May Day and Commencement


May Day/Commencement calendar

BLUFFTON, OHIO—Bluffton University will celebrate its annual May Day weekend of festivities May 5-7. The traditional end-of-the-academic-year celebration intertwines the past by hosting alumni reunions, the present by honoring this year's graduates and the future with first-year students performing the traditional Maypole dance. Classes ending in a 7 or 2, and the class of 2016, will celebrate reunions.

The events begin on Friday, May 5, with the Juried Student Art Exhibition in Sauder Visual Arts Center. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., members of the class of ’67 and ’77 can attend a reception and dinner. Marbeck Center will host the class of ’67 while Sommer Center will be open for the class of ’77.

The first performance of the May Day Musical, “Sondheim on Sondheim” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Yoder Recital Hall. A performance will also take place on Saturday, May 7, at the same time and place.

Saturday features a full slate of events. Bluffton University’s annual May Day Run/Walk will start the day. The four-mile race is sponsored by the Bluffton University Alumni Association with support from Bluffton Hospital. Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age/gender bracket. Trophies will be awarded to fastest male and fastest female. Check-in starts at 7 a.m. in the Sommer Center with the race beginning at 8 a.m.

At 9:30 a.m., alumni are invited to Yoder Recital Hall to revive their musical energies and share their talent with current students during the Alumni Choir sing, which is followed by a reception. The Alumni Choir will also gather to sing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” to close the May Day ceremony.

The end of the academic year, the beginning of a new chapter for graduates and the remembrance of times past will be celebrated during the 2017 May Day Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on the Centennial Hall lawn. The event includes the colorful Maypole dance performed by first-year students, crowning of the queen and king and recognition of graduating seniors.

Graduation day, Sunday, May 7, will feature a 10:30 a.m. Baccalaureate in Founders Hall. The religious service will include presentations from graduates, Britnie Loch and Daniel Piero, who were selected by faculty recommendation.

Bluffton’s 117th Commencement will take place at 2 p.m. in Sommer Center with Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman, president of Eastern Mennonite University providing the commencement address.


  • JURIED STUDENT ART EXHIBIT in Sauder Visual Arts Center. Hours in the Grace Albrecht Gallery are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
  • CLASS OF ’67 RECEPTION, 4:30 p.m., Marbeck Center
  • CLASS OF ’77 RECEPTION, 4:30 p.m., Sommer Center
  • MAY DAY MUSICAL, a production of “Sondheim on Sondheim,” the musical revue, at 7:30 p.m. each evening in Yoder Recital Hall. Tickets, $15 for reserved seats and $5 for open seats, are available online at; for assistance with tickets, call the box office at 419-358-3239.


  • MAY DAY RUN/WALK, 8 a.m. start, Sommer Center. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Visit for registration information.
  • GUIDED CAMPUS TOURS leave every 20 minutes from the Kiva in Marbeck Center, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • LINCOLN HALL MEMENTOS will be for sale on the Lincoln Hall lawn from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • ALUMNI CHOIR SING, 9:30 a.m., Yoder Recital Hall
  • STUDENT HONORS RECITAL, 10:45 a.m., Yoder Recital Hall
  • CLASS REUNIONS and May Day lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch will be a buffet in The Commons, Marbeck Center, for alumni through 1999, their families and friends, and a picnic lunch in Burcky Gym for alumni from 2000-16, their families and friends, plus 2017 graduates, their families and current students. Tickets are required; purchase online, at, or at the door.
  • MAY DAY CEREMONY, 1:30 p.m., Centennial Hall lawn
  • CLASS OF 2017 RECEPTION, 2:30 p.m., Centennial Hall lawn
  • RETIREMENT OPEN HOUSE for Dr. Sally Weaver Sommer, vice president and dean of academic affairs 2:30-4 p.m., Musselman Library
  • PI DELTA SOCIETY BANQUET, 5:30 p.m., The Commons in Marbeck Center
  • MAY DAY MUSICAL, “Sondheim on Sondheim,” 7:30 p.m., Yoder Recital Hal


  • BACCALAUREATE, 10:30 a.m., Founders Hall, Dr. Gary Schiefer, assistant professor of business, will give the baccalaureate address.
  • LUNCH BUFFET, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Commons in Marbeck Center
  • COMMENCEMENT, 2 p.m., Sommer Center, Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman, president of Eastern Mennonite University, will give the graduation address.


- Claire Clay, public relations student assistant