FAQs for Undergraduate Guests - SUNY Cortland

FAQs for Undergraduate 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 2017, 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 and undergraduates must have completed at least 85 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).

When and where are the ceremonies?

All ceremonies are located in the Park Center Alumni Arena. Commencement takes place on Saturday, May 13. Graduates have their choice of attending either the morning, afternoon or evening ceremony:

  • Bachelor's Degree Ceremony 1: 9:30 a.m. (Saturday)
  • Bachelor’s Degree Ceremony 2: 2:30 a.m. (Saturday)
  • Bachelor’s Degree Ceremony 3: 7 p.m. (Saturday)

The doors will open one hour prior to each ceremony for guests.

  • Bachelor's Degree Ceremony 1: 8:30 a.m. (Saturday)
  • Bachelor’s Degree Ceremony 2: 1:30 a.m. (Saturday)
  • Bachelor’s Degree Ceremony 3: 6 p.m. (Saturday)

How long will the ceremony last?

The processions will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. The length of the ceremony is approximately two and half hours.

Guest Information

When and where can guests be seated for the ceremonies?

Seating begins at 8:30 a.m. for the morning ceremony, 1:30 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony and 6 p.m. for the night ceremony.  All guests MUST have a ticket. 

Please note, the tickets will be scanned at the entrance. If you attempt to re-use a ticket you will be placed in the overflow seating area. All seating with the exception of disability seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Overflow seating and webcast viewing are options available for guests without tickets.

Will refreshments be available for guests?

Light refreshments, flowers for graduates and gift merchandise will be sold at the concession. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed at Commencement.

Light refreshments are available at the receptions, which will be held:

  • Saturday, May 13, 2017; 2:30 p.m.

General Information


An ambulance will be stationed inside the Park Center 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 from 8:30 a.m.- 8:30 p.m outside of the Corey Gymnasium. Flower arrangements include bouquets of half dozen and full dozen roses, as well as open presentation. A wide variety of commencement related gifts including diploma frames will be available as well. The College Store, located in Neubig Hall, will also be open for additional purchases from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

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 or guests with a mobility impairment, hearing impairment and/or mobility impaired parking request need to arrange their needs by filling out the online registration form that will come out the week February 1, 2017 (A link will be posted here). If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the special events coordinator at 607-753-2377 or undergraduate.commencement@cortland.edu.

Note: Please submit all requests for accommodations by Friday, April 28, 2017 so that proper arrangements can be made.

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 throughout the Park Center Alumni Arena. 


SUNY Cortland is 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 and any other electronic devices during the ceremony.


In order to adhere to the Fire and Safety Code, every guest attending the Commencement ceremonies must have a guest ticket.  Each student will receive four (4) guest tickets.

Students will receive one student line-up ticket. They should not dispose of the student line-up ticket as they will need this ticket to participate in the Commencement ceremony.