Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Why is the College changing from one to two Commencement ceremonies?
    a.    After several years of peak student participation and attendance of family and friends, it became apparent that the ceremony needed to be shortened for safety and security, and to enhance the overall experience for the day’s attendees.
  2. How many Commencement speakers will be chosen?
    a.    The College will select two Commencement speakers, one for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ceremony and one for the combined ceremony of our four professional schools.
  3. Will there be a valedictorian for each ceremony?
    a.    There will be one valedictorian and one salutatorian for the graduating class of 2017. Both will be named at both ceremonies, but the valedictorian will speak at that individual’s ceremony. Another student, the salutatorian (if that individual is participating in the second ceremony), or a Student Chancellor’s Award winner participating in the second ceremony will speak there.
  4. Even though Undergraduate Commencement is now two ceremonies, will there still be faculty receptions following each program?
    a.    Yes. After each ceremony, faculty will be encouraged to attend their major-specific reception to meet with graduates and families and wish them well.
  5. I’m graduating this spring. How will I know which date my Commencement ceremony falls on and how will my family and I receive more event information leading up to next May?
    a.    In the spring semester, commencement announcements will be sent to all students eligible to graduate and participate in the May 2017 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony through their New Paltz e-mail account. Students will also participate in a rehearsal approximately 1-2 weeks prior to the events. The Commencement website will also be updated throughout the semester with further information:
    b.    A parent guide will be sent through U.S. mail to the parent/guardian students have on file. If you are unsure of what address is on file, please contact the Office of Records and Registration at: x3100 or  
    c.    We encourage students to share this announcement with their parents or guardians as soon as possible so they can begin making arrangement for the event.
  6. Can I stay in my residence hall prior to my graduation ceremony?
    a. Yes. You may stay in your residence hall on Friday night (May 19) if you’re graduating Saturday, and Friday and Saturday night (May 19 and May 20), if you’re graduating Sunday.
  7. School of Education students have an arts, liberal arts or science major. In which ceremony may they participate?
    a.    Students may choose which ceremony they will join, however, they will be allowed to participate in only one ceremony.
  8. I have volunteered in the past/would like to volunteer this year as a Commencement marshal. How will compensatory (comp.) time be determined?
    a.    We need a robust turnout of marshals to help ensure the first year of split ceremonies is a success. Marshals represented by UUP will receive comp. time for the events. Classified staff will receive overtime as eligible per contract guidelines. Any additional overtime costs for Classified staff who volunteer will be paid from general campus funds and not out of specific department accounts.
  9. I have never marched in the academic procession or volunteered as a Commencement marshal, but would like to this year. How do I learn more?
    a.    There will be a Commencement overview session for first-time faculty/staff participants. Stay tuned for a future message from Lisa Sandick with the date and more information.
  10. I have volunteered in the past/would like to volunteer this year as a Commencement marshal. How do you register and will there be a training session?
    a.    Early-bird volunteer Commencement registration will take place this fall. Enhanced volunteer job training sessions will occur in spring 2017. Stay tuned for a future message from Lisa Sandick with a date and more information.
  11. Can teaching faculty march in both ceremonies?
    a.    Yes! Faculty presence and participation at commencement means a great deal to our graduates and their families, and reinforces for the broader community the key roles of faculty in our educational mission. We welcome and appreciate your presence at both, but if your schedule only allows for one, please join the ceremony for your school.
  12. Will the platform party include all deans and vice presidents for each ceremony?
    a.    Yes. All deans and vice presidents will be expected to participate in the platform party for both ceremonies, as well as the Friday evening Graduate Commencement.
  13. Will there be a different faculty grand marshal for each ceremony?
    a.    We will have a different grand marshal for each ceremony, offering two faculty an opportunity to have this honor.