Information for Students Participating in Commencement

Student Participation in Commencement

Students eligible for graduation in May 2021 will receive notice from Student Administrative Services and will be required to fill out a form on myCU to indicate that they plan to graduate in the May 2021 ceremony. If at any time you change your mind regarding participation in the Commencement program for May 2021, you must inform Commencement at (315)268-6451 or through e-mail at promptly. Detailed seating of the graduates is an important factor in Commencement.

How do you complete the online Graduation Application?       
1.  Students will be notified once the application is available in myCU.
2.  Log into myCU.
3.  You will automatically be directed to complete the Graduation Application, or you can access the application on your Task & Holds tile.
4.  Please read all instructions carefully and complete the application, all students must complete the application even if they do not plan to attend the commencement ceremony. Note: This does not reserve your tickets, ticket information will be sent out after April 15th to your Clarkson email address.

Diplomas, Seating Order & Name Pronunciation

You will not receive your actual diploma during Commencement. Instead, you will be able to sit with your friends and classmates in any order and receive a blank diploma cover. Your diploma will be mailed to you after Commencement. You will be given a card with your name on it to give to the name reader during the handing out of degrees during the ceremony. Please make sure to give the phonetic spelling of your full name in MyCU so that the reader can properly pronounce your name. 

Reserving Tickets for Guests - Limited to 2 guests per graduate 

Ticket instructions will be sent out after April 15, so please watch your Clarkson email for information on how to select seats for your tickets. Tickets are not transferable to other students - you must be attending.  

If you have questions about the ticket process or you have a new guest with any mobility, vision or hearing concerns, or any other special needs, email Complete the Commencement Disabled Seating Request Form by April 15, 2021, to ensure your guests have the proper seating accommodations.

Each student is guaranteed TWO (2) guest tickets; graduates do not need a ticket for themselves.

Under current NYS guidance, all in person participants inclusive of both students and guests will be required to submit proof of a negative result from COVID-19 testing and meet all NYS travel advisory guidelines/ mandatory quarantines in effect on the dates of the ceremonies. More details on the process for sharing this information will be forthcoming based on evolving NYS guidance.

Clarkson has a ticketing system for Commencement; students will receive the ticket link via email when available, where they will be able to reserve their tickets for their TWO (2) guaranteed tickets. Please note that the arena will be filled to maximum capacity based on NYS Guidelines - some seats may be behind or to the side of the main stage. There will also be a live stream of each ceremony for guests who are not able to attend in person.

Our ticketing system allows graduates several options to receive their graduation tickets.

  1. Print at home and scan at the entrance

  2. Download to a mobile device and scan bar code at the entrance

  3. Send link to their guests to complete one of the above

*Important Note: tickets can only be scanned one time and a handstamp will be given for re-entry

Tickets need to be given to guests before the doors open. No one without a ticket will be admitted. The ticketing policies must be shared with guests in advance to ensure the ability to plan accordingly.

Taking Photos at Commencement

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.

Commencement Rehearsal

There will be no rehearsal for the May 2021 ceremonies.


The Clarkson Bookstore will have a large inventory of basic black Clarkson Regalia available for purchase. Please use the link below to pre order yours today! Regalia will be available for pickup at the Clarkson Bookstore one week before the commencement ceremony. Questions regarding your order should be directed to The University Bookstore at or 315-268-4300.

If you have already placed an order with Jostens, there is no need to reorder through the Bookstore.

Click here to reserve your cap and gown

Jostens carries diploma frames, graduation announcements, thank you notes and gifts.

The basic attire for all graduating students is black academic regalia ("cap and gown") with a black tassel. In keeping with the formality of Commencement, additional adornments are limited. 

  • Students graduating with a bachelor's 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 10.
  • 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.  
Ticketing for Guests Requesting Accommodative Services

Cheel Campus Center and Cheel Arena are accessible to guests with disabilities. If you have a new guest with any mobility, vision or hearing concerns, or any other special needs, email Complete the Commencement Disabled Seating Request Form by April 15, 2021, to ensure your guests have the proper seating accommodations.

A special section of the Cheel Arena will be reserved for those guests using wheelchairs. One 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 front entrance of Cheel Campus Center. This entrance will be identified that it is for such ticket holders.

Upon advanced request, to the Clarkson Events Team, any graduate who has a guest needing interpretation services, the interpreter will sign that graduate's name to the audience in addition to interpreting the remarks and songs.

Bringing Children to Commencement

Children will be required to have a ticket. 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. However, there is a lactation room located on the second floor as well as changing stations in the first floor restrooms. Parents are asked to be sensitive to those around them so that all may enjoy the ceremony. We broadcast Commencement via Time Warner Cable on channel 30 (WCKN) and online. 

Information for Guests Attending Commencement

Entering Cheel Campus Center

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. 

Tickets are required and will be checked by staff upon entry into the Arena. 

We ask that large bags, signs, weapons of any kind be kept out of the Arena for the comfort and safety of our guests. Guests are asked to remain seated during the ceremony unless asked to rise to allow all guests a comfortable, safe and positive experience.

Guests unable to attend any of our Commencement ceremonies can watch a live broadcast.

Live Web Video Broadcast


Traveling to Clarkson University

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


Parking Information

Traffic on the hill campus 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 Campus 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.

ROTC Commissioning in Cheel Arena

Details on the 2021 ROTC Commissioning will be forthcoming.

Important Commencement-Related Dates

March 26 - Regalia order deadline (Jostens regalia order)

TBD – Request any special seating needs for your guests with disabilities. (Disabled seating request)

TBD - Graduation Application needs to be completed in MyCU

*Ticket information will only go to those who have completed their application.

TBD - Ticket Instructions will be emailed to graduates who completed their application

TBD - Graduates will receive a link to reserve their TWO (2) guaranteed seats in the arena   

May 4-15 during regular Bookstore hours - Downtown Clarkson Bookstore-Pre-ordered Regalia pickup 

TBD - Student Center Forum - Last Lectures