Student Instructions for Commencement

Tickets   Students with Special Needs

Rehearsal   Parking and Bus Service   Cap and Gown

Student Commencement Checklist

__ Complete Application for Degree and turn form into the Registrar's Office; 1st Floor, Reed Library

__ Make sure local and permanent addresses are up-to-date

__ Fill out Commencement Participation Form through Your Connection

__ Pick up tickets/make arrangements to distribute to family members before Commencement 

__ Purchase/order cap and gown

Apply for your Degree or Certificate

The awarding of a degree or certificate and eligibility for participation in Commencement can only occur if you take these necessary steps. Application for Degree forms are available in the Registrar's Office and must be completed and on file by Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. August and December 2019 graduates who have already applied and did not participate in Commencement need not re-apply for their degree.

If you expect to complete your degree requirements in J-term 2021 or later, and have extenuating circumstances which will preclude you from participating in Commencement 2021, you may complete the online Appeal Form before Friday, April 3, 2020, to be considered to participate in Commencement 2020. 

Students should be aware the Diploma Name entered on the application is the name that will appear in the Commencement program and in the official news release.

It is important that you report any change in address to the Registar's Office. There is a form which must be completed and signed for change in permanent address, and a change in your local address can be reported through Your Connection. If you wish your diploma sent to an address other than your permanent/local address, you must contact the Registrar's Office prior to Commencement.


When will tickets be available?

  • Wednesday, April 22 through Friday, May 8. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5:45 p.m., and Saturday from 1-4:45 p.m.

Where can I pick up my tickets?

  • The Fredonia Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center.

How much do tickets cost?

  • Tickets are free to graduates. Photo identification is required to obtain tickets.

How many tickets will I receive?

  • Graduates will receive up to 4 tickets to Commencement.
  • Students will be able to request up to an additional 4 tickets when they fill out the Commencement Participation Form.
  • The deadline to request extra tickets through Your Connection is Friday, May 8. If extra tickets are available, students will be contacted after that date by the Commencement Co-chair and will be provided with instructions for picking up extra tickets.
  • The number of tickets available will be based on the legal and safe seating capacity for the fieldhouse. The University reserves the right to limit the number of tickets distributed for each ceremony.

What if I can't pick up my tickets?

  • If you are unable to pick up your tickets, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office, G140 Williams Center, State University of New York at Fredonia, 280 Central Ave., Fredonia, NY 14063, by Wednesday, May 6, and the tickets will be mailed to you. Please include a note indicating which ceremony you'll be participating in (see the list on this website), your Fredonia ID number and your email address. Tickets requested in this manner will not be mailed after May 6. We are not able to send tickets internationally.

How do I know what time my ceremony is?

  • Your ceremony time (morning or afternoon) is assigned according to the major that you list first on your Degree Application Form. You will only be able to choose a ceremony if you are receiving concurrent (dual) degrees - that is, if you have fulfilled the requirements for two separate and distinct bachelor's degrees (B.A. and B.S., B.A. and B.F.A., Mus.B. and B.S., etc.). Having two different majors does not entitle you to select a ceremony.

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 Fredonia Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center. Tickets will be given only to students, not family members. To comply with Fire Code regulations, all persons, regardless of age, are required to have a ticket to enter the Steele Hall Fieldhouse (this includes infants and small children).

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 Office of Student Conduct, 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). Students requesting extra tickets for Commencement will have an opportunity through Your Connection to request additional tickets, subject to availability. Students should be sure they know the number of extra tickets they need before completing the Commencement Participation Form.

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 Committee Co-chair Raleigh Hawk in the Fredonia Campus Ticket 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, as will be reader (name) cards for degree candidates. Students should make sure family members are aware of which ceremony they will be attending.

Special Commencement Items - Commencement is certainly a time for joy and celebration, but unfortunately, in the past, the use of alcohol has contributed to situations where students and their families found their enjoyment of Commencement compromised. With this in mind, the Commencement Committee reminds you of the University Alcohol Policy specifically as it relates to Commencement. No alcoholic beverages are to be brought into Dods or Steele Hall. Alcoholic beverage containers found in Dods, Steele, or during the processional will be confiscated and not returned. Students who arrive at the ceremony under the influence of alcohol may be removed from the line of march. Please remember the delicate combination of joy and solemnity appropriate to such an occasion and act accordingly. Family, friends and classmates will appreciate your efforts.

We would also like to remind you that Commencement begins and ends with a formal processional/recessional of which we want you to be a part. The last student to cross the platform is as deserving of your attention as the first. Please plan your day's activities so that you and your guests are able to remain in the Steele Hall Fieldhouse throughout the entire ceremony.

Cap and Gown Information

The Faculty Student Association Bookstore in University Commons will provide caps and gowns, which are required for Commencement. You may purchase the required academic apparel at the Bookstore. Bookstore hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Saturday, 1 until 5 p.m. Students can purchase their regalia starting Monday, March  23 and can also place an order online.

The special package includes cap, tassel and gown (Master's package includes hood). Merchandise will be available in the Bookstore from Monday, March 23 until Saturday, May 16 (Commencement Day). Limited quantities and sizes will be available, so early purchase is recommended. The Bookstore will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Commencement Day.

Appropriate footwear is required of all participants.

2020 Prices:

  • Graduation Cap $19.50
  • Tassel $ 7.50 plus tax
  • Master Hood $32.75

A Bachelor Package at $59.95 plus tax includes gown, tassel and cap.

A Master Package at $95 plus tax includes gown, tassel, cap and hood.

An optional Robe Reuse Program is being initiated in 2020. Graduates will have the opportunity to donate their robe (gown) following their ceremony. Collection bins will be located in the Williams Center near the entrance doors. Beginning in Spring 2021, donated robes will be available to future graduates.

Commencement Rehearsal at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 15 in Steele Hall Fieldhouse

Even though you are receiving instructions on this website, you MUST attend Commencement rehearsal.

Graduate student hooding 2015Commencement Day Instructions for Degree/Certificate Candidates

  • When you arrive at the Dods Hall gymnasium on Saturday, May 16, no later than 9 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 2 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony, please pick up your name card at the appropriate table, according to the first initial of your last name. The card is used to pronounce your name, and you cannot cross the platform without it. If your name is difficult to pronounce, please write it phonetically on the card. A card will only be available to you for your assigned ceremony (see list on this website). Likewise, tickets for your guests will be color-coded to reflect your assigned ceremony.
  • Carrying Your Hood or Stole

    Master's Degree Candidates:  You will wear your cap and gown and drape your hood over your arm.

    Wear the mortarboard square on your head, parallel to the ceiling. The tassel should be on the left front side signifying you hold a bachelor's degree. You will march in carrying your master's hood over your right forearm. The velvet trim will be closest to your hand with the narrowest (triangular) section of the hood to the outside. This will ensure that when you extend your arm during hooding, the hooder will grasp the section of the hood that goes over your head.

    Advanced Certificate Candidates:  You will wear your cap, gown, and appropriate master's hood (if you already have your master's). Wear the mortarboard square on your head, parallel to the ceiling. The tassel should be on the left front side, signifying you hold a bachelor's degree.

Only Undergraduates are eligible to wear gold honors cords.

hooding instructions for Commencement website


Processional Order

  • Mace Bearer, Platform Party, Student Marshals, Master's/Advanced Certificate Candidates, Bachelor's Candidates, Faculty Marshals, Faculty/Staff


  • Follow the Student Marshals in a line two abreast. The two single lines will divide and go to separate rows of seats. Note: If you wish to sit next to someone, make sure they are directly ahead or behind you, not next to you, in the procession. Please follow the usher's instructions and fill in all seats in each row.


  • When you reach your seat, please remain standing for the opening reflection and national anthem. Men should remove mortarboards/tams. After the opening reflection and national anthem, please be seated. Men put mortarboards/tams back on.

Conferral of Degrees

  • The Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will tell respective candidates (first master's and advanced certificate, then bachelor's) when to stand. Interim President Dennis L. Hefner confers the degrees. Ushers will instruct you when and how to proceed across the platform. Give your name (reader) card to the appropriate person, proceed across the platform, receive your diploma case, shake hands with a College Council member and Interim President Hefner and return to your seat by going down the middle ramp, up the center aisle, and then into your original row. Master's candidates will be hooded; the procedure will be explained during the May 15 rehearsal.

Children of graduates are not allowed to participate in the processional/recessional, nor are children permitted to cross the stage with the graduates.

  • If graduates do not have family members available to supervise children during the ceremony, they must make other child care arrangements.


  • The recessional follows the singing of the Alma Mater. Students will process out in the same order as they processed in (front to back), so back row students do no leave first. When the music begins, the recessional proceeds in this order: Mace Bearer, Platform Party, Faculty Marshals, Faculty/Staff, Student Marshals, Master's/Advanced Certificate Graduates and Bachelor's Graduates. To avoid a bottleneck, it is imperative that the recessional line keeps moving in an orderly manner.


  • Interim President Hefner will host a reception honoring the graduates immediately following each ceremony in the Williams Center Multipurpose Room.


  • Will be mailed out in early July to the permanent (home) address.

Departmental Honor Societies

If you have been nominated or are a member of a departmental or other honor society, please note the deadlines stated in any material you receive regarding payment of required fees or other Student Processional 2015required actions. Inclusion in the Commencement program under a particular society is dependent upon students following instructions and meeting deadlines as stated by the department/adviser. Examples of such societies (not inclusive) include Golden Key International Honour Society, Psi Chi, Alpha Kappa Delta, Beta Gamma Sigma, Kappa Delta Pi and Pi Mu Epsilon.

Deciding Not to Participate in Commencement

If you decide not to participate in a Commencement ceremony this year, you should indicate this on the Commencement Participation Form through Your Connection. If you pick up tickets and decide at a later date not to participate, you must return the tickets to Commencement Co-chair Raleigh Hawk in the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office in order for you to be eligible to receive tickets to a future ceremony.

Students With Special Needs

Individuals with special needs who may need accommodations are requested to contact the Commencement Committee as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements may be made. Please call Commencement Co-chair Raleigh Hawk at (716) 673-3501 to arrange for assistance.

Communications from Senior Class President

The Commencement Committee and the Senior Class President Deoniss Jackson will disseminate information via a senior listserv throughout the year to graduates about Commencement and other activities. Unless otherwise directed, emails will be sent to your Fredonia email address. To use an email account other than your Fredonia email, contact Commencement Co-chair Raleigh Hawk to add your preferred email address.

Regarding Mailings to Family

If you wish to have any Family mailings sent to a second address, please contact Commencement Co-chair Raleigh Hawk in the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office as soon as possible and the second address will be added to our database.

Commencement Photos

A professional photographer from Island Photography will be taking photographs of each Closeup of students 2014graduate as they are recognized during the ceremony. Within 48 hours after Commencement, students will be emailed a secure link and a PIN to view and order photos. Students can also register email addresses of friends and relatives so that they will receive a direct link to their photos by visiting the website. For questions, students should contact Island Photography customer service at (800) 869-0908 or email. This does not represent an endorsement by Fredonia and there is no obligation to purchase. It is a service provided to Fredona graduates, families and guests.

2020 Live Streaming of Commencement

There will be live streaming of both Commencement ceremonies. More information will be posted on this page on Commencement day. 

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

Alcohol Policy

Commencement is an occasion for a delicate mix of joy and solemnity. The consumption of alcohol in the Steele Hall Fieldhouse is neither acceptable nor condoned, and University policy on alcohol consumption will be strictly enforced.

Email Addresses

Graduates can continue to use their Fredonia email addresses after graduation.

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Special Needs Seating for Your Family and Guests

Fredonia is pleased to accommodate individuals with special needs. However, special needs seating is first-come, first-served. 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 Steele Hall Fieldhouse must have their own individual ticket. For example, if the person with special needs requires an attendant, both persons much 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.

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 Steele Hall Fieldhouse. Bussing will be available to assist guests from parking areas to Steele Hall. 

When arriving to campus, guests will be directed to parking areas throughout campus and bused to the Commencement venue. Arriving early on campus is strongly suggested; doors to the venue will open at 8:45 a.m. for the morning ceremony and at 2 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. 

With the exception of those holding special needs parking permits, there will be limited parking available in the immediate Dods/Steele Hall area.

Following each ceremony and after the President's reception in the Williams Center, 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. The entire Fredonia family wishes to create a safe, enjoyable and memorable day for you and your guests.

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Restaurant and Accommodations Guide

For information on area restaurants, see this guide.

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