Class of 2020 | April 24, 2021

Venable Lawn, rain or shine

Will you or someone you know be unable to attend Commencement in person? Hampden-Sydney will live-stream the ceremony for you to enjoy from where you are.

Class of 2020 Commencement Livestream

  • Commencement 2020 graduates process through the Bell Tower

    Commencement 2020

  • Commencement 2020 graduate in regalia smiling as he processes

    Commencement 2020

  • Commencement 2020 student speaker at the podium

    Commencement 2020

  • Commencement 2020 graduate looking up

    Commencement 2020

  • Speaker George Will shaking President Stimpert's hand at the podiumCommencement 2020

    Commencement 2020

  • Commencement 2020 graduates shake hands and celebrate

    Commencement 2020

  • Commencement 2020 graduate in regalia smiling

    Commencement 2020

  • Commencement 2020 graduate hugging and shaking hands with professors

    Commencement 2020

  • Commencement 2020 graduate posing in a group photo

    Commencement 2020

  • Commencement 2020 graduates posing for a selfie

    Commencement 2020

Important Details

Based on guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia, please note the following details about your commencement ceremony:

  • Graduates are allowed up to four guests. To reserve your tickets, you must complete the survey. You will also see a place on the survey to request additional tickets if they become available. (see more ticketing information below)
  • Livestreaming. For anyone who is unable to attend, streaming will be available live, but roughly edited, so portions of the ceremony may not be available on the livestream.
  • Safety Protocols. You, faculty and staff members, and all guests must wear masks and remain socially distanced at all times.
  • Champagne Toast and College Food Service. In order to comply with the Commonwealth’s guidelines, the College will not be able to offer you the traditional champagne toast or to serve food after the ceremony.
  • Family Gatherings. Graduates and their guests are invited to make use of the College’s greenspaces for informal picnics. Please note that no group may exceed 25 members and, in accordance with the Commonwealth’s requirements, groups are to remain socially distanced from one another. Groups may not gather in common areas, such as fraternity circle or dorms. Tents, live music, catered food service, and dining setups (tables/chairs) are prohibited.
  • The Campus Store will be open on April 24, though the number of patrons who may enter at any one time may be limited.

Tickets and Waitlists

Graduates must complete registration in order to receive guest tickets. If you have not received information about registration, please email

The College will be required to limit attendance to four guests per graduate based on gathering parameters set forth by the Commonwealth. Should there be a change in guidance or if fewer graduates plan to participate than anticipated, we may be able to offer additional tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. We will make every attempt to offer extra tickets in a timely manner, though it may be within the 24-48 hours prior to the ceremony.

Hampden-Sydney students who are not part of the graduating class may not attend the commencement ceremony unless they are listed and counted as one of the four guests of a graduate and have a ticket.

Tickets are transferable but may not be duplicated. A graduate may change the names associated with his reserved tickets by emailing updates to Guests will be required to present their tickets in electronic format for entry. All members of the party must be present to gain entry. Armbands will be required for reentry. Once “John Doe’s party of 4” has been seated, additional guests of John Doe will not be able to gain entry.


You may pick-up your regalia in the Hall of Fame at Kirk Athletic Center between 3 and 6 p.m. on Friday, April 23.

Those who have not previously received regalia and are participating in the Commencement ceremony are required to pick up their regalia (cap, gown and tassel) prior to the ceremony. There will be an additional opportunity to pick up regalia Saturday morning between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 24.

Inclement Weather

"...And there shall be no rain."

Commencement 2021 will be held outdoors on Venable Lawn— rain or shine.

If we do have inclement weather that includes lightning, the ceremony may be postponed until conditions improve. Please note that the ceremony will go on so long as it is safe to do so. Participants and their guests should prepare for any weather conditions.

The College will provide clear rain ponchos to graduates if weather dictates. Supply is limited so we will be unable to extend this courtesy to guests.


Due to COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Commonwealth, the College will be unable to allow families in close proximity to the stage to take pictures. We have hired professional photographers who will capture several key moments for each graduate: on-stage (mask must remain in place), just after exiting the stage and a bit further off-stage (mask may be removed briefly for these). Graduates who would like a formal photograph in their cap and gown, should wear a collared shirt with a neck or bow tie. The choice between shorts or long pants is at the graduate’s discretion.

There will be an opportunity, and a designated area, for additional professional photos with family members or small friend groups after the ceremony. Graduates and their family members may view the GradImages photos online after the ceremony. There is no obligation to purchase photos.

The College will also provide professional videography of the ceremony. Professionally edited dvd or blu-ray copies may be ordered online at During the lineup at the Bell Tower, the videographer may approach graduates for soundbites about their time “on the Hill.” (Any inappropriate language or content will be edited out.)


Graduates who completed degree requirements prior to or in May 2020 should have received their diploma by mail. If you have not received your diploma and fall into this category, please contact the Registrar’s Office at (434) 223-6203. Please do not bring your diploma with you to campus for this ceremony. Participants will be provided with a tube and a Bible to process across the stage.

Commencement Speaker

George F. Will headshotGeorge F. Will
George F. Will's newspaper column has been syndicated by The Washington Post since 1974. Today it appears twice weekly in more than 440 newspapers. In 1976 he became a regular contributing editor of Newsweek magazine, for which he provided a bimonthly essay until 2011. In 1977 he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in his newspaper columns.

In June 2019, Mr. Will released his most recent work, The Conservative Sensibility. Altogether eight collections of Mr. Will's Newsweek and Washington Post columns have been published, the most recent being One Man’s America: The Pleasures and Provocations of Our Singular Nation (2008). Mr. Will has also published three books on political theory, Statecraft as Soulcraft: What Government Does (1983), The New Season: A Spectator's Guide to the 1988 Election (1987) and Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and The Recovery of Deliberative Democracy (1992). In 1990, Mr. Will published Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball, which topped The New York Times bestseller list for two months. In 1998, Scribner published Bunts: Curt Flood, Camden Yards, Pete Rose and Other Reflections on Baseball, a best-selling collection of new and previously published writings by Mr. Will on baseball. Mr. Will's most recent book on baseball is A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred (2014). In July 2000, Mr. Will was a member of Major League Baseball's Blue Ribbon Panel, examining baseball economics.

In 1981, Mr. Will became a founding panel member on ABC television’s "This Week" and spent over three decades providing regular commentary. Then followed three years with Fox News where he appeared regularly on "Special Report" and "Fox News Sunday." Mr. Will is now a regular contributor to MSNBC and NBC News.

Mr. Will was born in Champaign, Illinois, educated at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Oxford University and Princeton University, where he earned his Ph.D. and he later served as a trustee. He has taught political philosophy at Michigan State University, the University of Toronto and Harvard University. Mr. Will served as a staff member in the United States Senate from 1970 to 1972. From 1973 through 1976, he was the Washington editor of National Review magazine. Today, Mr. Will lives and works in the Washington, D.C., area.