Family Information for Commencement

Information Parking and Bus Service Ticket Policy Campus Map Accommodations and Restaurant Guide Commencement Eve Entertainment Checklist Special Needs Dual Ceremonies Commencement Photos Reception


Dear Parents and Families of the Class of 2019,

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, Fredonia's Commencement will celebrate a new phase in the lives of the students we honor. There is a special place for you as well. Your support and encouragement, expressed in so many ways, are essential to graduates' success.Happy family 2015

Commencement ceremonies will take place in the arena portion of Steele Hall. Bachelor's, master's, and advanced certificate candidates/graduates will be included in each ceremony. Follow this  link, which will provide information on which ceremony your graduate will be attending, either morning and afternoon. Students will graduate at either 10 a.m. or 3 p.m., according to their primary major/program.

Tickets will be available in April to graduates, with 4 tickets allotted for each graduate in the Steele Hall fieldhouse, and 2 tickets available to a TV viewing area in the nearby ice rink. When graduates pick up their tickets they have the opportunity to sign up to receive extra tickets to the fieldhouse should any be available after the regular ticket distribution period ends in early May. See the detailed information below.

Please discuss with your graduate two important matters that will contribute to making this a great day for everyone. The consumption of alcohol in the arena is neither acceptable nor condoned, and university policy on alcohol consumption will be strictly enforced. Also, please plan your post-Commencement activities so all members of your party can remain in the Steele Hall arena until the ceremony concludes.

A professional photographer will take a picture of each graduate shaking hands with the President. Students will be notified by Island Photography when photos are available; of course, there is no obligation to purchase a photo. For those family and friends who cannot attend, the event will be live streamed so that all may see their loved ones graduate. Following the ceremony, you are encouraged to celebrate at a reception in the Dods Hall grove honoring the Class of 2019. The rain location for the reception is the Williams Center.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, May 18.

Virginia S. Horvath, Ph.D.        Katherine Hanover
University President                 Senior Class President

Important Commencement 2019 Information

  • Ticket distribution begins on Wednesday, April 24, and continues until Friday, May 10. Only students are eligible to pick up tickets, not family members. It is anticipated that graduates will be able to receive at least four tickets to the Steele Hall arena. The number of tickets available will be based on the legal and safe seating capacity for the arena, and the university reserves the right to limit the number of tickets distributed for each ceremony. When the student picks up his/her tickets, there will also be a sign-up sheet to request additional tickets to the arena. Students will be contacted after May 10 by Commencement Chair Michael Lemieux if extra tickets are available, with instructions for picking them up at the Williams Center by Friday, May 17. Two extra tickets, for viewing live video of the ceremony in the Steele Hall ice rink, may be requested at the same time on a first-come, first-served basis, until seating capacity has been reached. Graduates may only obtain tickets; they will not be given to family members.
  • Tickets are color-coded for each ceremony, read further on this web page for the university's Ticket Policy. It is your responsibility to verify with your graduate his/her assigned ceremony. Tickets will be (arena) and (video venue) for the morning ceremony, and (arena) and (video venue) for the afternoon. We will not honor tickets at the door that are not color-coded for the appropriate ceremony.
  • Commencement seating is general admission bleacher seating (no back to the seat) with the exception of a limited amount of Special Needs (Handicapped) seating. Needing a seat with a back is a Special Need. Special Needs also includes visual and hearing impaired guests. Accommodations are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please plan to arrive early in order to secure Special Needs seating. Only one family member (or attendant) will be permitted to accompany the person in the Special Needs seating section, the rest must sit in general seating. Please refer to the section, "Information Regarding Special Needs (Handicapped) Seating" on this web page for additional information.
  • The afternoon ceremony will begin promptly at 3 p.m. We ask that families attending the morning ceremony vacate the arena as soon as possible at the conclusion of the ceremony so that we may prepare the arena for the afternoon.
  • Only certified service animals are permitted in the building. No family pets are allowed.
  • Commencement information will also be distributed to graduates/potential candidates on this site.

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Parking and Bus Service for Commencement

We realize that the majority of our Commencement guests will be parking in areas requiring some walking to the arena. We will be providing bus service to assist guests from parking areas to Steele Hall. As indicated earlier on the website, the ceremonies will be held in the Steele Hall arena, and the video venue will be located in the ice rink in Steele Hall.

When arriving, guests will be directed to parking areas throughout campus and bused to the entrances of the Steele Hall facility. Arriving early on campus is strongly suggested; doors to all venues will open at 8:45 a.m. for the morning ceremony and at 2 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. We encourage those living in the local area to arrive early as well.

With the exception of those holding valid handicapped parking permits/tags/license plates, there will be limited parking available in the immediate Steele hall area.

Following each ceremony and after the President's reception in the Dods Hall grove, a bus will be available to transport guests back to parking areas.

Paramount in our planning is the knowledge that this is a very special day for graduates and their guests, and the entire Fredonia family is working to create a safe, enjoyable and memorable event.

Please direct questions or concerns in writing to the Commencement Committee, c/o Campus Life Office, Williams Center, State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, NY 14063.

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Commencement Ticket Policy

The members of the Commencement Committee and the University President have established the following policy on the distribution of tickets for Commencement.

  1. Commencement tickets are not considered a salable commodity; they are free to degree candidates. Concurrent degree students (i.e. those receiving two bachelor's degrees during the same semester) are entitled to one set of tickets. All students must show a photo I.D. when they pick up their tickets at the designated area in the Williams Center.

    Tickets will be given only to students, not family members.

  2. Students who do not plan to participate in Commencement should not pick up tickets.

  3. Commencement tickets may not be sold. Offenders will be referred to the university's Judicial system, and records will be held until any penalties are satisfied.

  4. Students who pick up tickets for Commencement are not entitled to tickets for another Commencement at a later date unless they are obtaining another degree; i.e. bachelor's graduates who participated in Commencement are entitled to tickets if they have earned a master's degree (or advanced certificate).
  5. Students who have picked up tickets for Commencement, and, because of unforeseen circumstances do not plan to use them, must return the tickets to the Committee Chairperson in the Campus Life Office for redistribution. These students will not be eligible to receive tickets for a later Commencement if they have not returned the first set of tickets.
  6. Tickets will be color-coded for each ceremony, morning and afternoon, as will be reader cards for degree candidates. Students should make sure family members are aware of which ceremony they will be attending.

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Restaurant and Accommodations Guide

For information on area accommodations and restaurants, see this guide.

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2019 Commencement Eve Entertainment

A Fredonia tradition continues on Friday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m., in King Concert Hall when the Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center presents “'My Fair Lady' in Concert”

All seats are reserved for this DFT Communications Pops Series Event, and due to the popularity of the event, early ticket purchase is recommended.

Billboard for Phantom of the Opera"My Fair Lady" is the standard by which all other musicals are measured. This tale of a cockney flower girl transformed into an elegant lady is based on George Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion." It features one of musical theatre's greatest scores with songs including "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" "With a Little Bit of Luck," "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "Get Me to the Church on Time." Fredonia's talented student vocialists will be in the spotlight, backed by the Western New York Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets are $22, $27, $32 and $37, depending on seat location, and are available at the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center. Orders can be made by telephone with Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.

For telephone orders, call (716) 673-3501 or toll-free at 1-866-441-4928. A nominal fee of $6.00 per order is applied to telephone orders. Requests will be filled with the best available seats at the time the order is received, and tickets will be held at the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center until 5 p.m. on the day of the performance. Unclaimed tickets will then be available for pick up at King Concert Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m. that evening.

The Fredonia Ticket Office is open during the spring semester, when classes are in session, on Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, from 1 to 5 p.m.


President Horvath will host a reception honoring the graduates immediately following each ceremony in the Dods Hall grove. The rain location is the Williams Center.

Commencement Flowers

The Commencement Committee is proud to announce that fresh cut flowers will be available for purchase at the main entrance to the natatorium on the day of Commencement. A large variety of sizes, colors and products will be available. To pre-order flowers via email, see the website.

This link does not represent an endorsement by Fredonia. It is provided as a service to our Commencement families and guests.

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Commencement Photos

The Commencement Committee has arranged for a photo to be taken of your graduate during the Commencement ceremony. Island Photography will provide information to graduates when photos are available.

This does not represent an endorsement by Fredonia and there is no obligation to purchase. It is a service provided to our Commencement families and guests.

Honor Your Grad With a Walkway Brick

We invite you to mark your graduate’s place in Fredonia’s history by purchasing a Scholarship Walkway Brick. The brick, typically engraved with a person’s name and class year, can be a personal legacy or can be used to honor a friend, a parent, or even a favorite faculty member.

Fredonia Alumni Association representatives will be in the Steele Hall Natatorium Lobby on Commencement day. For guidelines and online ordering prior to Commencement, see the website.

The Brick Walkway is installed in the Williams Center Patio area for students, faculty and alumni to enjoy. The purchase of a walkway brick will support scholarships to assist Fredonia in continuing to attract the best and brightest students. All proceeds benefit the Fredonia Alumni Association and scholarships.

2019 Live Streaming of Commencement

There will be live streaming of both Commencement ceremonies. More information will be posted on this page on Commencement day. For those in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area, the ceremony will also be available on the local cable access channel.

Following the ceremonies, a recording will be made available on the Commencement website.

Family Commencement Checklist

___ Made reservations for hotel accommodations.

___ Reminded student graduate to pick up tickets for family, and purchase cap/gown and announcements.

___ Purchased tickets for Commencement Eve Pops Concert, if desired.

___ Determined ahead of time when your student will give you Commencement tickets, as it will be difficult to connect with students in the hour or two prior to each ceremony.

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Information Regarding Special Needs (Handicapped) Seating

Fredonia is pleased to provide special services for individuals with Special Needs/disabilities. However, this balcony-level seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please plan to arrive early in order to secure Special Needs Seating.

Due to limited capacity, only one member of your party will be permitted to accompany the individual with Special Needs in the reserved seating section. Please also note that each entrant into the arena must have his/her own individual ticket (from the original four tickets given to each graduate). For example, if the disabled person requires an attendant, both must have a color-coded ticket for entry. There are no special tickets for special needs guests - tickets must come from the student's initial allotment.

  • There will be special volunteers on the balcony to assist you in finding Special Needs Seating when you enter the arena.
  • A valid handicapped parking tag/license/sticker will be honored for parking close to the arena. Due to the Rockefeller Arts Center renovation/addition construction, handicapped parking will be limited. We encourage people to park in the double-tiered parking lot on Ring Road near the clock tower, or the lot adjacent to University Stadium, and use the shuttle buses provided to travel to the arena. There is a wide paved path from the University Stadium lot to the fieldhouse.

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