FAQs for Undergraduate Students
Who may participate?
The May ceremonies will honor students who complete their degree requirements in May, Aug. and Dec. 2013. Students who completed their degree requirements in Dec. 2013 may also participate if they have disclosed their intent with the Registrar’s Office. There is no fall ceremony for Aug. or Dec. graduates.
How do I apply for my degree and indicate participation in the ceremony?
Students should first meet with their advisor to verify eligibility for graduation in the fall semester or early spring semester prior to the ceremony. Students can apply for their degree and indicate participation in the May ceremony through myRedDragon. The deadline for indicating participation in the ceremony in March 1.
Once at myRedDragon, do the following:
- Type in ID and password
- Select “Student" tab and go to the Registrar Student Channel area
- Select “Graduation and Commencement Menu”
- Select “Degree and Diploma Application”
I missed the March 1 deadline to indicate participation for Commencement. What can I do about it?
Students can still apply for their degree and indicate participation in the ceremony; however, those who apply for their degree after March 1 may not have their name appear in the program. All students who attend the Commencement ceremonies will have their names read, regardless of being in the program or not.
Students must apply for their degree online using myRedDragon, even if they miss the March 1 deadline.
When do I select my ceremony time?
The first opportunity for graduates to select the ceremony in which they'd like to participate and to obtain Commencement tickets is at Grad Finale™. Following Grad Finale, Commencement tickets and other ceremony items may be picked up at the College Store in Neubig Hall.
If I am not on campus this semester (student teaching, study abroad, internships, other circumstances), how do I obtain my cap, gown and tickets?
Students not on campus during the spring semester due to student teaching, study abroad, internships or other circumstances, may reserve a cap, gown and tickets by contacting the College Store and completing the Ticket, Cap and Gown Form (available in Spring 2014 semester).
The College Store will not mail caps, gowns or tickets. Students must pick them up at the College Store prior to the Commencement ceremonies. Students unable to pick up their packages must send someone to the College Store with a letter authorizing that person to pick up materials. The person picking up the Commencement package must produce a photo ID before any materials are released. Students unable to designate someone to pick up the Commencement package prior to the ceremony should contact the College Store to place the order on hold. The College Store offers extended business hours during Commencement Weekend to accommodate students who need to pick up their package.
Friday, May 16: 8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 17: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
I have registered for one ceremony, but I would like to switch to the other ceremony. What do I do?
Students may switch their tickets at the College Store. Simply return to the College Store with all guest tickets and the student line-up ticket. If all tickets are returned, the College Store will exchange them for tickets to the ceremony to which he or she would like to switch. Students please note that the student line-up ticket will be required in Corey Gymnasium. Please do not dispose of this ticket. This ticket will not grant access for a guest in Alumni Arena.
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.
The first opportunity for graduates to select the ceremony in which they'd like to participate and to obtain Commencement tickets is at Grad Finale™. Following Grad Finale, Commencement tickets may be picked up at the College Store.
Is there a rehearsal for the ceremonies?
Yes! Rehearsal for Undergraduate Commencement is held on Friday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m. in the Park Center Alumni Arena. All students are strongly encouraged to attend.
What time should I be at the Park Center, Corey Gymnasium, on Commencement Day?
Graduates attending Ceremony A should report to Park Center Corey Gymnasium in gowns at 8:30 a.m. Those attending Ceremony B should report to Park Center Corey Gymnasium in gowns at 1:30 p.m.
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.
How will the degrees be conferred?
Degrees are conferred prior the students crossing the stage. Each Dean will acknowledge the candidates by School and degree and then the President will confer the degrees all at once. This is when the students will officially move their tassel across their cap. Following the conferal, all students will be announced individually.
An hour before the Commencement ceremony, students will check in at the Park Center Corey Gymnasium. They will receive a three-inch x five-inch card with his or her first and last name. Students then choose a row to line up in and may line up with their friends. They will remain in this order as they proceed into the Park Center Alumni Arena.
As students reach the stage, they will hand the card received at check-in to the person at the microphone, who will read the student's name. Two readers are positioned at the top of the ramp and will alternate reading the student names. Those with names that might be difficult to pronounce are asked to write a phonetic pronunciation of your name when you check-in prior to the ceremony AND give the reader the correct pronunciation just before the name is read.
The students’ names and “special person” designations are read as they cross the stage. Students will first receive a congratulatory handshake from the President. Students will then cross the stage and just before exiting will receive a diploma cover from one of the Deans. Students will exit down the opposite ramp and return to student seating.
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. Students can help by inviting their favorite faculty or staff members to attend by completing the undergraduate faculty and staff invitation form (available in Spring 2013). Simply write the name of the faculty or staff member in the designated space on the invitation and then deliver it to them in person or via campus mail.
What should I wear with my cap and gown?
Commencement is a formal ceremony, so students are asked to 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. Students are requested not to wear shorts, overalls, sandals or sneakers. Mortarboard (cap) tassels should be worn on the left side throughout the ceremony. Once degrees are conferred, the president will ask all students to switch their tassels from the left to the right.
Am I graduating with honors from SUNY Cortland?
Students grade point averages (GPA) calculated as of Feb. 1 determine the SUNY Cortland honors distinction.
Once the end-of-school GPA is determined after the ceremony, allowing for the incorporation of the Spring 2014 grades, the Honors distinction is then recorded and displayed on the official transcript.
- A GPA between 3.2-3.499 will receive a white tassel and graduate cum laude.
- A GPA between 3.5-3.749 will receive a red and white tassel and graduate magna cum laude.
- A GPA of 3.75 and above will receive a red tassel and graduate summa cum laude.
It is not necessary to purchase the honors tassel. Staff from the Registrar’s Office distributes them at Commencement rehearsal and on Commencement day. If, as of Feb. 1, a student’s GPA did not qualify for the honors distinction as noted above, the student will wear the SUNY Cortland black tassel. However, if after the calculation of the end-of-school GPA (calculated after the ceremony) meets the honors GPA, the honors distinction is then recorded and displayed on the official transcript.
Please note: Various departments and honor societies also have honors distinctions and may distribute cords or tassels to be worn during Commencement. Students need to inquire with their department chair or advisor to verify if there is an honors distinction specifically for their major/program.
An ambulance will be stationed in the northwest parking lot of the Park Center, near the overhead door to Alumni Arena.
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.
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 should arrange seating by contacting the Special Events Coordinator for the President's Office at 607-753-5453 or via email at email@example.com. To arrange for mobility impaired parking, contact Parking Services at 607-753-4123 or visit Van Hoesen Hall, Room C-17.
Students or guests with hearing impairments can be accommodated with special seating arrangements and the availability of on-stage sign language interpreters by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 beepers 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.
The first opportunity for graduates to pick up the tickets is at Grad Finale™ on Thursday, March 21. After Grad Finale, tickets may be obtained at the College Store. Students will select their ceremony when they pick-up tickets. Tickets for each ceremony are on a first-come, first-served basis.
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.