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Undergraduate 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, information will be posted at 845-257-INFO (4636) and www.newpaltz.edu.  The commencement will also be streaming live from the SUNY New Paltz home page. The link will also be sent to all students prior to the ceremony.


When and where is the undergraduate ceremony?

Saturday, May 16, 2020
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Old Main Quad

Sunday, May 17, 2020
School of Business, School of Education, School of Fine and Performing Arts, and School of Science and Engineering
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Old Main Quad


How do I sign up to participate in the ceremony?

Complete these five steps:

1. Complete the 2020 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 (Wooster 115) or contact them at 845-257-3100. If you graduated a previous year and did not walk in your ceremony, but wish to participate in May 2018, please contact Records and Registration  for permission.

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

May 2020: Jan. 1, 2020

August 2020:  March 1, 2020 if you plan on walking in the ceremony; May 1, 2019 if you are not walking this May.

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 Records & Registration.


2. Complete the Graduating Student Survey

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

Beginning Monday, April 13, 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: $45.00 + tax

Tuesday, April 24, 2020

Orders placed on line by this date with Herff Jones can be shipped directly to your home: $45.00 + shipping + tax

Monday, May 4, 2020

Cap and gown pre-orders can be picked up or purchased directly at the bookstore: $50.00 + tax. Please use this option if you missed the order due 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, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed Sunday. Extended hours for the last week of the semester are 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

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

Undergraduates eligible to be considered for honors are candidates with a GPA of 3.30 or higher. This ranking is based on work completed by the end of the Fall 2019 semester. Eligible candidates may purchase an honor cord at the college bookstore. Honor cords are $13. Check with your advisor for any specific honors you could apply to receive.  If you're eligible, 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 by Monday, May 4, 2020.  The campus bookstore will have a list of all eligible students, so please bring your New Paltz ID. For more information, please see Policies:Graduation with Honors.

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 Wednesday, March 25, 2020 due date. You can order these through the Herff Jones website. The price for the study abroad/international stole sash is $45.00. If you missed the pre-order due date, you will be able to purchase a stole at the bookstore beginning Monday, May 4, 2020.

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

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

4. How do I get my reserved guest tickets?

Guest Tickets: To avoid overcrowding and to be fair to all students attending the commencement ceremony, there will be a limit of four (4) reserved guest tickets for graduating candidates. Anyone without a ticket will not be allowed into the reserved seating area, but may sit outside the reserved seating area. Seating is on a first come basis. Gates open at 8:30 a.m.

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 New Paltz or photo ID for pick up.

1. Commencement Information Sessions: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 or Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., Lecture Center 100

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 (4) 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 2 and 3 below.

2. Welcome Center:

Tickets will also be available for pick up at the Welcome Center in the Haggerty Administration Building lobby beginning Friday, May 1 to Friday, May 15, 2020, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Note: On Friday, May 15, tickets may only be picked up until 3:00 p.m. You must present your New Paltz or picture ID.

B. 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 College Hall side of Old Main Quad. You must present your New Paltz or a photo ID.

Ticket Will Call Desk Location Maps on Day of Ceremony

Saturday, May 16, 2020 - College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Sunday, May 19, 2020 - Schools of Business, Education, Fine and Performing Arts and Science and Engineering 

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.

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.

Candidate Line up:

Line Up Locations

Lineup for the ceremony begins at 9:00 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:

Saturday, May 16, 2020

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences – Student Union Building, Multi-Purpose Room

See Location

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences – Student Union Building, Multi-Purpose Room

Download Map

Sunday, May 17, 2020

School of Business & School of Education – Lecture Center, North Lobby (Humanities Side)
School of Fine & Performing Arts – Student Union Building 100
School of Science & Engineering – Student Union Building, Multi-Purpose Room

See Location

School of Business & School of Education – Lecture Center, North Lobby (Humanities Side)

Download Map


What if I have a dual major in different schools on different days?

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. If your major fall on different dates, you must choose which date to attend and walk.

Will there be live webstreaming of the undergraduate ceremony? 

Yes. There will be a live broadcast from the SUNY New Paltz home page. The ceremony will be archived for six months. The link will be sent to all students prior to the ceremony.

Where does my class sit?

See Location

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Undergraduate LA&S sitting map 2019

Download Map

Schools of Business, Education, Fine & Performing Arts; Science & Engineering

 UG Quad 4 schools seating map 2019

Download Map

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

Tickets are required for all guests (including children two years and older). Children under the age of two are kindly requested to sit on a parent's lap. No guests will be admitted into the reserved seating area without a ticket, including infants and small children. Strollers or buggies cannot be brought into the reserved seating area due to space.

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 everday BUT Wednesday, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Indoor seating/live webstreaming

There are a limited number of seats available in Lecture Center South for TICKETED GUESTS who prefer indoor seating. Seats are on a first come first serve basis until full.

Indoor Seating/Live Webstreaming Map 2019

What if my guests have physical disabilities?


Guests with disabilities may park in the Shango Parking Lot #32 and the Administration Parking Lot #15. 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 served. Guests who have trouble walking may be dropped off in the Old Main Circle for a short walk to the disability seating area.

**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.

Disability seating, drop off entrances and parking:

How to reserve

1. Groups including guests in wheel chairs must contact the Commencement Office by Friday, May 8, 2020 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. Indicate the date of the undergraduate ceremony or what school or major you are.

b. How many spots would you like to reserve? Up to four tickets only.

c. Does the individual use a wheelchair or walker?

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 Friday, May 8, 2020.

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.

Will there be a sign language interpreter?

Sign language interpreters will be on site to translate the entire Commencement Ceremony. Please notify the commencement office if you have a guest with a hearing disability, so we can accommodate accordingly.

What other miscellaneous information is helpful for my family, guests and me?

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.

Can I stay in my residence hall prior to my graduation ceremony?

Yes. You may stay in your residence hall on Friday night (May 15) if you’re graduating Saturday, and Friday and Saturday night (May 16 and May 17), if you’re graduating Sunday. Please notify the Resident Assistant directly.

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 Vandenberg Hall (in the event of rain, reception will be held in the lobby of Vandenberg Hall)
  • SCHOOL OF EDUCATION: The College Terrace

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.

What is the Parent Guide?

Parent Guides are sent to parent or guardian addresses we have on file. This brochure explains the details of commencement including date, time, location, tickets, maps, and information pertaining to the commencement process. If you did not receive a Parent Guide, please e-mail commencement@newpaltz.edu and indicate the date of the ceremony or what your student's major is, so we can send you the correct version.


Americas Best Value

Best Western, Kingston

New Paltz Chamber of Commerce

Mohonk Mountain House 

Hampton Inn of New Paltz

Can an August or December 2019 graduate, or an August 2020 candidate, walk in May 2020?

Yes! Candidates who received August 2019, December 2019, or August 2020 degrees can walk in May 2020. Please check with the Records and Registration Office directly for questions concerning credits and your degree.

What if I am an August or December 2019 or August 2020 valedictorian or salutatorian?

These honors will be combined in the May 2020 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? 

SUNY New Paltz will separately recognize your graduating class. These classes will be listed individually by school, graduation month, and year in the 2020 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. Special commencement hours to be announced.

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.