May Day and Commencement


May Day

May Day/Commencement calendar

Bluffton University will celebrate its annual May Day weekend of festivities
May 3-5.
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 nine or four and the class of 2018 will celebrate reunions.

The events begin on Friday, May 3, 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 p.m., members of the class of ’69 can attend a reception and dinner in Marbeck Center while the class of ’79 can attend a reception and dinner in Sommer Center at 4:30 p.m. Reservations can be made at Tickets for either reception/dinner are $20 each.

The first performance of the May Day Musical, “Guys and Dolls” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Founders Hall. A performance will also take place on Saturday, May 4, at the same time and place. Tickets are available for purchase at and are $15 for reserved seating and $5 for bleacher seating.  

Saturday features a full slate of events. Bluffton University’s annual May Day 5k/Walk will start the day. 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. at Salzman Stadium with the race beginning at 8 a.m. Participants can register at The cost, which includes a t-shirt, is $20 for the 5k run and $10 for the walk.

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.

A lunch for graduates, alumni, family and friends will be held in The Commons of Marbeck Center from 11:30 to 1 p.m. Lunch tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children 10 and younger. They may be purchased at the door or reserved at

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 2019 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. A reception for alumni, graduates and families will follow. 

Graduation day, Sunday, May 5, will feature Baccalaureate at 10:30 a.m. in Founders Hall. The religious service will include speeches from Dr. Martina Cucchiara, associate professor of history, and graduates, Mark Willis and Hannah Conklin, who were selected by faculty recommendation.

Bluffton’s 119th Commencement will take place at 2 p.m. in Sommer Center with State Representative Riordan McClain providing the Commencement address.


Friday, May 3

  • Juried Student Art Exhibit in Sauder Visual Arts Center. Hours in the Grace Albrecht Gallery are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Class of ’69 reception and dinner, 4 p.m., Marbeck Center
  • Class of ’79 reception and dinner, 4:30 p.m., Sommer Center
  • May Day musical, “Guys and Dolls,” at 7:30 p.m. in Founders Hall. Tickets, $15 for reserved seats, $5 for bleacher seating and free for Bluffton students, are available online at; for assistance with tickets, call the box office at 419-358-3239.


Saturday, May 4

  • May Day 5k Run/Walk, 8 a.m. start, Salzman Stadium. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Visit to register in advance.
  • Guided Campus Tours, leave every 30 minutes from the Kiva in Marbeck Center, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Cross country and track reception, 9 a.m., Sommer Center
  • Alumni Choir sing/student honors recital, 9:30 a.m., Yoder Recital Hall
  • Music department reception, 10:30-11:15, Moisman Hall
  • Lunch for graduates, alumni, families and friends, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Commons, Marbeck Center
  • May Day Ceremony, 1:30 p.m., Centennial Hall lawn
  • Class of 2019 reception, 1:30 p.m., Centennial Hall lawn
  • Ultimate Frisbee, 2:30 p.m., Alumni Field
  • Science and mathematics reception for alumni and graduates/families, 2:30-4 p.m., Shoker Science Center
  • Pi Delta Society banquet, 5:30 p.m., The Commons in Marbeck Center. This event is for Pi Delta members and their guests. Reservations are required at
  • May Day Musical, “Guys and Dolls,” 7:30 p.m., Yoder Recital Hall;


Sunday, May 5

  • Baccalaureate, 10:30 a.m., Founders Hall, Dr. Martina Cucchiara, associate professor of history, will give the baccalaureate address
  • Lunch buffet, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Commons in Marbeck Center; $15 for adults, $8 children 10 and younger
  • Commencement, 2 p.m., Sommer Center, State Representative Riordan McClain will give the Commencement address


- Aubrey Bartel, public relations student assistant