FAQs for Graduate Students - SUNY Cortland

FAQs for Graduate Students

Participation Information

Who may participate?

Commencement is not synonymous with graduation or degree conferral. Students must complete all requirements for the degree to have the degree officially conferred.  Because the May ceremonies will honor students who complete their degree requirements in May, Aug. and Dec, it is possible to still have a degree in process while participating in the ceremony.

In order to walk in the May ceremony graduate students must have completed 18 credits. Students who completed their degree requirements in the previous December, may also participate if they officially petitioned. The Commencement ceremonies are held only in the Spring (May).

Students must officially apply to graduate using myRedDragon. Additional materials may be required. A member of the Registrar's Office will contact you if necessary. The Registrar's Office is located in Miller Building, Room 223. The phone number is 607-753-4702.

How do I apply for my degree and indicate my intentions to participate in the ceremony?

Students should  apply to graduate using myRedDragon by March 1, 2016 to have their name appear in the Commencement program..

Once at myRedDragon, do the following:
1. Type in ID and password
2. Select “Student” tab and go to the Registrar Student Channel area
3. Select “Degree Conferral and Commencement”
4. Select “Apply for Degree Conferral”

In order to select your commencement ceremony beginning March 22, 2017 at 8 a.m., please complete the following steps:

  1. Log into myRedDragon
  2. Select the Student Tab at the top
  3. Under the Commencement 2076 Channel, select Commencement Tickets (first option)
  4. Select your Ceremony

I missed the filing deadline to register for Commencement. What can I do about it?

Applicants who file their completed Application for Graduation Master Degree and Certificate of Advanced Study form on Banner Web after March 1, must access myRedDragon, apply to graduate and proceed to the College Store to purchase Commencement items (or purchase online and then pick up at the College Store). Students who miss the March 1 deadline may not have their name appear in the Commencement program.

Ceremony Information

When and where is the ceremony held?

The Graduate Commencement ceremony will be held on Friday, May 12, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Park Center, Alumni Arena. The Arena doors will open at 6 p.m. for guests. No Tickets are needed for GUESTS. Students should report at 6 p.m. to the Park Center, Corey Gymnasium to check-in with STUDENT LINE UP TICKET and assemble by program.

Is there a rehearsal for the Graduate Commencement ceremony?

NO, there is no rehearsal. Students should report at 6 p.m. to check-in for the ceremony. You will receive instructions on the hooding process while assembling by program. You can also view the hooding instructions prior to the ceremony. 

How long will the ceremony last?

The procession will begin promptly at 7 p.m. The length of the ceremony is approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

How will the degrees be conferred?

When lining up in Park Center, Corey Gymnasium, each student will receive a 3" x 5" card with his/her first and last name. When the graduate reaches the base of the platform, he/she will hand the card to the faculty member, who will read the name.
If you have a name that might be difficult to pronounce, please write your name phonetically when you check-in and give the reader the correct pronunciation just before your name is read. In addition, a faculty member from the designated program and a Graduate Studies Office Administrator will hood graduates on the stage as part of the ceremony. Graduates will receive instructions on the hooding process immediately prior to the ceremony. Graduates may also view the hooding instructions online.

Will faculty be there?

Each department is encouraged to have as many faculty members participate as possible. In the past, approximately 50 percent have attended. You can invite faculty or staff members to attend the ceremony in which you are participating.

What should I wear with my cap and gown?

Commencement is a formal ceremony, so dress accordingly. The general rule is light weight, non-restricting clothes. Men do not have to wear jackets, but should wear a shirt and tie. You are requested not to wear shorts, overalls, sandals or sneakers. Mortarboard (cap) tassels should be worn on the left side throughout the ceremony.

Students who cannot pick up their own package may send someone to the College Store with a letter authorizing that person to get their Commencement materials. The letter must contain the graduate's signature and Cortland ID number, and the person picking up the materials must produce a photo ID before the items are released.
Students unable to pick up their Commencement package prior to the ceremony should contact the College Store to place the order on hold. The College Store offers extended business hours to accommodate students who need to get their package the day of the ceremony. Please see the College Store hours listed below.

College Store Hours

Monday: 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Thursday: 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Phone: 607-753-4621
Fax: 607-753-5734
E-Mail: collegestore@cortland.edu

General Information


An ambulance will be stationed in the northwest parking lot of the Park Center, near the overhead door to Alumni Arena.

Emergency Exits

In case of an emergency, flag a marshal, student usher or a university police officer and proceed to the nearest exit in an orderly manner.

Flowers and Commencement-Related Gifts

Flowers and Commencement-related items will be available for purchase on the second floor of the Park Center outside Corey Gymnasium prior to and during the ceremony. Flower arrangements include bouquets of half dozen and full dozen roses, as well as open presentation. A wide variety of commencement gifts including diploma frames will be available as well. The College Store, located in Neubig Hall, will also be open for additional purchases.

Guest Assistance

Faculty and staff marshals, student ushers and university police officers are available at all times for assistance and information. Faculty and staff marshals will be wearing Commencement regalia, the student ushers will be in polo shirts and khaki pants, and University Police officers will be in full uniform.

Students with family members with mobility impairments and hearing impairments should arrange seating by filling out the online registration form which will be available the week of February 1, 2017 (a link will be posted here).

Lost and Found

For lost and found items, contact the University Police Department, Van Hoesen Hall, Room C-17, 607-753-4123.


Official Commencement programs will be distributed at the entrances to the Park Center Alumni Arena. All eligible graduates who apply for their degree by March 1, 2017  will have their name listed in the program.


Restrooms are located on all levels of the Park Center Alumni Arena and signs will mark their locations.


Effective January 1, 2013, SUNY Cortland became a Tobacco Free Campus. Smoking is NOT permitted anywhere inside campus buildings or on campus grounds.


Emergency phones are located throughout the entire campus and are identified by blue lights above the phones. University police are equipped for emergency communication as well.