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ABC's of Commencement

Academic Attire

All faculty, staff and graduates, walking in the ceremony, are required to wear academic regalia (caps and gowns).   Students may keep their cap, gown and tassel as a memento of their achievement. If you lose your tassel you will have to pay a $5.00 replacement fee.


If you have a disability that could affect how you participate in the ceremony, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make the necessary arrangements. Contact our office at 845 341-4000.

August and December Graduates

August, 2019 and December, 2019 graduates are eligible to walk in the May, 2020 ceremony. If you choose to walk, you must complete the "Electronic Response Card" no later than May 1, 2020 to let us know your intention to participate in the ceremony. Since you have already received your diploma, only diploma covers are handed to graduates during the ceremony.

Once conferred, May 2020 graduates will receive their diplomas in the mail 4-6 weeks after the ceremony. August 2020 graduates,once conferred, will receive their diplomas in the mail by September 30.

Band Members

If you plan to play in the band, you will not march in the procession. You will receive instructions from your Band Director.

Candidates for Graduation

Students who anticipate graduating in May, 2020, and eligible August, 2020 candidates for graduation, must apply for graduation through the Registrar's Office by the deadlines posted on their webpage. Graduation applications are available on the Registrar's webpage. You must return the completed application, along with a $55 fee, to Student Services Central at either the Middletown or Newburgh campuses.

Eligible students who meet deadlines, ensure having their names on a list distributed to academic departments for consideration of awards for graduating students.

Please keep in mind if you apply late you may not be listed in the program as a Candidate for Graduation.

Cap & Gown

Caps and gowns are issued to students at no charge. Please go to the "Cap & Gown and Tickets" page for more information on caps and gowns, and tickets. 

Chorus Members

You will march. You will receive instructions from the Office of Student Services, and your Chorus Director regarding your seating arrangements.

Commencement Etiquette

Graduation is a dignified, important event. In order not to disrupt the ceremony, please turn off any cell phones, or other electronic devices you are carrying.

Please wear appropriate dress and shoes with your gown.  Please do not wear harsh perfumes or colognes as they attract bees, or wear high heels as the ramp is steep.

Smoking is prohibited. No beach balls, frisbees, balloons, etc. are allowed during the Commencement Ceremony.

Commencement Rehearsal

mandatory Commencement Rehearsal will be held on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 11:00 a.m. in the Diana Physical Education Center at our Middletown Campus. Important instructions will be given to you regarding your participation in the Commencement Ceremony. Everyone must attend. 

Electronic Response Card

Even though you submitted your graduation application and paid the $55 fee through Student Services Central, you must still respond to the Office of the Vice President for Student Services to indicate whether or not you will be walking in the Commencement Ceremony.

Respond by completing the "Electronic Response Card." This will ensure that you will be in the proper order in the student line-up. The deadline to respond is May 1, 2020. YOU MUST RESPOND BY THE MAY 1st DEADLINE TO BE ABLE TO WALK IN THE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY.

If you are a May graduate and do not plan to walk in the ceremony, diplomas will be mailed from the Registrar's Office 4-6 weeks after the ceremony.

Contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Services at 845 341-4000 with questions.



Graduates will assemble in the walkway area of Horton Hall no later than 4:25 p.m. A musical selection will be played as the graduates assemble into formation. The last call will be at 4:35 p.m.. Faculty and Emeriti will assemble on the Orange Hall Walkway. The Platform Party will assemble at Morrison Hall and will be at the end of the procession line.  Formation time for Faculty and Emeriti will be 4:40 p.m.

Detailed instructions will be presented at the Commencement Rehearsal. At precisely 5:00 p.m., the procession will begin.

Gold Honor Cords

Graduates who achieve a final cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher are eligible to wear gold honor cords with their gowns at the Commencement Ceremony to designate their achievement. Qualifying May 2020 graduates and August 2020 candidates for graduation will receive an email from the Registrar's Office during the week of Commencement letting them know whether they are eligible to wear a gold honor cord. The cords can be purchased for $15.00 in the Bookstore.

Grades for Spring 2020

Your Spring 2020 grades will be available through Self-Service Banner at MySUNYOrange. If you are unable to activate your account, please call the IT Department at 845 341-4749.

In Case of Inclement Weather


Graduates will assemble in the upper corridors of the Diana Center.  When you enter go to the right where you will retrieve your name card.  The head of the line will begin at the end of the hallway. (South field side.)  The line will run through the observation deck of the handball courts and continue down the corridor adjacent to the P.E. offices, ending in the main lobby. 

Faculty and Emeriti will assemble in the basement of the Diana Center. The head of the line will be in the area adjacent to the main men's locker room (South field side), continue down the corridor and through the entrance level to the handball courts.  The line may be long enough to extend beyond the handball court area down the adjacent corridor.  They will march up the stairs to the upper corridor and into the gym.

The Platform Party will assemble in the Dance Studio in the Diana Center.

Since the building will be crowded, it is important that you pay strict attention to the student and faculty formation leaders.

After lining up, on the signal from the Marshal of the Exercise, the formation will proceed to the gymnasium.

Marching Order:

  • (1) Marshal of the Exercise
  • (2) Chairman of Commencement
  • (3) Student Marshal
  • (4) Graduates
  • (5) Professors Emeriti
  • (6) Faculty and Staff
  • (7) Alumni
  • (8) Platform Party


All student and staff parking lots will be open to everyone on a "first-come, first-served" basis.  Advise your guests to come early in order to park in campus lots and the parking garage.  Parking is also allowed on city side streets. If you have a family member who has special needs and/or is handicapped, Security will be equipped with six passenger golf carts to transport those who have difficulty walking. Drivers will be directed to either Tennis Court Drive behind the Diana Center or the Morrison lot for handicapped parking.

In the event of inclement weather and the Commencement Ceremony is held indoors, handicapped accessible parking will be available to disabled family members/guests with tickets on Tennis Court Drive right behind the Diana Center. Disabled family members/guests without tickets can park in Parking lot #6 located behind the George F. Shepard Student Center. They can enter the 1st floor of the Student Center where they can watch a live stream of the Commencement Ceremony in the first floor Cafeteria. Orange Hall Theatre will also live stream the Ceremony.


An official photographer (Island Photography) will take a picture of each graduate as he/she receives his/her diploma.  This will assure graduates that photographs of this special event will be available for purchase.  Please tell your family and friends that your picture will be taken.  You will receive two color proofs with no obligation to purchase photos. You must try to place an order within 3 weeks of receiving proofs or there will be a late charge. 

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Procession and Ceremony

The Procession will begin promptly at 5:00 p.m. and will proceed to the Alumni Green.


Men only will remove their caps for the National Anthem and the Alma Mater.

Graduates will remain seated until it is announced "Will the graduates please rise."

On signal from a staff member, graduates in the front row will face left, walk out of their row and proceed to the platform to receive their diplomas.  When the first row begins to move to receive their diplomas, the remaining graduates will be seated in order not to obstruct the view of the audience.

When the first row has reached the end of the far left seats (watch the staff member), the graduates of the second row will stand and follow behind the last graduate of the first row…the third row will follow the second…etc., through all the rows.  Graduates will not go forward to receive their diplomas until they hand their name card to the reader.  Upon receiving diplomas, graduates will return to their original seats by entering their rows on the same side as when first seated and sit down immediately.

After the last diploma is given, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will instruct all graduates to move their tassels to the left signifying they are now Alumni of the College.

All assembled will then rise for the Alma Mater, then march out in the Recession.


The aisle for the Recession will be the aisle on the graduates' left, as they are seated facing the platform. In the Recession, the reverse order of the Procession will be used - i.e., Marshal of the Exercise, the Platform Party, Professors Emeriti, Faculty and Staff, Student Marshal and Graduates. In the Recession, it is most important that the graduates march out last, after faculty and staff. The Student Marshal will lead the graduates along the roadway passing the Library, Morrison Hall, and Orange Hall before they break. This is to assure there will be no crowding at the end of the line and will allow for Alumni, faculty, and staff to congratulate the graduates as they recess out.

If the ceremony is held indoors and the weather clears, the Student Marshal will lead the graduates across East Conkling Avenue along the roadway passing the Gilman Center towards Morrison Hall. The recession will end at Morrison Hall.  

IF IT IS RAINING, space will not permit the graduates to recess (march out of the gym). Only the platform party and faculty/staff/emeriti will be in the Recession.  Graduates will remain at their seats in the Gym.  When the music stops, graduates will then be free to leave, meet parents and friends, etc.  Please advise your guests to leave the Physical Education Building as soon as possible to relieve congestion.  They may leave from all doors marked "EXIT".


Graduates are entitled to 4 tickets and 4 announcements for the ceremony at no charge. Please go to the "Cap & Gown and Tickets" page for information on dates and times when tickets will be distributed.