COVID-19 Safety Information

Changes Announced for Undergraduate Commencement

Changes Announced for Undergraduate Commencement


In an effort to address issues raised by faculty and graduating students, SUNY Cortland recently announced a new format for its three undergraduate Commencement ceremonies that will assign students based upon their academic department. This will eliminate the stressful annual scramble to secure specific time slots.

Starting with the May 2019 undergraduate commencement ceremonies, seniors will no longer compete for a first-come, first-served ceremony time through the online ticketing system. This enables guests to plan for their graduate’s ceremony well in advance.

All graduating students will be guaranteed up to four guest e-tickets and one student line-up e-ticket. There is no charge for tickets; however, there remains the usual fee of $11.50 for the diploma cover. Tickets will be available online beginning March 5, 2019 at 9 a.m. through May 10, 2019. Detailed instructions will be emailed to the student’s Cortland account in late February.

“This change should eliminate some stress from what should be one of the most exciting events of our lives,” said Sophie Umansky, president of SUNY Cortland’s Student Government Association.

For faculty who wish to be present for their students’ graduation, the change means all of the students in their department will be graduating in the same ceremony. The assignment of departments to a particular ceremony will rotate each year. Ceremony assignments for departments also may vary depending on fluctuations in departmental enrollment. Departments will be assigned to a specific ceremony by Oct. 15 of each academic year.

Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Park Center Alumni Arena. This year, two open receptions honoring new graduates will be held in Lusk Field House from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Students and guests may attend either of these receptions.

Students planning to participate in the event should visit SUNY Cortland’s Commencement web page to learn which ceremony their academic department has been assigned. The web page also provides important information about eligibility, logistics and other frequently asked questions. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor to confirm their eligibility to graduate.

The changes were recommended based on input from graduating students from the class of 2018, feedback from SUNY Cortland faculty and staff, as well as extensive research and comparisons of other SUNY schools. They were approved by President Erik J. Bitterbaum and his cabinet.