Student Instructions for Commencement
_ Completed Application for Degree and turned it into Registrar's Office
_ Made sure local and permanent address is up-to-date
_ Picked up tickets/made arrangements to get them to family before Commencement
_ Purchased/ordered 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 this step. Application for Degree forms are available in the Office of the Registrar and must be completed and on file by Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. August and December 2018 graduates who have already applied and did not participate in Commencement need do nothing more at this time.
If you expect to complete all graduation requirements in December 2019 but desire to participate in one of the May 2019 ceremonies, you should apply for your degree and submit an Appeal form with it by Wednesday, April 3 at the Registrar's Office. All forms are available in the Registrar's office. Students should be aware that the Diploma Name entered on the application is the name that will appear in the Commencement program.
It is important that you report any change in address to the Office of the Registrar. 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 see the Registrar prior to Commencement.
When will tickets be available?
- Wednesday, April 24 through Friday, May 10 (Mondays through Fridays only), from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.
- A special ticket distribution session for student teachers/clinicians and other unable to travel to campus during weekdays is set for Sunday, April 28, from 1 until 3 p.m., in the Williams Center.
Where can I pick up my tickets?
- The Campus Life 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?
- It is anticipated that graduates will be able to receive at least four tickets to the Steele Hall Arena.
- At the time students pick up tickets at the Williams Center, there will also be a sign-up sheet to request additional tickets to the arena.
- 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.
- The deadline to request extra tickets is Friday, May 10. Students will be contacted after that date by Commencement Chair Michael Lemieux if extra tickets are available, with instructions for picking them up at the Williams Center by Friday, May 17.
- 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.
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 Campus Life Office, Williams Center, State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, NY 14063, which must be received by us before Wednesday, May 8, 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 number, your email address, and the number of any additional tickets for the ceremony you would like to request. We are not able to send tickets internationally. Tickets requested in this manner will not be mailed after May but can be picked up at the Campus Life Office in the Williams Center before May 17 or at the ticket counter in the Natatorium on Commencement day.
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.
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. To comply with Fire Code regulations, all persons, regardless of age, are required to have a ticket to enter the Steele Hall Arena or ice rink (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 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). Students requesting extra tickets for Commencement will have one opportunity to request the additional tickets. Students should be sure they know the number of extra tickets they need before completing the sign-up sheet.
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 (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 halls. 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 Steele Hall throughout the entire ceremony.
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 separately or at a special package price. Bookstore hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Students can purchase their regalia starting Monday, March 18 and can also place an order online.
The special package includes cap, tassel, gown, and five announcements (Master's package includes hood). Merchandise will be available in the bookstore from Monday, March 18 until Saturday, May 18 (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.
2019 Prices (without tax):
Bachelor Gown $41.00
Master Gown $44.50
Announcements $ 2.00 each (plus tax)
Graduation Cap $17.00
Tassel $ 7.50 (plus tax)
Master Hood $31.50
A Master Package at $97.26 (includes tax) includes gown, tassel, cap, hood and five announcements.
Commencement Rehearsal at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 17 - Report to Steele Hall Arena
Even though you are receiving instructions on this website, you must attend Commencement rehearsal.
Commencement Day Instructions for Degree/Certificate Candidates
- When you arrive at the Dods Hall gymnasium on Saturday, May 18, 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.
- Master's candidates should carry their hoods over their right arms; they will be hooded during the ceremony. Advanced certificate candidates should wear their academic hoods. Only Undergraduates are eligible to wear gold honors cords.
- 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 remove caps. After the opening reflection and national anthem, please be seated. Men put caps back on.
Conferral of Degrees
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost will tell respective candidates (first master's and advanced certificate, then bachelor's) when to stand. President Virgina Horvath 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 President Horvath 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 17 rehearsal.
Graduates' children 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 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.
- 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.
- Will be mailed in early July.
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 required actions. Inclusion 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, Delta Mu Delta, 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 need not do anything further at this point. If you pick up tickets and decide at a later date not to participate, you must return the tickets to Commencement Chairperson Michael Lemieux in the Campus Life Office in order for you to be eligible to receive tickets to a future ceremony.
Students With Disabilities
Individuals with disabilities who may need accommodations are requested to contact the Commencement Committee as soon as possible in order that appropriate arrangements may be made. Please call Commencement Chairperson Michael Lemieux at (716) 673-3143 to arrange for assistance.
Communications from Senior Class President
The Commencement Committee and the Senior Class President Katherine Hanover will use a listserv to disseminate information throughout the semester to graduates about Commencement and other activities. Unless otherwise directed, the listserv will use your Fredonia email address. To use an email account other than the Fredonia email, contact Commencement Chairperson Michael Lemieux at firstname.lastname@example.org to add your preferred email address.
Regarding Mailings to Family
If you wish to have any Family mailing sent to a second address, please contact Commencement Chairperson Michael Lemieux in the Campus Life Office as soon as possible and the second address will be added to our database.
A professional photographer from Island Photography will be taking photographs of each graduate 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 the 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 our Commencement families and guests.
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.
Commencement is an occasion for a delicate mix of joy and solemnity. The consumption of alcohol in the arena is neither acceptable nor condoned, and university policy on alcohol consumption will be strictly enforced.
Email addresses for graduates will continue after Commencement.
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Special Needs Seating for Your Family and Guests
Fredonia is please to provide special services for individuals with Special Needs/disabilities. However, this 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 arena must have his/her own individual ticket. For example, if the disabled person 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. Let us help you to help them have a wonderful day.
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 this 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 permits for Special Needs (handicapped) parking, there will be limited parking available in the immediate Dods/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.
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Restaurant and Accommodations Guide
For information on area restaurants, see this guide.
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