Area Accommodations

Many of the colleges in the Hudson Valley share their commencement weekend with Vassar. This means demand for local hotel accommodations will be high. Please see the Lodging page on our Visit site for more information and updates.

Restaurant Reservations

As stated above, demand at local eateries will be high. Please make reservations as early as possible. For a list of area restaurants please see the Dining page on our Visit site. For on campus dining options please visit


Automobile access to Main campus is prohibited from 11:00 p.m. Saturday through Commencement Day at 3:00 p.m. All guests must park at the Vassar College Farm and Ecological Preserve at 50 Vassar Farm Lane, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604. Shuttle buses will run continuously Sunday morning from the Farm and South Lot to the Commencement site. Return Shuttles will operate from the end of the ceremony until 3 p.m.

The campus will re-open to vehicular traffic at approximately 3:00 p.m.


Vehicle Access

During the registration process, guests will request accommodations due to mobility needs. Campus Activities will work with each guest individually. In most cases a “pass” will be issued to gain vehicular access to campus for drop off and then directed to Commencement parking. Guests will be met by Commencement staff and driven, via golf cart, to Commencement Hill.

Accessible Seating

For those who are not able to navigate the sloped nature of the Outdoor Amphitheater, a limited number of seats at the top of Commencement Hill are reserved in advance (with prior approval) by Campus Activities. Due to the limited seating, accommodated individuals will be permitted to have one support person accompany them. There are also options to watch the ceremony in accessible indoor locations.

Climate Controlled Spaces

Martel Theater in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film & Spitzer Auditorium in the Sanders Classroom Building are designated indoor locations for live-stream of the ceremony, with closed captioning. Both The Martel Theater and Spitzer Auditorium are accessible and are air conditioned. Accessible restrooms are located near these viewing locations.

Ceremonial Etiquette

While recognizing that Commencement is truly a celebration for graduates as well as a formal academic ceremony, the following guidelines will help ensure a positive, respectful experience for graduates and their guests:

  • Please do not arrive any earlier than 8:00 a.m.
  • Seating at Commencement is available on a first come, first serve basis. Having a ticket for Commencement does not guarantee a seat. We ask that all members of your party arrive and sit at the same time. Reserving seats is not permitted as it makes it challenging for others to find available seating.
  • Aisles at the Outdoor Amphitheater must be free at all times for egress and fire code regulations. All guests must remain seated so as not to block the view of individuals behind them or disrupt the Commencement experience for others.
  • Please do not bring pets to the ceremony. (Pets elsewhere on campus should be leashed at all times.)
  • Objects such as signs, posters, flags, balloons, large floral bouquets, or other items that impede the sight lines and viewing experiences of your fellow guests are not permitted in any of the viewing locations.
  • In the event of rain, ponchos are preferred over umbrellas to not impede the sight line of guests. If umbrellas are used to block sun or rain, they must be lowered for the full duration of the ceremony.
  • The Outdoor Amphitheater is located in full sun with no opportunities for shade. Guests should bring water, sunscreen, visors, sunglasses, and/or hats to protect against sun exposure. For those unable to tolerate sun exposure, we recommend viewing Commencement from our climate-controlled, indoor viewing locations in the Martel Theater or Spitzer Auditorium.
  • To ensure everyone’s ability to hear speakers and the names of graduates as they are presented on stage, attendees and participants are asked to refrain from sustained loud, disruptive cheering; noise-making devices of any kind are not permitted.
  • Cell phones are welcome for photo and video purposes, but attendees and participants are asked to keep devices silenced, refrain from making or accepting calls during the ceremony, and blocking aisles to take pictures. Tripods are not permitted.
  • Bring a ton of positive energy for the day!


For directions to parking use the following address: 50 Vassar Farm Lane, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604. For general directions and travel methods to the main campus, see the Directions page on our Visit site.

Things to Do

See the Community page our Visit site.