3 graduates at Commencement one smiling for the camera
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Commencement Information

Commencement 2023

Bridgewater College’s Commencement Exercises will be held Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. under the tent on the Campus Mall. The Commencement schedule can be found below. For more detailed information, please visit the accompanying webpages. If you have any additional questions, please email commencement@bridgewater.edu.

Portrait of Robbie Miller

Commencement Speaker:
Rev. Dr. Robbie Miller ’79

College Chaplain

The Rev. Dr. Robbie Miller ’79 has overseen the College’s spiritual life program and provided support to members of the Bridgewater campus community for 33 years as College Chaplain.

The Rev. Dr. Robbie Miller ’79 has overseen the College’s spiritual life program and provided support to members of the Bridgewater campus community for 33 years as College Chaplain.

Miller, who plans to retire from the College as of June 2023, graduated from Bridgewater with his B.A. in philosophy and religion in 1979. He went on to earn his master of divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary in 1983 and his doctor of ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2006.

Before coming to Bridgewater College as Chaplain in 1990, Miller served as pastor at Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va., from 1983-1986, pastor at Richmond Mennonite Fellowship from 1987-1988 and campus pastor at Eastern Mennonite University from 1988-1990.

At Bridgewater College, Miller organized regular worship gatherings and various opportunities for study and service and helped found and advise several spiritual life clubs and organizations. In addition, he taught courses in religion, including a “Lands of the Bible” travel course to the Near East, and helped lead the College chapter of Habitat for Humanity’s Alternative Spring Break trip for 25 years.

In 2002, Miller introduced the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility to the College, a voluntary pledge in which a graduating senior promises to “explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”

The Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace recognized Miller in 2021 with the Living Peace Award, which is given to a member of the Church of the Brethren within the Shenandoah District who has contributed to making peace in their own time and who inspires others to embrace this calling in a similar fashion. He received the inaugural James O. and Sylvia Kline Bowman Peace and Justice Award on April 4 for his significant service in promoting the building of peace.

Miller, who lives in Bridgewater, Va., is married to Terri Gladwell Miller ’80, and has two children, Rebekah Miller Stovall ’12 and Stephen Miller ’15.


Baccalaureate Service

The Baccalaureate Service will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 28 in Cole Hall.


Commencement Exercises will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 on the Campus Mall.

Details about Commencement

Each graduate will receive four reserved-seating Commencement tickets for family and friends. Graduates will receive their tickets at the conclusion of Commencement rehearsal on Thursday, April 27, 2023.

Graduates may invite more than four guests to Commencement, although they will only receive four tickets for reserved-seating.

The four guests with reserved seating tickets will be seated in the reserved seating section under the tent on the Campus Mall; guests without tickets will be seated in the open seating area. There will also be two sections for handicapped seating. One section will be for reserved-seating ticket holders. The other section will be an open handicapped seating area.

In the event of inclement weather, only those guests with reserved-seating tickets will be seated under the tent on the Campus Mall. Other guests may watch the ceremony on screens located in the remote viewing locations. Tickets are not required for the Baccalaureate Service.

Guests will have the option to watch Commencement from our Remote Viewing Locations on campus. Additional information regarding these locations will be forthcoming.

Academic dress has its origins in the garments worn at medieval British universities, particularly Oxford. Although caps and gowns had been used in many American schools since Colonial time, it was not until about 1885 that their use became widespread at commencement ceremonies. Participants in academic ceremonies are expected to wear the academic regalia to which they are entitled by virtue of the degree they hold.

The Intercollegiate Code provides for bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s gown distinguished by the shape of the sleeves. The sleeves of doctor’s gowns also have three velvet chevrons. The color of the velvet trim may be black or the same color as the velvet that edges the hood. Caps worn with bachelor’s and master’s gowns usually have a black tassel. A doctor may wear a gold tassel.

In the United States, the hood is the most distinctive feature of academic attire. It is worn at the back, suspended near the shoulders. The length of the hood and width of its velvet border indicate the level of degree held. The bachelors wear a hood that is three feet long with a two-inch velvet border. The hood for the master’s degree is three and one-half feet long with a three-inch border. The doctor’s hood is four feet long and the border is five inches wide. The inner lining of the hood is the official color of colors of the institution conferring the degree, while the color of the border indicates the field of learning in which the degree was earned.

Graduates will be wearing cords that signify their level of achievement: gold for summa cum laude, silver for magna cum laude and red for cum laude.

  • Graduates of the John S. Flory Honors Program are wearing gold medallions and neck ribbons in the College colors. The Flory Honors Program celebrates curiosity, integration, independence and leadership inside and outside the classroom.
  • The Alpha Chi medallion symbolizes the honor and distinction of being a member of the national academic honor society. The supporting neck ribbon is in the colors of Alpha Chi.
  • The Omicron Delta Kappa cord symbolizes the honor and distinction of being a member of the national leadership honor society.
  • The Student Government cord of royal blue represents the honor and distinction of being a past or current member of one of the College’s many branches of student government.
  • Psi Chi graduates represent outstanding academic achievement and membership in the international honor society in psychology and are wearing blue and silver honor cords, medallions or stoles.
  • Green and red honor cords signify membership in Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society.
  • Members of the communication studies honor society, Lambda Pi Eta, are wearing red and white cords.
  • Members of Alpha Mu Gamma, the foreign language academic honor society, are wearing double gold cords, which recognize academic excellence in language and culture studies.
  • Gold and forest green cords represent membership in Sigma Beta Delta, the international honor society for business, management and administration.
  • Graduates wearing blue and red cords with mixed tassels are members of the national history honor society, Phi Alpha Theta.
  • Members of the Philomathes Society of Bridgewater College wear maroon cords, representing their outstanding academic achievement, dedication to creative intellectual pursuits in the liberal arts and service to their community.
  • Graduates wearing red, black and white cords are members of the national political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha.
  • The Diversity Champion medallion recognizes and honors those students who have worked tirelessly for the advancement of diversity and inclusion during their time at Bridgewater College.
  • Gold cords represent membership in Pi Lamba Theta, the national honor society for education.
  • The Sigma Tau Delta red and black cords represent membership in the international English honor society, which fosters all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing.