Commencement 2018




Please find below helpful general information about the Sarah Lawrence College Graduate and Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies. If you have any questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact the Office of College Events at 914.395.2412 or

Remember: Graduation and Commencement are separate events. All students must complete their graduation application in order to graduate. Please contact the Registrar’s Office for information about submitting graduation forms.

Students who graduated September 2017, fall semester 2017, and students who are candidates for graduation at the end of spring semester 2018 are able to participate in the Spring Commencement Ceremonies.

Graduate Commencement Ceremony: Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Graduate Commencement Ceremony takes place Thursday, May 17, under a tent (rain or shine) on Westlands South Lawn. The ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. and will last approximately 1 ½ hours. A light reception on the North Lawn follows the ceremony. The tent will open for seating one hour prior to the ceremony. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note: This is a ticketed event. Tickets are required for entry.

Graduate Commencement Ceremony Speaker

Kyes Stevens MA ’99, MFA ’00

Kyes Stevens MA ’99, MFA ’00 is the founder and director of the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project at Auburn University, a program that serves 10 of the 15 major prisons in Alabama through pre-college and college classes. In 2016, through this program, the first Bachelor of Science degree for the Alabama prison system was launched. Stevens worked with colleagues across the country to build the foundation for the National Alliance for Higher Education in Prison and has also been involved in the development of a national organization to support artists who teach in corrections. In addition, with colleagues from around the country, Stevens met several times with members of the Obama administration at the White House to discuss the role of higher education in criminal justice reform. Stevens earned her MA in Women’s History and MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a poet who was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Justice to teach poetry at the Talladega Federal Prison in 2001 and built APAEP from that experience. She has completed eight residencies at the Lillian E. Smith Center for Creative Arts in Clayton, GA and was a co-recipient of the first Lillian E. Smith Writer in Service award. She received the Auburn University Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2012 and an Auburn University Women of Distinction Award in 2010. She was the 2014 Alabama State Council on the Arts Literary Arts Fellowship recipient and, in 2016, was recognized as an Woman Who Shapes the State. She was also selected as a 2016 Southerner of the Year by Southern Living.

Kyes Stevens is from Waverly, Alabama, where she resides with her partner, clarinetist and professor Lisa Oberlander (Columbus, GA). In addition to serving on her town council and working for the volunteer fire department in the past, Stevens is dedicated to animal rescue, and shares her home/land with a whole slew of rescue animals, including dogs, cats, chickens, and a donkey.

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony Friday, May 18, 2018

The 90th Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will be held Friday, May 18, under a tent (rain or shine) on Westlands South Lawn. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and generally lasts two hours. The Deans’ reception on the North Lawn follows the ceremony. Please note: This is a ticketed event. Tickets are required for entry.

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony Speaker

Darren Walker

Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grant making. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and is co-founder and chair of the US Impact Investing Alliance.

Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs including the Rebuild New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1990s, as COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation—Harlem’s largest community development organization—he oversaw a comprehensive revitalization strategy, including building over 1,000 units of affordable housing and the first major commercial development in Harlem since the 1960s. Earlier, he had a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS.

Darren co-chairs New York City’s Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and serves on the Commission on the Future of Riker’s Island Correctional Institution and the UN International Labor Organization Commission on the Future of Work. He also serves on the boards of Carnegie Hall, the High Line and the Committee to Protect Journalists. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of thirteen honorary degrees and university awards, including the DuBois Medal from Harvard University.

Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first class of Head Start in 1965 and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, which in 2009 recognized him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award—its highest alumni honor. He has been included on numerous annual media lists, including TIME’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the World, Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative People, and OUT Magazine’s Power 100.

A Note on Undergraduate Commencement Seating

Space at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony is very limited: we can accommodate four guests for each undergraduate and each undergraduate will receive only four tickets. The ticket is required for admittance to the ceremony. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and begins at 8:30 a.m.  Undergraduates will be notified when tickets are available for pick up in the Office of College Events. This is usually in late April. Lost or misplaced tickets cannot be replaced.

Additional Information

Seating Accommodations

Sarah Lawrence College works to ensure that appropriate accommodations and services are provided for students and their guests at the commencement ceremonies in accordance with The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you anticipate needing accommodations for a ticketed guest, please request seating through College Events at by May 1, 2018. In your request, kindly include which ceremony, the graduate’s name, the guest’s name, and the person who will be escorting or staying with the guest in the special seating area. (The escort must be a ticketed guest.) Guests must be pre-registered for special seating as limited space is available. Sign language interpreters may be arranged by advance request, based on availability. If you are of need of this service, please send an e-mail to by April 2, 2018.

Parking on Campus

On both Commencement Days, you may park in any Sarah Lawrence parking lot. College Security will direct you to the open parking areas when you arrive on the campus. Once all lots are full, there will be a designated overflow parking area at the Cross County Mall & shuttle service to/from the Sarah Lawrence campus. Please note that parking on any side street or Kimball Avenue may result in a ticket from the City of Yonkers.

There will be shuttle service to/from the Metro-North Bronxville station before and after each ceremony.

Live Broadcasts

Live broadcasts of the Commencement ceremonies will be available in Reisinger Auditorium. This open, general seating will be available after the processional has entered the tent: 2:35 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 for the Graduate Ceremony and 10:05 a.m. on Friday, May 18 for the Undergraduate Ceremony.

Both Commencement ceremonies will also be broadcast live online; join us virtually at


Because we know how important this day is to students and their families, the College has arranged for a professional photographer to take a video of each ceremony as well as two photos of every student. The first picture is taken as the student receives their diploma case from the president, and the second after the student has exited the stage, diploma case in hand. Graduate students will also be photographed as they receive their hood. These pictures and the video will be available for purchase a few weeks after Commencement; an order form for the video and one for the still photographs will each be mailed to the student’s home address. We hope this will enable families to sit comfortably in their seats with the reassurance that they will have a professionally produced photographic recording of this very special moment. Those who feel they must take a photograph with their own camera should be considerate of those around them and make note of our guidelines:

  • Parents and guests should not stand up in their row, as this will block the view of those seated behind them
  • Please do not block or stand in the aisles.

Commencement Week Activities/Residence Hall Closings

Traditionally, Commencement week is a wonderful opportunity for graduates to relax and spend time with their fellow graduates and faculty at events like the Senior Lecture and the Senior/Don Dinner. Seniors are welcome to remain in their residence halls during this week, but students must vacate their rooms before 8 p.m. on Friday, May 18. There can be no exceptions. Residence halls close on Sunday, May 13 at 5 p.m. for students who are not graduating.

Cap & Gown

Cap and gown are provided to the graduates complimentary for the ceremony. Measurements must be given to College Events by March 9. An e-mail will be sent to graduates in mid-February requesting this information. Regalia is for the students to keep and includes a cap and tassel. Graduate students receive the degree hood at the Commencement ceremony, and is the student’s to keep.

Video Information

Each ceremony will be videotaped and, when available, the video will be posted on the Sarah Lawrence College website.

Flowers & Graduation Gifts

The Sarah Lawrence College Bookstore has class rings and other graduation items for sale. In addition, flowers will be available for purchase on Commencement Day. Please visit to shop the wide-selection of graduation items available.

Ordering Graduation Announcements

Graduation announcements are available from Jostens. Order announcements online or by calling 800.854.7464.

Lodging & Restaurants

Several nearby hotels and restaurants offer discounted rates or specials for Sarah Lawrence College friends and family. Ask for the "Sarah Lawrence College rate" when booking or making a reservation. A list of area hotels and restaurants is available here.