graduation stole is a decorative vestment worn by students who are members of college organizations for the purpose of recognizing association with an international group, a college registered sport, organization or club. A stole takes the form of a cloth scarf-like garment worn over the shoulders adorned with the colors of the organization or country of affiliation. Students may wear only one stole at commencement.

For graduating students who wish to place an order for a co-curricular stole that has already been designed by the college through SilverScreen Design (Green stole with gold lettering), the cost will be at the students own expense. Prices will range depending on the number of organizations embroidered on the stole. Students may have up to four clubs listed on the stole. The deadline to order is March 28. Order your stole here.

If you would like to apply to wear a stole that is different than the one designed by the college, please submit your application with a picture of the proposed stole through the following Google form by March 13: After March 13, the Dean of Students and Vice President of Academic Affairs will review all applications and respond to students regarding their decision.

If the request to wear the stole was denied, an appeal can be made to the Dean of Students Office in writing within three business days of receiving the denial. The appeal will be brought before the commencement committee for review at the next committee meeting after the denial is submitted. The committee meets every other Friday during the spring semester. The committee must make a major decision with at least seven members present. A final decision will be communicated in writing via email to the student and/or organization advisor.

Gonfalon Carrier

Gonfalons are banners with the college seal and name that hang from a crossbar. They are to be carried by three chosen students before all the other graduates walk into the MassMutual and again when exiting the arena at the end of commencement. The Gonfalons will be carried by one graduate student, one undergraduate student and one off-campus student. The student is responsible for getting to the commencement by 8:30 a.m. to do a run through at the venue. There will also be one required training in early to mid-May in Veritas to also practice.

If this opportunity interests you, please fill out the following application to either apply or nominate someone who you think would be a good fit.

Nominate a gonfalon carrier. The deadline for nominating a gonfalon carrier is March 12.

Flag Carrier

The U.S. Flag carrier must be a graduating Elms College student who is also a veteran. At commencement, they will carry the U.S. Flag into the MassMutual arena at the start of the commencement processional. The student is responsible for getting to commencement by 8:30 a.m. in order to do a run through at the venue. There will also be one required training in early to mid-May in Veritas to also practice.

If you are interested in applying or nominating someone who you think would be a good fit, please fill out the following application for consideration. Please note that all veterans will need to submit a DD214 if you are applying to be a flag carrier.

Nominate a flag carrier.The deadline for nominating a flag carrier is March 12.