Participation and Ceremony Information

Who may participate?

SUNY Cortland has only one Commencement weekend annually. The May 2020 ceremonies honor students who complete their degree requirements in Dec. 2019, May 2020 and Aug. 2020. 

When and where are the ceremonies?

Undergraduate ceremonies will be held Saturday, May 16 in the Park Center Alumni Arena. Depending on the student's major they will be in one of our three ceremonies.

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

  • Ceremony A – 9:30 a.m., doors open at 8:30 a.m. (Saturday)
  • Ceremony B – 2 p.m., doors open at 1 p.m. (Saturday)
  • Ceremony C – 6 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m. (Saturday)

How long will the ceremony last?

The processions will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The length of the ceremony is approximately one and a half to 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, 1 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony and 5 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 viewing area. All seating with the exception of accessibility seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Overflow 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 at the concession. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed at Commencement.

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

  • May 16, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Lusk Field House
  • May 16, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Lusk Field House

General Information


An ambulance will be stationed inside the Park Center Alumni Arena.

Emergency Exits

In case of an emergency, flag a marshal, Commencement 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. to 7 p.m.

Guest Assistance

Faculty and staff marshals, Commencement 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 wearing black volunteer shirts, and university police officers will be in full uniform.

Students or guests with an accessibility request need to arrange their accommodations by filling out the online registration form. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the special events coordinator at 607-753-2377 or

Note: Please submit all requests for accommodations by Friday, April 26, 2019 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 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.