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FAQs for Undergraduate Guests

Participation and Ceremony Information

Who may participate?

The May ceremonies will honor students who complete their degree requirements in May, August and December 2014. Students who completed their degree requirements in December 2013 may also participate if they have disclosed their intent with the Registrar’s Office. There is no fall ceremony for August or December graduates.

When and where are the ceremonies?

Commencement takes place on Saturday, May 17, in the Park Center Alumni Arena. Graduates have their choice of attending either the morning or afternoon ceremony:

  • Bachelor’s Degree Ceremony A: 9:30 a.m.
  • Bachelor’s Degree Ceremony B: 2:30 p.m.

Arena doors will open one hour prior to each ceremony. Park Center is open throughout the day.

Students will select their ceremony time online this year.  Please visit the website the week of February 24, 2014 for additional information. 

How long will the ceremony last?

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

Guest Information

When and where can guests be seated for the ceremonies?

Seating begins at 8:30 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 1:30 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony.  All guests must have a ticket for viewing in the Arena.  Please note, the tickets will be scanned at the door.  If you attempt to re-use a ticket you will be placed in one of the overflow seating rooms.  Guests with tickets will have the option of sitting in the bleachers along the side of the arena or on the floor of the arena in chairs. All seating with the exception of disability seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please keep in mind that time is required to set up for the second ceremony immediately after the end of the first ceremony, thus the doors will not open any earlier than 1:30 p.m. for guests attending the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.  

Overflow seating, televised viewing 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 on the second floor of the Park Center outside Corey Gymnasium prior to each ceremony. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed at Commencement.

The College hosts one reception for all graduates in between the two Undergraduate Ceremonies.  Light refreshments (cookies and punch) are available at the reception. Detailed information will be posted as it becomes available on the Commencement website.


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 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. during both ceremonies. Flower arrangements include bouquets of half dozen and full dozen roses, as well as open presentation. Cameras, batteries, diploma frames, class rings, watercolor prints of the campus and other Commencement gift items will be available as well. The College Store, located in Neubig Hall, will also be open for additional purchases from 8 a.m.-5 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 24, 2014. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Special Events Coordinator for the President's Office at 607-753-5453 or

Note: Please submit ALL requests for accommodations by Monday April 28, 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 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 and anyother electronic devices during the ceremony.


In order to adhere to the Fire and Safety Code, every guest attending the Commencement ceremonies in the Arena must have a guest ticket. The number of tickets distributed is based upon the Fire and Safety Code, which clearly indicates the number of people we can safely accommodate in the Park Center Alumni Arena. Each student is given four guest tickets.  Students will select their ceremony time online this year.  Please visit back the week of February 24, 2014 for all the detailed information.

Students will receive a total of five tickets — one student line-up ticket and four guest tickets. Students should not dispose of the student line-up ticket as they will need this ticket to enter Corey Gymnasium to participate in the Commencement ceremony.