Bulletin News

Undergraduate Commencement Moves Outdoors


To celebrate the largest undergraduate commencement class in SUNY Cortland history, both of the College’s May 17 graduation ceremonies this year will be held outside in the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.

The crowd of family, friends and other well wishers is also anticipated to be record breaking because the College has decided to double the number of guests that will be admitted with each ticket. This two-for-one opportunity means that, although all participating students were originally limited to four guest passes, they will now be able to bring eight guests.

“Our students have worked incredibly hard to achieve this success and we wanted to reward their drive and dedication,” President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “Now, family members, neighbors or childhood friends who were disappointed they couldn’t come to Commencement will be able to attend the ceremony.”

Since the two ceremonies will be outdoors, College officials will be watching weather forecasts as the day approaches so they can advise new graduates and their guests to dress appropriately. For guests who would find outdoor bleacher seating difficult, there will be an indoor option inside the Park Center Alumni Arena where the ceremony will be shown live on a large video screen.

Most other aspects of undergraduate Commencement will remain unchanged. That includes the need for students to participate in the ceremony they have already selected. If, for example, a student signed up for the afternoon ceremony, that it still the ceremony he or she must attend.  

Additional information will be posted on the Commencement website starting Monday, April 21.

The record number of students who will participate in Commencement illustrates both SUNY Cortland’s popularity and its growing retention and graduation rates – measurements of student success that reflect how many of a college’s students return after their first year and complete their degrees.

SUNY Cortland’s nearly 70 percent, six-year graduation rate is the highest of any comprehensive college in the 64-campus SUNY system.