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Commencement 2017

In this Section
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rehearsal | Attire | Tickets | Seating Arrangements | Honorary Degrees | Photos | Children | ROTC Commissioning | Baccalaureate | Housing | Dining | Parking | Travel | Web Video Broadcast
The Commencement Planning Committee, a working group of student, faculty and staff representatives charged with developing the Commencement exercises, has provided this information to explain some of the key points about Commencement 2017. This information is particularly pertinent to graduating students and their families.

Please check this site for updates. Several links and telephone numbers are provided for your use. Please also feel free to contact

Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2017 will be on Saturday, May 13, 2017 with two ceremonies.  The Graduate Student Ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m.   The Undergraduate Student Ceremony begins at 3:00 p.m.  This will be Clarkson's 124th Commencement. Exercises will be held in Cheel Arena in the Cheel Campus Center.

For the Graduate Ceremony, students are asked to find their seats by 10:10 a.m. inside Cheel Arena.  Graduate student spectators should all plan to be in their seats by 10:15 a.m. Doors will open for guests with tickets at 9:45 a.m. (9:30a.m. for disabled guests and their escorts).  Please note that graduate students participate in the Commencement Exercise only after they have satisfied all degree requirements.

For the Undergraduate Ceremony, weather permitting, the procession will form at 2:15 p.m. outside on the quad alongside CAMP, between the Student Center, and proceed into the arena. In case of bad weather, alternate procedures will be announced on this Web page and on radio station WSNN 99.3 FM. The procession and the ceremonies will be explained in detail at the rehearsal on Friday, May 12.  Spectators should all plan to be in their seats by 2:30 p.m. Doors will open for guests with tickets at 2:00p.m. (1:45p.m. for disabled guests and their escorts). Only doors into the arena from inside the Cheel Campus Center will be used for spectator entry. For their convenience, guests with disabilities may also enter directly into the arena through a side door near the front entrance of the Cheel Campus Center.  Persons with standing room tickets will enter at 2:30. Standing room tickets are for the concourse only. The procession will include more than 700 graduates, faculty and honored guests. Spectators are asked to remain seated during the procession to allow all to see better and be more comfortable as well.

**Please note, tickets issued are valid only for one of the Undergraduate or Graduate ceremony, not both.
Commencement Rehearsal
The rehearsal is extremely important! Commencement rehearsal on Friday, May 12 will be in Cheel Arena starting at 10:30am, at which time the procedures for the graduation exercises will be reviewed, seats will be assigned and reserved commencement tickets and disabled tickets to the exercises distributed to those graduates who will be participating. All graduates are expected to attend rehearsal. If you are unable to attend, please contact so that we can have your rehearsal packet in the Cheel lobby at the information table, starting at Noon, on Saturday prior to the commencement ceremony.                                                                                                

Further details on Commencement and rehearsal will be sent to you late in April or the first week of May.  If at any time you change your mind regarding your participation in the Commencement program for May 2017, please inform Student Administrative Services at (315)268-6451 or through e-mail at promptly.  Detailed seating of the graduates is an important factor in Commencement.

The University Bookstore with Jostens coordinates the ordering of all regalia (cap and gown).  All regalia must be ordered on-line through Jostens by March 12, 2017. Your pre-ordered regalia may be picked up at the University Bookstore on Thursday, May 4 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Friday, May 5 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  The University Bookstore will be sending all graduating students a price sheet with payment options to their Clarkson email.  Payment is required at the time of pick-up.  Jostens also has available for order diploma frames, graduation announcements, thank you notes and gifts.  If you have any questions, please email the bookstore at or call 315-265-9260.

Jostens link
The basic attire for all graduating students is black academic regalia ("cap and gown") with a black tassel. Doctoral degree candidates will have an antique gold tassel. In keeping with the formality of Commencement, additional adornments are limited. The variations allowed are as follows:

Students graduating with a master's or doctoral degree:

  • Please be sure to indicate that you are receiving either a master's or doctoral degree gown when you order your regalia. Although the gowns for each type of degree are black, there are slight differences in cut and doctoral gowns also have black velvet bands.
  • You must also order the appropriate colored hood for the degree received. Master's degree candidates process into the arena wearing their hoods. Doctoral degree candidates will drape their hood over their left arm as they will have their hood placed on them on stage by their advisor.

Students graduating with a bachelor degree:

  • Honor graduates with a GPA of 3.75 or higher are eligible to wear a gold honor cord. Such students will be given their honor cords at Commencement rehearsal on Friday, May 12.
  • Honor graduates with a GPA of 3.25 or higher will also receive a gold tassel.
  • Members of academic honor societies are also eligible to wear their designated stole, cord, or sash. Students possessing several such adornments should choose one.

Cap and Gown Distribution                                                                           
Regalia will be available April 27th from 9:00am-5:00pm and April 28th  from 9:00am – 5:00pm at the University Bookstore.  All regalia must be ordered on-line through Jostens at the link below by March 12, 2017.  Please contact the University Bookstore directly if you have any questions on your order through email at or call 315-265-9260.  After March 6th  you will be required to call Jostens at 1-800-854-7464 to order your cap and gown.  

All students who plan to attend Commencement must have ordered and reserved their tickets through their Student Center in PeopleSoft. Each Student will receive 4 guest tickets.

Graduates will pick up their tickets at the commencement rehearsal on Friday, May 12 at 10:30 AM. We will have a live stream of the ceremony and will show it on the video wall in the Barben Rooms located in the Cheel Campus Center (2nd floor) for any guests unable to acquire a ticket for the arena. The post-commencement celebration for Undergraduate students on the Cheel Lawn will be able to accommodate all family and friends. 

Seating will be assigned at random, with an assigned seat per ticket. The graduates should be sure to give tickets to their guests before the doors open. Graduates can arrange to have the tickets held at the Information Table near the Cheel Campus Center's first-floor Kodak Lounge for their guests if they can't deliver them personally.

No one without a ticket will be admitted prior to the start of the exercises. Graduates should explain the ticket policy to their families and plan accordingly.

Seating Arrangements for Guests with Disabilities
The Cheel Campus Center and Cheel Arena are accessible to guests with disabilities. 

If your guest requires tickets for a wheel chair accessible seating area, sign language interpreter or visually impaired seating area or any other accessible accommodation these tickets will be available to request when you order your commencement tickets online.

A special section of the Cheel Arena is being reserved for those guests using wheelchairs. One family caregiver will be permitted to sit next to the guest's wheelchair. 

Guests with tickets for accessible seating will need to enter the arena using the canopied exterior door to the front entrance of Cheel Arena.  This entrance will have a sign indicating that it is for such ticket holders.

If we are made aware that a particular graduate will have a guest needing such interpretation services, the interpreter will sign that graduate's name to the audience as well as interpreting the remarks and songs. If you have any questions or concerns regarding accommodative seating, please email

Honorary Degrees
At the ceremonies, the University will confer honorary degrees on several distinguished individuals in recognition of their achievements in a wide variety of endeavors and service. 

In order to provide the individualized atmosphere where each graduate receives his or her own certificate personally and to complete the exercises in approximately two and a half hours, we are not able to allow parents and friends to come down the aisles to the stage for photos. The University has arranged for a professional photographer, Genesee Photo Systems, to take an individual photo of each graduate. The photographer is skilled and equipped to perform this service. This technique has been used very successfully since 1981.

Genesee Photo Systems will post proofs online on their Web site ( soon after the ceremony. You may order photographs directly from their Web site.  Please contact Genesee Photo Systems at 800-345-7427 for additional photograph-related questions.  Within safety limits, we will permit video cameras to operate from behind the last row of seats so long as the aisles are not congested.

Children requiring their own seating will need tickets. The exercises last for approximately two and a half hours, a long time for an infant or young child. There is no nursery or childcare provided. Parents are asked to be sensitive to those around them so that all may enjoy the ceremonies. If parents must take their children out of the arena, they are welcome to continue watching the ceremony in the Kodak Lounge on the first floor of the Campus Center. We broadcast Commencement via Time Warner Cable on channel 30 (WCKN), and a feed (including audio) is provided in the Kodak Lounge on the first floor of Cheel Campus Center.

ROTC Commissioning
On Friday, May 12, at 3 p.m., the Army and Air Force ROTC detachments will conduct their Commissioning Ceremony in Cheel Arena. Please contact Captain Sara Ong at or call 315/268-7989 or Scott Toth at or at 315-268-7705 for more details and updates.

On Friday, May 12 at 5 p.m., graduates will be honored at an ecumenical baccalaureate service being held at the The Baccalaureate Service will be at Trinity Episcopal Church this year (8 Maple St, Potsdam, NY). Graduates, families, and guests of all faiths and spiritual traditions are invited to attend this special event including student readings and musical performances of many faiths.

On-Campus Guest Room Accommodations                                                                                                     
We are happy to offer guest room accommodations in our residence halls for parents and guests. Please make your reservations by submitting the On-Campus Room Reservation form beginning March 1. Room reservations will be open until the limited number of available rooms is gone or until May 1, whichever comes first. Exact location of rooms will not be determined until May 12.  Guests can also see hotel accommodations or bed & breakfast accommodations, however local hotels tend to be booked for Commencement well in advance.  
On campus dining options are viewable on the Commencement Schedule of Events. 

Traffic on the hill will be, for the most part, two-way. All campus entrances will be open. Please watch for signs to direct you. Guests with or dropping off disabled person(s) will be directed to the front of the Cheel Center, where they will be assisted by staff in discharging their disabled guests then directed onward for parking. Guests bringing campers, trailers or larger vehicles are invited to park at Walker Center where electricity and washrooms are available.  Guests staying in the residence halls should plan on walking to the ceremony or catching a ride on one of several golf carts that will be escorting guests around campus.  Guests with questions or concerns can call Campus Safety & Security at 315-268-6666.

Campus Map

For information on traveling to Clarkson, please see Visit Us, where you will find links to maps and directions.

Web Video Broadcast
Commencement will be broadcast live on the Internet at This link will be live at 10 am & then again at 2:30 pm on May 13.