FAQs for Graduate Guests - SUNY Cortland

FAQs for Graduate Guests

Participation and Ceremony 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.

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. Students should report at 6 p.m. to the Park Center, Corey Gymnasium to check-in and assemble by program.

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.

Guest 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. Diploma frames and other Commencement gift items 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 that will be available the week of February 1, 2017.

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 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. Guests are reminded to turn off all cell phones during the ceremony.