Graduate 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, that information will be posted at 845-257-INFO (4636) and 

Where and when is the graduate ceremony?

Friday, May 13, 2016

 6-7:30 p.m.

Athletic and Wellness Center at SUNY New Paltz


Complete these five steps to sign up to participate in the ceremony:

1. Complete 2016 Application for graduation due dates/academic eligibility:

All candidates must first complete an Application for Graduation with the 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 to walk in the May commencement ceremony. May 1 if you're planning to walk next year.

December 2016: Sept. 1, 2016


2. Complete the Graduate Survey

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

You must complete the Graduate Student Survey to obtain your confirmation number, which is needed to pickup your master's unit, four guest tickets and student participation ticket. The Graduate Student Survey will open Friday, April 15, 2016. The link will be sent to your New Paltz e-mail account and will continue tio be sent though the end of the semester.

After you complete the survey, please click the link that says "Click here to get your commencement number confirmation.

Note: Please be sure you have completed Step 1 above to receive survey.

If you are having difficulty accessing the Graduate Survey, please contact call 845-257-2951 or e-mail

Preview a visual example of the confirmation number location on the Graduate Survey.

All commencement communication will continue to be sent to your New Paltz e-mail account through May 2015.


3.  Obtain your master's units  

If you are planning to participate in the May 2016 Commencement Ceremony, please pre-order online ASAP to be sure Herff Jones captures your correct cap & gown size. The last date to order online is Saturday, March 19, 2016. Please order directly from the Herff Jones website.

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 Friday, April 29, 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. 

Master Student Pricing for Cap, Gown, Tassel & Hood:

Orders placed on line by March 19, 2016 on the Herff Jones website: $82.00

Orders placed on the Herff Jones website to be shipped home:$82.00 + Shipping (order early to avoid high shipping costs!)

Cap & Gown unit purchased directly at the bookstore beginning April 29, 2016: Master Cap, Gown, Tassel & Hood:$87.00

Do candidates rent or purchase master's units?

Master's units are purchased and must be worn by all participants. We do not rent master's units.

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

The Herff Jones Rep will be at the Campus Bookstore:

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016: 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 17: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Friday, March 18: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Monday, April 11: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 12: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

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

How do I order an International Stole?

Stoles can be pre ordered through the Herff Jones website no later than Saturday, March 19, 2016 and can be picked up at the bookstore beginning Friday, April 29, 2016 . The price of stole is $45.00. The bookstore will also have stoles if you miss the pre order date of Saturday, March 19, 2016. The bookstore is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 


4. How do I get reserved tickets?

Guest Tickets: Only four 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, there is extra seating outside the reserved seating area and in the bleachers.

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, 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 guest tickets and student participation ticket, and you will need your confirmation number (see above information on Graduate Exit Survey) and your New Paltz or photo ID for pick up. 

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 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 - 7-8 p.m. or
Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 7-8 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 through Friday, May 13, 2016, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m.

Note: On Friday, May 13, 2016, tickets may only be picked up until 3:00 p.m. You must present your New Paltz or picture ID and confirmation number generated upon completion of the Graduate Exit 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 at the Athletic and Wellness Center. You must present your New Paltz or photo ID and confirmation number generated upon completion of the Graduate Exit 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 Graduate Exit Survey. Please see "How Do I Participate in the Ceremony" above for details on locating the Graduate Exit Survey and obtaining your confirmation number. 


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

No. We do not mail tickets. Please see "How Do I Get My Reserved Tickets" above for alternate pickup 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 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 are required to 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 and may be left in the lobby of the Athletic and Wellness Center.


Will there be live streaming of the graduate ceremony?

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


5. Know your lineup location and arrival time

Lineup for the ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m. The lineup location will be in the Elting Gym inside the Athletic and Wellness Center. Line up is by College/School and degree. Marshals will assist in lining up the candidates. Please don't forget your student participation ticket.

Where does my individual school sit?


Information for Family and Friends Attending the Commencement Ceremony

Where may guests with disabilities park and be dropped off?

There are designated handicap spaces in the lot available for people with the appropriate parking hangtags displayed and/or license plates. 

**Note: There will also be a shuttle bus for our guests in need of assistance.


Is there special reserved seating for guests with disabilities?

Yes. Students will be sent an e-mail about reserving a spot(s) for guests with disabilities. Groups including guests in wheel chairs should contact the Commencement Office at by Friday, May 6, 2016 to reserve seating in disability seating area.

How to reserve seating for guests with disabilities?

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 graduate ceremony.

d. Your guest's e-mail address so we can send them parking information and a copy of the seating map below. This information will be sent after Friday, May 6, 2016.

 You can view the reserved disability seating location below.




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 at as soon as you know of any changes.


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:
Turn left at the traffic light after toll booth. Turn left at first traffic light on to South Putt Corners Rd. Follow that road to the end. At the next traffic light, turn right onto Route 32. After approximately 1 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 and 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 3 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 may also view a complete list of driving directions.


What about general parking?

 **Note: a shuttle bus will be provided for guests who may need assistance to the Athletic and Wellness Center.

What is the Parent Guide?

In March, we will send a Parent Guide to the 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.

Miscellaneous FAQs

What about a sign language interpreter?

A sign language interpreter will be on site to translate the entire commencement ceremony.


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

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


What should I wear with my master's unit?

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 master's units 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.


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? 

SUNY New Paltz will separately recognize your graduating class. These classes will be listed individually by school, graduation month and year in the 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?

Please go directly to the bookstore, which is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.


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

Yes, but please call for times. 


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 office of Records and Registration. A diploma cannot be issued until all obligations, such as library fees, parking tickets, etc., are cleared.


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.