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Commencement 2020 Update

By now, many of you are aware of New England College’s recent announcement that the 2020-2021 academic year will start in-person this autumn. The fall semester will begin on August 24th, and end on November 22nd, which coincides with the start of Thanksgiving break. Students will subsequently remain home until the beginning of the second semester, on February 1, 2021. While we are excited about having our students back for the fall semester, the health and safety measures we have implemented in response to the ongoing COVID pandemic mean changes to the College’s programming and campus activities.

I am sorry to announce that the rescheduled Commencement 2020 exercises in Henniker on Sunday, October 4, 2020 have been cancelled. Despite the progress that has been made in flattening the COVID-19 transmission curve in New Hampshire, the Governor and CDC continue to restrict the number of individuals who may gather in a single location. What’s more, the numbers in other states, where many of our students and their families call home, are not reflecting the same decrease of cases and hospitalizations as in New Hampshire. There are other factors as well, which all taken together, have led me to the conclusion that we cannot safely organize a celebration of our graduates.

I know this is very disappointing news to many. I, too, am disappointed. One of the highlights of serving as the President of New England College is the honor of shaking the hand of each and every graduate that crosses our stage; however, I believe this decision protects the safety of our community members, our 2020 graduates, and the many family members who would have attended.

It is my hope that all of the graduates of the Class of 2020 will join us on May 8, 2021 when we will celebrate your achievements and those of the Class of 2021. More details about next year’s Commencement will follow. I do hope you will consider joining us and accept our invitation to cross the graduation stage.

In the interim, for our students at the Institute of Art and Design, I have directed the Academic Affairs team to begin planning for a Senior Exhibition in Manchester of the work of both the Classes of 2020 and 2021. This event will be held in the Spring of 2021. Details about what will surely be an exciting exhibition will be announced in the near future.

We greatly appreciate the continued understanding and patience of all community members and especially the graduating class of 2020. I look forward to the day when we are able to gather again.


Michele D. Perkins, EdD
President, New England College

Congratulations graduates! New England College’s Commencement Ceremony begins promptly at 10:00 a.m. and lasts approximately two hours. All graduates in attendance walk on stage and are acknowledged by name. The College looks forward to making your commencement a truly memorable event!

More information will be posted here as it becomes available so please check back.

Schedule of Events Lodging

On Commencement Day, any student arriving after the platform party has been seated will NOT be allowed to march, or sit with the graduating students, therefore it is imperative that any student wishing to participate arrives at the covered bridge (#29 on campus map) by 9:00 a.m.

If you need special accommodations click here to learn more.

Guest Speaker | Honorary Degree Recipient

Information about the guest speaker will be forthcoming.

Online Streaming

Can’t be there? Watch Commencement live: Online Streaming Is Available

New England College is pleased to offer live online streaming of the 2020 Commencement Ceremony. No special equipment, software, or downloads are needed. All you need is internet access. The live stream will be available 15 minutes prior to the start of Commencement by clicking here:


Regalia is available for purchase until October 4, 2020. Regalia will be shipped directly to you at your home address. Despite the unfortunate cancelation of our rescheduled Commencement 2020 ceremony, we hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to purchase regalia and dress up for a photoshoot or home celebration. Purchases can be made by using the following link:

Regalia | EdD Doctoral Gowns

EdD students purchase their doctoral gowns directly from University Cap and Gown, at, and not through the Pilgrim Shop @ NEC. These are hand sewn, so please do not wait until the last minute to order your regalia. Additionally, it also takes a few weeks to ship. Please contact UCG directly at for delivery estimates and other questions.

Commencement Announcements and Memorabilia

Please go to NEC’s Jostens online store to order plain or customized graduation announcements, class or deluxe rings, or collegiate tags.

Graduating Student Name Pronunciation

As a graduating student, one of the most memorable moments is being recognized by the College, your classmates, and your family and friends as your name is read aloud and you walk across the stage. Please provide how-to-say-it instructions with our online form.

Safety and Sight Lines

To ensure guests can see and hear event activities and be assured of our campus safety, we will have bag checks at event entry points. The following items are not permitted: signs, banners, beach balls, horns, balloons, or noise makers.


Members of Campus Safety will be available to direct you to the nearest parking facilities once you arrive at the event. Should you or a guest require accessible parking, please contact so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Lodging and Directions

Directions and a list of area motels, hotels, and inns can be found here.

Service Animals and Sign Language Interpreter

Only service animals will be admitted into the area where the Commencement Ceremony will be held. No other dogs or pets will be given access. Leaving a pet in a hot vehicle is unacceptable so please make other arrangements. Learn more about service animals.

If you are graduating, and plan to have your service animal accompany you to Commencement, please give us advanced notice so we may make seating accommodations. Please email

Interpreters for those deaf, and hard of hearing, will be available during the Commencement Ceremony.


The College has engaged a professional photographer from Art Swenson Photography. They will take photographs of all graduates as they receive their diplomas. Download those photos here,, as they become available.

Those wishing to take their own photographs may do so from their seats or from the designated photography area to the left of the stage. Please make your visit to this area brief so that others may enjoy the same opportunity.

Live video streaming of the Commencement will be available for those family and friends who will not be able to attend.


Fresh Start Floral Design and Gifts will be selling a variety of floral items near the Commencement site. Pre-orders are welcome by calling 603.428.7395​.

Seating – No Tickets Necessary; Rain Attire

Commencement is held outdoors on NEC’s beautiful Simon Green. There’s plenty of space and no tickets are necessary. Seating is first come, first served, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Regardless of weather, the Commencement Ceremony will happen on the lawn so come dressed appropriately. October can be warm, but mornings are usually on the cooler side.

For the safety of our guest, umbrellas are not allowed in the general seating area even if it rains. Family and friends should be prepared with appropriate rain attire. Graduates will be given clear ponchos to wear over their robes if needed.

Registrar’s Office Message to Students

Students indicate their intention to participate in the Commencement Ceremony when they file their Intent to Graduate Form with the Registrar’s Office. Intent to Graduate Forms should be submitted in accordance with College guidelines, but no later than one term prior to Commencement. Late submissions may not be accommodated.

Eligibility to Graduate

You must fill out and submit your Intent to Graduate Form. It can be found in the Academic Forms section of the Registrar’s Office webpage. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your eligibility to graduate please contact the Registrar’s Office at, or Student Financial Services at

Ceremony attendance can only be changed before September 27th  by emailing from the student’s New England College email account.

Students who wish to have their name in the Commencement program must have their intent to graduate filed by August 15. Submissions or changes after August 15 may not be reflected in the program.

Students may only participate in the May 2021 Commencement Ceremony if they graduated from July 2019 through May 2021 or are within 4 credits of completing their degree program as of the date of the October Ceremony. Students must select one ceremony to attend. Commencement eligibility will be determined by the Registrar’s Office.

If your anticipated graduation date changes, you must notify the Registrar’s Office by emailing

A Student Financial Services Reminder to Students

Please clear any account holds. Outstanding balances must be paid in full.

Federal loan borrowers:

Contact Us

Other Commencement questions can be directed to 603.428.2225 or