Undergraduate Frequently Asked Questions

Note: All commencement communication will continue to be sent to your New Paltz e-mail account through May 2016. There is no rain date for the ceremony. In the event of cancellation due to an emergency or severe weather, information will be posted at 845-257-INFO (4636) and www.newpaltz.edu.


When and where is the undergraduate ceremony?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Old Main Quad, SUNY New Paltz.


How do I sign up to participate in the ceremony?

Complete these five steps:

1. Complete the 2016 Application for Graduation

All candidates must first complete an Application for Graduation with Records and Registration by the deadline dates listed below. If you have missed this date, please go directly to Records and Registration or contact them at extension 3100.

Application due dates if you're planning to graduate in:

May 2016: Feb. 1, 2016

August 2016:  March 1, 2016 if you plan on walking in the ceremony; May 1, 2016 if you are not walking this May.

December 2016: Sept. 1, 2016


2. Complete the Graduating Student Survey

August 2015 and December 2015 graduates and May 2016 and August 2016 candidates:  

Take the Graduating Student Survey beginning Friday, April 15, 2016. This needs to be completed to obtain your confirmation number, which is needed to pickup your cap and gown, four (4) guest tickets, your student participation ticket, and, if applicable, your honor cord and study abroad sash.

The Graduating Senior Survey will be sent to your SUNY New Paltz e-mail account beginning Friday, April 15, 2016 and will continue to be sent every Friday. After you complete the survey, please click the link that says "Click here to get your commencement number confirmation." You will receive the survey once you fill out your Application for Graduation with the Records and Registration office (SEE STEP 1 ABOVE).

If you took the survey, beginning Friday, April 15, 2016, but are unable to retrieve your confirmation number, please click here.

You may also view a visual example of the location of your confirmation number upon completion of the Graduating Senior Survey.

If you have any other issues, problems, or questions about the survey, please contact the Office of Institutional Research and Planning by phone at 845-257-2951 or via email at  oir@newpaltz.edu.


3. Obtain your cap and gown, honor cord, and study abroad sash    

Please note: Caps and gowns are royal blue to match the school colors.

If you did not pre-order your cap and gown, the campus bookstore will be selling them beginning Monday, April 25, 2016. Pre-orders may also be picked up on this date. Graduation year charms will be available free of charge, which are attached to your tassel. Any other extras will need to be purchased. For questions on sizing and exchanges, please contact the Bookstore directly at 845-257-3050 or visit the store Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Pricing for Bachelor Cap, Gown and Tassel:

Online purchases by Saturday, March 19, 2016: $45.00

Orders placed on line by Saturday, March 19, 2016 to be shipped directly to your home: $45 + shipping ( order early to avoid high shipping costs) 

Cap and gown unit purchased directly at the bookstore beginning Friday, April 29, 2016: $50


What kinds of honors can I receive? How do I purchase my honor cord?

Check with your department for any specific honors you could apply to receive. An e-mail notification with the subject line Honor Cord Notification and Pick Up Information will be sent to your New Paltz e-mail account before Friday, April 29, 2016. You will need your confirmation number and New Paltz or photo ID in order to receive your honor cord beginning Friday, April 29, 2016. The campus bookstore will have a list of all eligible students, beginning Friday, April 29, 2016. Undergraduates eligible to be considered for honors are candidates with a GPA of 3.30 or higher. This ranking is based on the work completed by the end of the Fall 2015 semester. Eligible candidates may purchase an honor cord at the college bookstore. Honor cords are $13.

How do I get an international stole if I studied abroad?

The bookstore will be ordering stoles for the study abroad students who did not pre-order by the Saturday, March 19, 2016 due date. You can order these through the Herff Jones website. The price for the study abroad/international stole sash is $45. If you missed the pre-order due date, you will be able to purchase a stole at the bookstore beginning Friday, April 29, 2016.

Please see "How Do I Participate in the Ceremony" above for information on the Graduating Senior Survey and obtaining your confirmation number.

Do candidates rent or purchase caps and gowns?

Caps and gowns are purchased and must be worn by all participants. We do not rent caps and gowns. The gowns are royal blue to match the school colors. Please do not wear your high school cap and gown.

How do I order a class ring, announcements, and other graduation memorabilia?

Rings, announcements, diploma frames and other memorabilia may also be ordered through the Herff Jones website.

4. Get your reserved tickets

Guest tickets: Only four (4) reserved guest tickets will be provided and it is school policy that we cannot provide additional tickets. If a candidate is expecting to have more than four guests, they may bring their own chairs and sit or stand in the lawn area outside the reserved seating area. These guests will not require a ticket. Students can also check with a friend who is not using his/her tickets.

Student participation ticket: Each candidate will receive one student participation ticket when they pick up their four guest tickets. This ticket will have your name pre-printed on the front. Simply fill out the back section with your mailing information before the ceremony. This is necessary so the photographer can send you a proof as you cross the stage, so please write neatly. The student participation ticket is separate from the four guest tickets and you MUST have this ticket with you at the lineup location and when you cross the stage. Please do not lose your tickets as they cannot be replaced.

There are three options to obtain your four reserved guest tickets and student participation ticket, and you will need your confirmation number and your New Paltz or photo ID for pick up. Please see "How Do I Participate in the Ceremony" above for details on locating the Graduating Senior Survey and obtaining your confirmation number.

A. Attend a rehearsal:

There will be two different opportunities for candidates to attend a one-hour rehearsal. Candidates should plan to attend one of these rehearsals. The rehearsal will explain how the day will unfold, answer questions, and, at the end, offer an opportunity for candidates to obtain their four reserved guest tickets and their student participation ticket before the day of the ceremony. Your attendance is highly encouraged, but if you are unable to attend a rehearsal, please see options B and C below.


Rehearsals will be held in Lecture Center 100 as follows:
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 5-6 p.m. and
Thursday, May 5, 2016 5-6 p.m.


B. Welcome Center:

Tickets will also be available for pick up at the Welcome Center in the Haggerty Administration Building lobby from Friday, May 6 to Friday, May 13, 2016, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Note: On Friday, May 13, tickets may only be picked up until 3 p.m. You must present your New Paltz or picture ID and confirmation number generated upon completion of the Graduating Senior Survey.

C. Will-call table on day of ceremony:

Guest tickets can also be picked up at the will-call table on the day of the ceremony on the academic concourse at the Jacobson Faculty Tower by the stone benches. You must present your New Paltz or a photo ID and confirmation number generated upon completion of the Graduating Senior Survey.


Can someone else pick up my tickets for me?

Yes! If someone other than the candidate is picking up the tickets, that individual will need a photo ID and a signed note from the candidate, which includes their confirmation number generated upon completion of the Graduating Senior Survey. Please see "How Do I Participate in the Ceremony" above for details on locating the Graduating Senior Survey and obtaining your confirmation number. 

Will there be live streaming of the undergraduate ceremony? 

Yes. Your guests may also view the ceremony from the comfort of their computers/devices. The ceremony will be archived for six months.

I am unable to pick up my tickets during the scheduled rehearsals. Can you mail them to me?

Sorry. We do not mail tickets. Please see "How Do I Get My Reserved Tickets" above for alternate pick up opportunities.


What happens if I lose guest tickets? Can I get replacements?

The Commencement Office will not provide replacements for guests who lose their tickets. If you or your family are concerned about losing your tickets, you have the option of picking them up at the will-call table on the day of the ceremony.


If a guest is bringing an infant or small child, may they sit on their lap?

Yes. However, all guests, including infants, must have a ticket. No guests will be admitted into the reserved seating area without one, including infants and small children, for safety reasons.  Strollers or buggies cannot be brought into the reserved seating area due to space.


5. Know your lineup location and arrival time

Lineup for the ceremony begins at 9 a.m and candidates must arrive no later than 9:30 a.m.  The lineup location will be according to the College/School that you belong to. Line up is by College/School and major. Marshals will assist in lining up the candidates. Please don't forget your student participation ticket. You must have this to participate. The lineup locations are as follows:

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences –Student Union Building 100 and Multi-Purpose Room
School of Business – Lobby of Lecture Center South (library side)
School of Education – Student Union Building 100 
School of Fine & Performing Arts – Parker Theatre
School of Science & Engineering – Lobby of Lecture Center North (Humanities side)

See where your individual school sits


What if I have a dual major in different schools?

You may sit with either one of your schools. However, you will only cross the stage once. Each school will be recognized once, and you will stand each time.


Information for family and friends attending the commencement ceremony:


Guests with disabilities

Where may guests with disabilities park?

Guests with disabilities may park in the Shango Parking Lot #32,a portion of Bouton Hall Parking Lot #25, Administration Parking Lot #15 and Mohonk Parking Lot #24. There are designated handicap spaces in the lot available for people with the appropriate parking hang tags displayed and/or license plates.

Parking is first come, first serve. Guests who have trouble walking may be dropped off in the Old Main Circle for a short walk to the disability seating area.

Please view the map below.


**Note: A shuttle bus will also loop the various parking lots for guests who require additional assistance.

Is there special seating for guests with disabilities?

Yes. Students will be sent an e-mail about reserving spots for guests with disabilities. 


How to reserve

1. Groups including guests in wheel chairs must contact the Commencement Office by Friday, May 6, 2016 to reserve seating in the disability seating area.  

2. Up to four guest tickets can be reserved.

3. Please include the following information when reserving:

a. How many spots would you like to reserve (up to four only)?

b. Does the individual use a wheelchair or walker?

c. Indicate that this is for the undergraduate ceremony.

d. If possible, the e-mail of your guest so we can forward a detailed map of the disability seating section, drop off location and parking.

 You can view reserved disability seating location and drop off area on the map below. A copy of this map and parking information will also be sent to your guests after May 6, 2016.



What if the status of a guest changes and they either need to be added or removed from the disability guest list?  

Please send the Commencement Office an e-mail as soon as you know of any changes.


What about general parking for guests with disabilities?

Please view the below map with parking locations. Note: A shuttle bus will loop the various parking lots for those guests who may need additional assistance to and from the commencement ceremony.


Driving directions:

We highly recommend that you consider one of these ALTERNATIVE DRIVING DIRECTIONS to get to campus on graduation day:

From New York State Thruway Exit 18:
To avoid Main Street traffic in the Village of New Paltz, use the following directions from Exit 18: Turn left at the traffic light after the Thruway toll booth. Turn left at first traffic light onto South Putt Corners Road. Follow that road to the end. At the next traffic light, turn right onto Route 32. After approximately one mile, you will see several campus entrances on the left side of the road. 

From New York State Thruway Exit 17:
To avoid Main Street entirely, as well as possible congestion on the Thruway between Exits 17 and 18, use the following directions from Exit 17 (Newburgh):
After the toll booth, follow the signs to Route 300 North. At the light, turn left on to Route 300 North. After about three miles, continue straight onto Route 32 North. After about 14 miles, you will see several campus entrances on the left side of the road.

You can also view a complete list of driving directions.



  • SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Front lawn of van den Berg Hall (in the event of rain, reception will be held in the lobby of van den Berg Hall)
  • SCHOOL OF FINE AND PERFORMING ARTS: College Theater lobby (McKenna Theatre)
  • COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES: North and south lobbies of the Lecture Center


Miscellaneous FAQs:

What if I want to invite my family who lives in another country?

If you plan to invite family members from other countries, you may wish to request a formal invitation letter. This letter can be helpful when applying for an entry visa at the United States Consulate abroad. Please contact the Center for International Programs at 845-257-3595 or international@newpaltz.edu. The Center for International Programs is located in van den Berg Hall 201G. Walk in hours are Monday - Friday, Noon - 2:30 pm.    

What is the Parent Guide?

In March, a Parent Guide will be sent to parent or guardian addresses we have on file. This brochure will explain the details of commencement including date, time, location, tickets, maps, and information pertaining to the commencement process. If we do not have a parent/guardian address on file, the guide will be sent directly to the student.


New Paltz Chamber of Commerce


Will there be a sign language interpreter?

Two sign language interpreters will be on site to translate the entire Commencement Ceremony.


Can an August or December 2015 graduate, or an August 2016 candidate, walk in May 2016?

Yes! Candidates who received August 2015, December 2015, and August 2016 degrees can walk in May 2016. Please check with the Records and Registration Office directly for questions concerning credits and your degree.


What if I am an August or December 2015 or August 2016 valedictorian or salutatorian?

These honors will be combined in the May 2016 Commencement. 


What should I wear with my cap and gown?

Commencement is a formal ceremony. Please dress accordingly. The general rule is light weight, non-restrictive clothing. Men do not have to wear jackets, but should wear a shirt and tie. Please do not wear shorts, jeans, or sweatpants. Shoes should be securely fastened to your feet and women should avoid high heels due to uneven ground.

It is recommended that candidates try on their cap and gown before the day of the ceremony to make sure they fit correctly and are presentable. Candidates are not permitted to accessorize their gowns other than cords or sashes from recognized organizations and departments on campus. They can however, decorate the tops of their caps.


Should I wash/iron my gown beforehand?

No. To get the wrinkles out, just take the gown out of the bag and hang it up for a few days before the ceremony. This allows time for the fabric to relax. DO NOT iron the gown. The direct heat will destroy the fabric.


Will my individual class be recognized? 

New Paltz will separately recognize your graduating class. These classes will be listed individually by school, graduation month and year in the 2016 commencement program booklet. There will also be a point in the script where each group of graduates and candidates will be formally recognized by the president during the ceremony.  The bookstore will also be offering graduation year "charms" that can be worn on the graduate cap tassel. 


What if I lose my tassel?

You will need to buy a replacement at the campus bookstore. The bookstore is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


Will the campus bookstore be open the day of the undergraduate ceremony?

No. You must purchase the cap and gown before the day of the ceremony.  


How do I know what degree I am getting?

If you are unsure of the titling of your specific degree, check with Records and Registration at 845-257-3100, or contact your adviser.


Will I receive my diploma at the ceremony?

No. The official diploma is not presented at Commencement. Diplomas will be mailed to the candidate’s permanent address approximately six-to-eight weeks after Commencement from the Records and Registration office. A diploma cannot be issued until all obligations, such as library fees, parking tickets, etc., are cleared.

Note: When you cross the stage, you will be given a diploma cover which contains your Certification of Participation.


What do I do if there is confusion about my degree when purchasing my tassel?

Any questions about your degree can be answered by Records & Registration.