WELCOME TO THE

Deerfield Academy

Commencement Page

This is where you find information about all things Commencement.

Ordering Photographs

For ordering photographs, you will need to contact GradImages:

Customer Service Department can be reached at (800) 261-2576, go online at www.gradimages.com, or email ecc.giservice@gradimages.net.

They have a large team of customer care representatives ready to help graduates and family members with anything you may need.

 

Welcome, Senior Families!

We are committed to a Commencement for the Class of 2021 that is in keeping with our traditions leading up to and during this event; we are working closely with Environmental Health and Engineering, following recently-released state guidelines for graduations, and the guidance of our local public health officials. We developed a strong and trusting partnership with local public officials and our neighbors in Franklin County over these past several months, and we are committed to continuing to be a “good neighbor” as we potentially bring hundreds of people into the area for Commencement.

RSVP Online:

 
Online registration is required, including sending us your regrets if no one is able to attend. One of the graduate’s parents or guardians should have RSVP’d for the entire graduate’s party by Wednesday, May 12. It is important that you RSVP because you will receive an email with an arrival time for the Commencement ceremony on May 30. If you have not yet RSVP’d, please email events@deerfield.edu no later than Monday, May 24, at 8:00 am (ET).
  • May 29: Head’s Welcome Dinner on Saturday at 7:00 pm.
    • Limit: two adult guests.
  • Commencement Ceremony on Sunday at 10:00 am.
    • You will receive an email with your assigned timed entry as we draw closer to the event. 
 
 

In Short:

Commencement 2021 Weekend

We will welcome families of graduates on campus in the following ways:

  • Saturday, May 29, 2021: Head’s Welcome Dinner. Two adult guests per graduate.
  • Sunday, May 30, 2021: Commencement Ceremony. We will provide livestream viewing for all those who are unable to attend in person.
 
Remember: It’s a Closed Weekend
Students enjoy those last few nights in the dorm, getting a chance to say “goodbye” to friends.
 
Saturday, May 29

1:00 – 5:00 PM

Senior parents/guardians can begin to arrive for pre-departure pack up

1:30 – 5:00 PM

Photos in front of JW Door: Welcoming Seniors & Families

2:00 – 5:00 PM

Performing Arts Showcases (parents/guardians of senior art students only, please)

2:00 PM  Dance, Hess Aud
3:00 PM Music, Concert Hall
4:00 PM Theatre Outdoor Stage

6:30 PM

Parents and Guardians Arrive for Head’s Welcome Dinner
Tennis Pavilion

7:00 PM

Head’s Welcome Dinner for seniors and parents/guardians
Tennis Pavilion

9:00 PM

Senior Class Meeting (a.k.a. “Senior Cry”)
Field House

Sunday, May 30

9:00 AM

Assigned staggered arrivals begin for Commencement guests

9:45 AM             

Processional begins

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Commencement
Main School Building lawn (rain location: Tennis Pavilion)
Speaker: Dr. William G. Kaelin, Jr. P’11,’14
Livestream will be available on this webpage on May 30

2:00 PM

All seniors depart campus

Travel Arrangements:

We ask families to make their travel/arrival plans to arrive on Saturday, May 29. Wednesday, May 19, was the last day for the parent/guardian Spring Term visits to campus, and the campus is closed to visitors until Saturday, May 29. Please make plans accordingly and please read and comply with the MA Travel Advisory.

 
Reserve Lodging:
Make room reservations as soon as possible. Seasoned Deerfield parents know that lodging in Deerfield and the surrounding area fills up early for the Memorial Day weekend. You’ll find plenty of choices in the area by searching for rooms in the 01342 zip code, or checking our Lodging Page.

What to Bring for the Weekend:

The attire for the weekend is semi-casual as outlined below:

  • Face mask: with the MA mask mandate being rescinded on May 29 and replaced by a new mask advisory, we ask all guests to follow that new guidance. Fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks, and guests who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to wear masks when they are unable to physically distance; 
  • Coat/tie, dress, or nice pants or skirt and top;
  • Recommended student attire for the Commencement ceremony: a face mask (when mingling after the ceremony, we ask all students to follow the CDC guidance and wear a mask when interacting with people from other households if they are not fully vaccinated. Extra masks will be on hand for those who do not bring their own.); a blue blazer, white shirt, khakis, and Class tie (can be ordered from Hitchcock House); or a white dress.

Please note: New England weather is famous for its unpredictability, and this year, the Commencement ceremony will be outdoors (not tented) with an on-campus contingency plan for rain. The average temperature range for May is between 69 F (high) and 45 F (low) (21 – 7 degree Celsius).

 
William G. Kaelin Jr., M.D.

COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER 2021

William Kaelin obtained undergraduate and M.D. degrees from Duke University and completed his internal medicine training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he served as chief medical resident.  He was a clinical fellow in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of David Livingston, during which time he was a McDonnell Scholar.  He is currently the Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.  A Nobel laureate, Dr. Kaelin received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Doctor Kaelin is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the American College of Physicians, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.  He recently served on the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, the AACR Board of Trustees, and the IOM National Cancer Policy Board. He has received numerous awards including the MSKCC Paul Marks Prize, the AACR Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Prize, a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, the Canada International Gairdner International Award, the ASCI Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award, the Scientific Grand Prix of the Foundation Lefoulon-Delalande and the Institute of France, the Albert Lasker Prize, the Helis Award, and the Massry Prize.

Doctor Kaelin was born in Jamaica, NY and grew up in Rockville Centre, NY until moving to Fairfield, CT when he was 13. He attended Roger Ludlowe High School (class of ’75) and graduated from Duke in 1979 and Duke Med 1983.  He is a proud father of two Deerfield alumni, Kathryn ’11 and Tripp ’14.

/ FAQ's /

Please remember that the last day for family visits was Wednesday, May 19. The campus is closed until Saturday, May 29, at 1:00 pm. For details and livestream links, please consult the “Closing Week Schedule” on the Bulletin

We will have staff and a professional photographer on hand to assist with photos between 1:30 – 5:00 pm on Saturday, May 29. Please feel free to come anytime, and we will make digital copies of photos available (at no cost) on Vidigami.

We encourage seniors to start packing up their rooms and load them into their families’ cars on Saturday afternoon to allow for an efficient departure on Sunday. In order to protect community health, family members will not be able to enter dorms at any point during Commencement Weekend. Families can load vehicles anytime between Saturday at 1:00 pm through Sunday departure at 2:00 pm. Seniors are expected to depart campus by 2:00 pm.

The Saturday Welcome Dinner will continue as planned with three people seated to a table (graduate and two guests). Doors will open at 6:30 pm and rather than a timed arrival, guests may arrive anytime between 6:30 and 7:00 pm, when Dr. Austin will formally welcome parents to campus in a short program. To kick off an evening focused on gratitude, we look forward to this opportunity to welcome parents to campus and begin celebrating the Great Class of 2021. The program will be brief and there will be a mix of live and recorded music playing as parents share a meal with their senior. We will wrap up with a special slideshow before seniors depart for the “Senior Cry.” 

We consulted with Environmental Health and Engineering in the design of this dinner to allow for a meaningful and fun night that is comfortable for all, and ask all guests to follow the MA Mask Advisory that will come into effect on May 29. Fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks, and guests who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to wear masks when they are unable to physically distance from people outside their household.

With the MA mask mandate being rescinded on May 29 and replaced by a new mask advisory, we ask all guests to follow that new guidance. Fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks, and guests who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to wear masks when they are unable to physically distance. 

Given the easing of state regulations on capacity limits, we can now accommodate requests for additional guest spots above the previous limit of six guests per graduate that was set earlier this year by the state. All guests for each student will be seated in the same designated area with the rest of their friends and family. Please email events@deerfield.edu to request additional guests by Monday, May 24 at 8 am.

Per MA guidance for schools, students will not be required to wear masks during the processional or the ceremony. Seniors will be sitting three feet apart from each other during the ceremony, and students in grades 9 – 11 will be sitting with their squads. When mingling after the ceremony, we ask all students to follow the CDC guidance and wear a mask when interacting with people from other households if they are not fully vaccinated. Extra masks will be on hand for those who do not bring their own. Seniors and faculty will be seated three feet apart during the ceremony.

Yes! The Academy will provide a boxed “to-go” lunch after the Commencement ceremony for students and guests. We ask all seniors and guests to depart campus by 2:00 pm on Sunday.

Yes! Students are welcome to be unmasked while walking across the stage, shaking hands with Dr. Austin, and having a professional photo taken. Dr. Austin and all those who will be seated on the stage are fully vaccinated.

The attire for the weekend is semi-casual. Coat and tie, dress or nice pants or skirt and top are recommended for guests. Student attire for the Commencement ceremony includes a face mask, blue blazer, white shirt, khakis and Class tie or a white dress. In addition, please plan to bring a face mask to the ceremony (face masks will also be available on site). As our students know, New England weather is famously unpredictable. The ceremony will be outdoors (not tented) with an on-campus contingency plan for rain. Please check the forecast the morning of May 30.

Yes. All Deerfield students and siblings who attend the Academy will attend the Commencement ceremony. There will be separate seating for current students who will be seated by “squad,” unless your graduate has a sibling at Deerfield who you wanted to include in your household seating; please email events@deerfield.edu if you did not indicate this on the online registration form.

Deerfield employees are also welcome to attend. Seating will be available in a special employee seating area.

All friends and family will be able to watch the ceremony by livestream. Please tune in at 9:45 am ET for the processional; the invocation will begin at 10:00 am ET. The livestream link will be posted on the Commencement webpage

The on-campus ceremony is wheelchair accessible and we provide ASL interpreters on-site. Please email events@deerfield.edu to inform us if your guest needs assistance. The livestream will have a English “closed caption” option. Unfortunately, it is not broadcasted in other languages.

Yes! It will be available on the Commencement webpage during the week following Commencement (between June 1 – June 4, 2021).

We expect the ceremony to be slightly longer this year. Due to the social distancing of the processional, we will start at 9:45 am ET for the processional; the invocation will begin at 10:00 am ET. The duration will be approximately two hours with an estimated end time at 12 pm ET.

We are working on assigning seating and preparing timed arrivals based on guest counts and any special needs of guests. We will email your party’s arrival time and seating location on Friday, May 28, to the person who submitted your graduate’s RSVP.

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2021 Baccalaureate

In case you missed it:

Commencement 2020

Deerfield Academy celebrated the Commencement of the Class of 2020 on Sunday, August 9, 2020 at 10 am EDT through a special virtual event on Vimeo and YouTube. Our virtual celebration provided an opportunity to mark this important milestone in the lives of the graduating class with their families, friends and the entire school community.

Please enjoy the replay via Vimeo; Chinese, French, Korean, or Spanish subtitles or English Closed Captions are available.

Click on the links for the Commencement Program and Awards Program* PDFs.

*All awards listed except the Deerfield Cup and the Robert B. Crow Award which was announced during Commencement.

Processional
Mr. Eric Goodchild, Bagpiper

Invocation
Dr. Daniel Houston, Interim Dean of Spiritual and Ethical Life

Welcome from President of the Board of Trustees
Mr. Brian Simmons P’12, ’14

Welcome and Remarks from Head of School
Dr. John P.N. Austin

Senior Addresses
Kareena Bhakta and Nicholas James Fluty

Presentation of Commencement Prizes
The Deerfield Cup
The Robert Crow Award

Introduction of the Keynote Speaker
Ms. Amie Creagh, Assistant Head of School for Student Life

Keynote Address
Hannah Pittard ’97
Novelist and Professor, University of Kentucky

Remarks from President of the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association
Vanessa Lavely ’00

Presentation of the Class of 2020
Dr. Ivory Hills, Dean of Studies

Deerfield Evensong
Words by Richard Warren Hatch, Music by Ralph Herrick Oatley

Benediction
Dr. Daniel Houston, Interim Dean of Spiritual and Ethical Life

Please find transcripts of the speeches below:

Welcome from President of the Board of Trustees
Mr. Brian Simmons P’12, ’14
Welcome and Remarks from Head of School
Dr. John P.N. Austin
Senior Addresses
Kareena Bhakta and Nicholas James Fluty
Keynote Address: Hannah Pittard ’97
Novelist and Professor, University of Kentucky
  • I didn’t get my diploma (or my diploma arrived damaged). Who do I contact?
    If your diploma did not arrive or you need a replacement, please contact the Manager of Student Information Systems, Erin Donnally Drake (edonnallydrake@deerfield.edu). 
  • How can family and friends watch the ceremony?
    The ceremony is available on Vimeo.
  • Will the ceremony be accessible or simulcast in other languages?
    Closed captions and subtitled translations of the ceremony are available on Vimeo. Viewers can select their language preference on that page: Chinese, French, Korean, or Spanish subtitles or English Closed Captions.
  • How will seniors learn about Latin honors, academic awards and other distinctions?
    The 2020 Commencement Program and Awards Program lists this information excluding the Deerfield Cup and Robert B. Crow Award which was announced during the Commencement broadcast. An electronic version of these programs can be found above.
  • Will the ceremony be available for later viewing?
    Yes, it is be available on both Vimeo and YouTube.