Yes! SUNY New Paltz is hosting a series of smaller, shorter, in-person Commencement ceremonies to recognize this milestone in our students’ lives and recognize their hard-earned achievements.
We will hold ceremonies on the Old Main Quad, rain-or-shine on May 14, 15, 16, 22 & 23.
There will be multiple ceremonies each day, and we anticipate each ceremony will be about 30 minutes in length.
Our first Commencement weekend (May 14-16) will be a 2021 Commencement for May and August 2021 candidates, and December 2020 and January 2021 graduates.
Our second weekend (May 22-23) will be for our December 2019, January 2020, May 2020 and August 2020 graduates who were unable to participate in an in-person ceremony last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We cannot invite any guests, including our students’ family members and friends (whether they live on campus or off campus), to attend our Commencement ceremonies this year.
President Donald P. Christian and Interim Provost Barbara G. Lyman will be present at each ceremony to confer degrees.
To maintain capacity limits set by the State of New York, only faculty and staff who register to volunteer at our ceremonies will be invited to attend. See below for more information about volunteering.
The College is following state guidelines that limit capacity at outdoor events to protect the health and safety of all involved.
While some universities have stadiums or other large venues that allow for higher event capacities, our Old Main Quad has more limited available seating. We must reserve these seats for our graduating students (and a small number of faculty, staff and administrators who will oversee the ceremonies) to allow them the opportunity to participate in an in-person, staged graduation.
Unfortunately, this capacity limit prevents us from being able to invite anyone other than our students and those staffing the events.
Yes! The College will livestream all ceremonies that friends and family members can hear their graduate’s name called, watch them cross the stage and receive their diploma cover from the comfort and safety of home.
Whether you're watching live or after the fact, you can find the video link to your ceremony here: https://newpaltz.edu/commencement-2021/ceremonies-schedule/. Please be sure to share with family and friends!
The videos will remain archived for one year after Commencement.
These videos will remain online and viewable on demand for one year.
View the full schedule and find links to the videos here: https://newpaltz.edu/commencement-2021/ceremonies-schedule/.
Students who are eligible to participate and have completed their graduation application with the Office of Records & Registration will be assigned to a specific ceremony based on their academic major and school.
We are making every effort to group students together by program, so that as many students as possible can walk with peers from their classes and other academic activities. Some students, including those who register late for Commencement, may not be grouped with peers in their academic majors.
Students with multiple majors will be assigned to ceremonies for one of their majors based on space availability.
No. For purposes of planning and balancing event capacity over the course of multiple ceremonies, we must lock the time assignments for every graduate and candidate once assigned.
Multiple campus parking areas will be open to accommodate our Commencement participants on May 14, 15, 16, 22 & 23.
Students will be able to enter the Old Main Quad and check in at two locations: Via the Excelsior Concourse near Humanities Building, and via Mohonk Walk near Science Hall.
We put together a Commencement map that highlights parking, check-in locations and WiFi availability. Use this link to download the map.
If you’re getting ready for graduation but are waiting to receive your cap & gown, you can quickly check the status of your order (including expected delivery date) by following these simple steps:
Enter your college name (SUNY New Paltz)
In the top right corner of the ordering page, click on “cap and gown order status” and use your CPA number to check the status, as seen in the photo below.
As previously announced, our cap & gown partners at Herff Jones have confirmed that all orders that were placed by Monday, April 12, will be delivered in time for our first ceremony on May 14.
Yes! All our graduates will receive an email confirming their ceremony date and time.
That email will include a link to your participation card. Please use this link to download, print and fill out your participation card and bring it with you to the ceremony.
The participation card includes a space to provide the correct pronunciation of your name. We use these printed cards to make sure we’re reading your name correctly when calling you up to receive your diploma cover.
All participants will be expected to wear masks and maintain social distance throughout the ceremony.
Seats will be arranged on the Old Main Quad separated by at least six feet in all directions, and students will be directed to take their seats immediately upon arriving for their ceremony date and time.
Students will be called up to the stage in marked, socially distant rows, and faculty, staff and student marshals will help maintain distance. After receiving their diploma covers, students will be directed to exit the Quad and staff will support their safe departure along the way.
There will be no hooding of master’s candidates, no handshaking and no processional or recessional this year.
It’s true that the CDC eased its masking recommendations for those who have been fully vaccinated (defined as being two or more weeks after receiving your final vaccine dose).
However, this guidance does not apply to “crowded settings and venues,” such as our Commencement ceremonies.
For this reason, and because we are not requiring vaccination and are not tracking vaccination status for our Commencement participants, we will follow state and federal guidance and stick with our original plan to require everyone to wear masks during the ceremonies.
No, but we still encourage testing as a best practice to reduce spread of the virus.
Yes. All students and alumni who are planning to participate in our in-person ceremonies are asked to please log on to my.newpaltz.edu and complete the daily health screening before coming to campus.
Yes (but we hope that doesn’t have to happen!).
The College is prepared to pivot to a fully virtual celebration if COVID-19 positive case numbers increase or state and local guidance restricts in-person events in mid-May. We remain in contact with SUNY, state and local health officials about Commencement planning.
Students who attend our in-person Commencement ceremonies will receive a diploma cover when they walk across the stage.
Students who do not attend a ceremony but would still like a diploma cover can get one by contacting the Commencement Office at firstname.lastname@example.org any time after May 23, 2021 (the day of our last ceremonies). Please include your mailing address in that email.
Yes. Students who attend their ceremony will receive two printed programs so they have an extra copy they can share with friends and loved ones.
Yes! We will have photographers on site who will take your picture as you approach the stage.
Students will be permitted to remove their masks briefly for picture taking, as long as they maintain social distance of six feet while doing so, per state and SUNY health and safety guidance.
You’ll have the option to order Commencement photos from our partners at Genesee Photo Systems, and they will send you proofs before you place your order, based on the mailing address you enter on your participation card.
If you have accessibility questions or require accommodations to fully participate in this event, please contact the Disability Resource Center at email@example.com.
Please get in touch at least two weeks prior to the event to allow enough time for us to accommodate your request.
There will be an interpreter and closed captioning for the live stream.
Yes! If you have general questions about our Commencement ceremonies, you can send those to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re having technical difficulties with things like your email invitation or downloading and printing the Participation Card, please let us know at email@example.com.
If you have questions about your credits, diploma or your eligibility for graduation honors, please direct those to the Office of Records & Registration at firstname.lastname@example.org.