Commencement Ceremony 2017

The 73rd Mitchell College Commencement Ceremony | May 13, 2017 Frequently Asked Questions
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Commencement Schedule

Friday, May 12 11:00 am
Commencement Rehearsal, College Green

Saturday, May 13 8:30 am
Class Photo, Duquès Center steps

Saturday, May 13 10:00 am
Commencement 2017, College Green

Commencement Speaker: Tatyana McFadden

Tatyana McFadden is considered the fastest woman in the world, with 17 Paralympic medals (including seven gold medals), 18 world major marathon wins including four consecutive Grand Slams (first place in Boston, Chicago, NYC and London marathons in the same year) and has broken five world records in track and field. In addition to her athletic achievements, her accomplishments include:

  • “30 Under 30” Class Of 2017 by Forbes magazine.
  • Best Female Athlete of the 2016 Paralympic Games, United States Olympic Committee
  • Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award, 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro for athlete who has performed at an outstanding level and overcome adversity and best exemplifies sportsmanship
  • ESPY Best Female Athlete with a Disability, 2016.
  • Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year, United States Olympic Committee, 2015
  • Wilma Rudolph Courage Award, Women’s Sports Foundation, 2015.
  • Juan Antonio Samaranch Disabled Athlete Award, International Olympic Committee, 2015.
  • Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, Laureus Foundation, 2015
  • Female Athlete of the Month, November 2013, March 2014, November 2014 and April 2015, United States Olympic Committee
  • Para-Athlete of the Year, USA Track and Field, 2014

There are very few athletes in history who have achieved so much under such unique circumstances. Born with spina bifida, Tatyana McFadden spent the first six years of her life in a Russian orphanage with virtually nothing, not even a wheelchair. Paralyzed from the waist down, and with no other way to move, she learned to walk on her hands simply to keep up with the other children. Little did she know that the powerful arms and hands she began to develop as a small child would someday carry her around the globe as one of the world’s greatest athletes.

In 1993, Deborah McFadden, then Commissioner of Disabilities for the U.S. Department of Health, came upon Tatyana while visiting her orphanage on an otherwise routine business trip. She felt a connection that they were meant to be together. Deborah adopted Tatyana, brought her to the United States and gave her both a wheelchair and a new start on life.

Adjusting to her new home was not easy. Her lack of nutrition and proper healthcare in the orphanage made her weak and sickly. She enrolled in various sports groups in hopes that it would build her strength. Tatyana tried every sport she could find; wheelchair basketball, swimming, ice hockey, and even scuba diving. From the start she fell in love with wheelchair racing—a sport in which her powerful arms immediately brought success. And so it began, Tatyana’s extraordinary life as an athlete.

In 2004, at the age of 15, Tatyana made her Paralympic debut in Athens. She was the youngest member of Team USA. She returned from Greece with her first two medals and a hunger to become the best. Two years later she won gold at the World Championships and set a new World Record in the 100-meter event.

At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, at the age of 19 and still in the infancy of her athletic career, she earned four more medals. In London, in 2012, she added another four medals including three gold. One year later, at the 2013 World Championships, she became the first athlete in history to win six gold medals at the same competition.

Currently, she holds 17 Paralympic medals (seven gold, seven silver, and three bronze, including one from the 2014 Winter Paralympics for cross-country skiing) and 17 World Track and Field Championship medals (twelve gold, one silver, and one bronze).

Tatyana challenged herself with the professional marathon circuit in 2009, coming in first place in the Chicago Marathon. In 2013 she became the first man or woman, able-bodied or disabled, to win the Grand Slam (four World Major Marathons in the same year). In 2014, 2015 and 2016 she repeated her wins of all four major marathons for an unprecedented four years in a row.

Tatyana is now pursuing her graduate degree in Education at University of Illinois, having finished her undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies there. When she isn’t racing or studying, she works encouraging all youth as a national advocate for healthy lifestyle through sports and nutrition and is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts.

She is also actively involved in advancing the rights of people with disabilities. McFadden’s efforts are credited for the passage of the Maryland Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act, requiring schools to give students with disabilities the opportunity to compete in interscholastic athletics, as well as federal legislation that ensures students with disabilities across the USA have equal access.

Tatyana regularly speaks about her experiences as a person with disability, an orphan and being an elite athlete. She has appeared on The Ellen Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Piers Morgan Live.

Learn more about Tatyana at

Winter Welcome Week: Library Game Night @ Library
Jan 19 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Winter Welcome Week: Library Game Night @ Library

Win prizes, eat pizza and play games! Bring your own or choose from the Library’s catalog and play your way to victory against your friends.

Winter Welcome Week: Up All Night Movie Marathon @ Student Center
Jan 20 @ 9:00 pm – Jan 21 @ 7:00 am
Winter Welcome Week: Up All Night Movie Marathon @ Student Center

Relax this weekend with an All Night Movie Marathon! Swing into the Student Center and watch a movie, or two, or three. Be sure to grab some food while you kick back– it’s themed for each movie!

9pm: Ratatouille & Paul’s Pasta
11pm: Toy Story & pizza
1am: Karate Kid & Chinese food
3am: Bridesmaids & cupcakes
5am: The Breakfast Club & waffles

National Drug Facts Week @ Milner Dining Hall
Jan 22 – Jan 27 all-day

Template -Health WellnessCheck out the napkin dispensers in the Milner Dining Hall to challenge your drug and alcohol IQ knowledge – turn the dispenser around to check your answer. Need to brush up on the facts? Feel free to browse the information table in the Dining Hall. Good Luck!

Add/Drop Ends
Jan 25 all-day

Template - Academics

The last day to register for Spring 2017 is the final day of Add/Drop, which is January 25. The Registrar’s office is located on the first floor of the Duquès Academic Success Center and is open during weekdays from 8:30am-5:00pm.


800-443-2811 Text questions to: 860-910-1052.

Student's Date of Birth

Photographs / Videos

Official Photographer: GradImages™ is the official photographer for Commencement. Their photographers will take individual photographs of students as they receive their diploma and exit the stage. Several days after graduation, students will receive proofs from Grad Images via email. Proofs can also be viewed online at You will have the option of choosing from several photo packages at very reasonable prices. However, there is no obligation to purchase. Pictures may be ordered online, by phone, or by mail. If you have any questions please contact GradImages Customer Service at 800-261-2576 or via email at Preregister with Grad Images — Graduates can pre-register their email or friends and family email addresses and will be contacted as soon as their photos are available for online viewing and ordering. Plus, when you preregister, you’ll save $5 off any order of $25 or more. Click here to preregister with GradImages.
Official taping of ceremony: Commencement is recorded, but DVDs are not available for purchase. The video will be available for viewing soon.

Hotel Accommodations

The following hotels in the New London area are holding blocks of rooms and/or offering special rates for Commencement weekend. Make your reservation early and directly with the hotel.

  • Hilton Garden Inn, Groton – 860-445-6800. Special Rate – mention Mitchell College Graduation when making your reservation before April 12.
  • Quality Inn, Mystic – 860-572-8531.  Special Rate – mention Mitchell College Graduation when making your reservation before April 12.
  • Days Inn, Niantic – 860-739-3951.  Special Rate – mention Mitchell College Graduation when making your reservation by April 11.


New London and the surrounding area are known for a wide range of dining options from fine dining to pubs and family restaurants. Find an extensive list of area restaurants and happenings at New London Main Street or Mystic Country.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long is the Commencement ceremony?

The ceremony is approximately 2 hours. Following the ceremony, faculty, staff and the Commencement speaker will be greeting guests on the Clarke Patio.


Where is it held?

The Commencement ceremony will be held on the College Green.

How do I request special accommodations?

To make arrangements for guests with special needs, please contact Antaya Lee, 860-701-5790 or


How many people may I invite to the Commencement ceremony?

While you may invite as many people as you like, each student will receive four (4) tickets for guaranteed seating area under the tent which can be accessed until 10:00 a.m. when the Commencement Procession begins. Any guests beyond the four ticket holders will be directed to the open seating area (no tickets needed) which is available on a first come/first serve basis. Guests may also bring their own lawn chairs or blankets for additional seating on the Green. Seats under the tent may not be saved prior to the arrival of the ticket holders. Please look for an usher in a red Mitchell polo for assistance or to answer questions on the day of the event.


Will the ceremony be streamed?

The 73rd Mitchell College Commencement Ceremony will be streamed live at on May 13, 2017 beginning at 10:00 am.

What about parking?

Parking is available in campus lots by Henry Hall on Pequot and at the corner of De Biasi and Montauk Avenue. Handicapped parking is available and shuttle service on golf carts is available on a limited basis. Speak to a security officer at the Montauk Avenue Main Campus Entrance.

How do I order a class ring?

The official Mitchell College class ring can be purchased (paid in full) online at


Is the College Bookstore open on Commencement Day?

The Bookstore  located in Yarnall Athletic Center will be open from 8am-2pm, and the Bookstore will also be selling Mitchell gear and keepsakes under a tent on the College Green before and after Commencement from 8:30am -1:30pm.

Where can I order customized gifts?

The Bookstore offers gifts and diploma frames. Graduates can order diploma frames and graduation announcements online at the Bookstore website.

A few words on fit.


"Fit” is the modern buzzword of the college search process. And frankly, rightly so. As you consider your college experience, we encourage you to look for a place that feels right. It’s also a good idea to make a list of the qualities and characteristics that make a college and you a winning combination.


If you are looking for a college that: 


  • Gets to know and understand each student as a uniquely talented individual

  • Identifies potential and encourages students in very intentional ways

  • Fosters growth in each student, giving them a foundation for life and career success

  • Is small enough to deliver on the promise of a personalized experience

  • Goes beyond “career services” and offers a progressive 4-year career development model, partnering with local businesses and nonprofits for professional experience

  • Promotes an inclusive culture that encourages students to experiment in new clubs and activities

  • Is nationally recognized for its academic support systems, from professional content tutors (not students) to proven comprehensive support for students with learning differences

  • Connects students to service opportunities that impact their world

  • Is in a location that offers access to New England’s natural places and some of America’s greatest cities




…Mitchell College delivers in a powerful way.

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