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Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

Note: All commencement communication will continue to be sent to your New Paltz e-mail account through May 2020. 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 www.newpaltz.edu. 

Where and when is the graduate ceremony?

Friday, May 15, 2020
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Athletic and Wellness Center at SUNY New Paltz

How do I sign up to participate in the ceremony?

1. Complete 2020 Application for graduation due dates/academic eligibility:

All candidates must first complete an Application for Graduation with the Records and Registration Office 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 2020:  Jan. 1, 2020

August 2020:  March 1, 2020 if you plan to walk in the May commencement ceremony. May 1 if you're planning to walk next year.

December 2020: Sept. 1, 2020


What if I graduated a different year and plan to walk in the May 2020 commencement ceremony?


If you graduated and wish to walk in the May 2020 commencement, you must contact Records and Registration, Wooster 115 (or 845-257-3100).  If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Institutional Research at oir@newpaltz.edu.


2. Complete the Graduating Student Survey

August 2019 and December 2019 graduates and May 2020 and August 2020 candidates:  

Beginning Wednesday, April 15, 2020, you will receive an invitation in your New Paltz e-mail account to respond to a brief survey. Each year, we ask graduating students to share their opinions with us. Your responses help us learn about what we are doing well, and ways that we can best focus on our efforts at continual improvement. Thank you in advance for your commitment to making New Paltz stronger. 

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.

Deadlines and Pricing for Bachelor Cap, Gown and Tassel:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Due date to pre-order your cap & gown from Herff Jones to ensure correct sizing: $82.00 + tax

Tuesday, April 24, 2020

Orders placed on line by this date with Herff Jones can be shipped directly to your home: $82.00 + shipping + tax

Monday, May 4, 2020

Cap and gown pre orders can be picked up or purchased directly at the bookstore: $90.00 + tax

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, 9:00am to 5:00pm and Saturday, 10:00am to 3:00pm. Closed Sunday. Extended hours for the last week of the semester are 8:00 am - 6:00 pm. 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?

Rings, announcements, diploma frames and other memorabilia may still 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 Wednesday, March 20, 2020 and can be picked up at the bookstore beginning Wednesday, May 1, 2020. The price of stole is $35.00. The bookstore will also have stoles if you miss the pre-order date.  

4. How do I get my reserved guest tickets?

Guest Tickets
Up to five (5) guest tickets will be available online starting Wednesday, April 15, 2020 while supplies last to students who have completed the Graduate Application process with the Office of Records & Registration. The Athletic & Wellness Center has limited capacity and only guests with tickets will be admitted. Guest tickets will be available online until Thursday, May 14, 2020. No additional tickets will be made available at the door on Friday, May 15, 2020. Individuals unable to attend the Graduate Ceremony can watch a live stream online at www.newpaltz.edu/commencement.

Click here for instructions on how to access Guest Tickets online

Student Participation Ticket
Student Participation Tickets will be distributed during lineup in the Elting Gym at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2020. Please remember to bring your SUNY New Paltz Student ID or other from of photo ID.

Graduate Commencement Information Sessions
We've scheduled two Information Sessions that will help you better understand how your graduation will unfold and what you need to know for your guests. Your attendance at one of the following Information Sessions is encouraged:

  • Wednesday April 29 and Thursday, April 30, 2020, 7:00 - 7:45 p.m., Lecture Center 100

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. 


Where does my individual school sit?

Get Map




Information for Family and Friends Attending the Commencement Ceremony

Student Etiquette

This is a special day for all graduates, family, and friends. Please help us honor all members of this year's graduating class by encouraging your student to stay through the entire commencement ceremony. This expectation is a courtesy to all students, especially those whose names are called later in the program. Please continue to make them feel like a community - the special community that has nurtured them to this day. Thank you in advance for supporting all our students and staying as members of the SUNY New Paltz community.


Where may guests with disabilities park and be dropped off?

Get Map

There are designated accessible 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 commencement@newpaltz.edu by Friday, May 8, 2020 to reserve seating in disability seating area.

1. Up to five (5) guest tickets can be reserved.

3. Please include the following information when reserving:

a. How many spots would you like to reserve? Up to five tickets only.

b. Indicate that this is for the graduate ceremony.

c. Does the individual use a wheelchair or walker?

d. Does the individual have a hearing or visual disability? Special instructions will be sent to you separately.

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

You can view the reserved disability seating location below. A copy of this map and parking information will also be sent to your guests after Friday, May 3, 2020.

Get Map

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 commencement@newpaltz.edu as soon as you know of any changes. 

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.

The stream can be viewed on the SUNY New Paltz home page.

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 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 201. Walk in hours are every day BUT Wednesday, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

What about general parking?

Get Map

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

What is the Parent Guide?

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. An online version will be posted shortly.If you did not receive a Parent Guide, please e-mail commencement@newpaltz.edu.

Miscellaneous FAQs

Photography/Senior Pictures:

The college has contracted a professional photography company to take photographs of every candidate walking across the main stage. This service is provided without cost or obligation. Within 10 days of the ceremony you will receive a proof by mail.  If you wish to order, you may. For more information call 800-345-7427.

Guests taking photographs, please be considerate of other guests when you video or photograph your candidate. We ask that the aisles be cleared for the march and during the ceremony for safety reasons.

During the ceremony, please remain seated; DO NOT interfere with the formal ceremony proceedings. There will be an opportunity after the ceremony to take photographs of your candidate, family and friends on and around the stage area.

Senior Pictures (Portraits) for information contact the Student Activities, SUB 211, or phone 845-257-3025.

Local Lodging

Best Western

Hampton Inn of New Paltz

Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz Chamber of Commerce

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 2019 graduate and August 2020 candidate walk in May 2020?

Yes. Candidates who reserved August 2019, December 2019, and August 2020 degrees can walk in May 2020. 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 sweat pants. 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 visit the store Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm and Saturday, 10:00am to 3:00pm. Closed Sunday. Extended hours for the last week of the semester are 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Will the campus bookstore be open the day of the graduate ceremony?
Extended hours for the last week of the semester are 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
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.