2019 Mills College Commencement
Saturday, May 18, 2019
9:45 am–12:00 pm
We are excited to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of 506 undergraduate and graduate students at Commencement. We know that there are a lot of differing reports on the weather for this Saturday, May 18, so we wanted to give you an update on our planning and how we want to support our graduating students and their guests for a wonderful Commencement for the Class of 2019.
For colleges and universities with outdoor venues, rain on Commencement is difficult to manage. At present, rain is in the forecast for this week and possibly for part of Saturday. We know that the microclimates in the Bay Area often lead to the weather event happening in one area and not another, so we cannot predict if the weather forecast is accurate, or not, specifically for Oakland.
Traditionally, we have 4,000 people in attendance for the Mills Commencement ceremonies and do not limit the number of guests that a graduating student can invite. Given the size of the crowd and the capacity of our buildings, this limits our possible options for a rain plan. As an example, our largest facility, Littlefield Concert Hall, has a maximum capacity of 477 seats. Tents to cover the entirety of Holmgren Meadow are not logistically possible and are unavailable at this late date.
Our current plans are to continue with Commencement outdoors on Holmgren Meadow. We ask that you and your guests come prepared with appropriate footwear, rain ponchos or raincoats, and umbrellas. We will have several thousand large, clear, plastic rain shields to distribute, in the event they are needed. Please note that we would only make substantial changes, like moving the ceremonies indoors, in the event of dangerous conditions because that would be a safety issue and also limit this event to only graduating students in the space.
The following services will be provided for those who do not want to remain outdoors:
We will do our best to ensure the safety, well being, and morale of all of our graduating students and their guests. Should there be a significant or serious change in the weather that does not allow us to remain outdoors, we will communicate any needed instructions during the ceremony. As of current forecasts, we do not think this will be necessary.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation. We look forward to a celebratory event.
The 131st Commencement at Mills College will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019. With this ceremony the College recognizes the achievements of its students and confers upon them the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a Mills degree. The dignity and customs of this historic ceremony are rooted in medieval times, when colleges and universities developed methods and standards for marking progress in knowledge and professionalism.
In keeping with this tradition, the Mills Commencement ceremony will begin on Holmgren Meadow promptly at 9:45 am and end at approximately 12:00 pm, with an academic procession of Mills graduating students, alumnae, faculty, trustees, college officers, and honored guests. The program will include remarks by President Elizabeth L. Hillman, the Commencement address, student speakers, and the conferring of degrees.
The traditional farewell reception for graduating students, alumnae, faculty, and guests, held on the Moore Natural Sciences Building lawn, will follow the Commencement ceremony.
A DVD of the 2019 Commencement ceremony will be available for purchase.
Mills is proud to welcome Congresswoman Lauren Underwood as this year's Commencement speaker. Representing Illinois' 14th Congressional District, Underwood is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first millennial to represent her community in Congress. She is also the youngest African American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives.
Underwood is a registered nurse who began her career in public service at the US Department of Health and Human Services where she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act. In 2014, as an Obama administration appointee, she worked on public health emergencies and disasters like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Congresswoman Underwood now serves on a variety of congressional committees including the Future Forum, a group of young Democratic Members of Congress committed to listening to and standing up for the next generation of Americans, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the LGBT Equality Caucus. As a strong supporter of addressing the gun violence epidemic, Congresswoman Underwood is a member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce.
Mills alumna Congresswoman Barbara Lee '73 will introduce Congresswoman Underwood at the Commencement ceremony.
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