Schedule at a Glance

2017 Commencement

1:15 p.m. Doors open to Cheel Arena for disabled guests and their escorts
1:25 p.m. Doors open to Cheel Arena for guests with floor tickets (first come, first serve)
1:30 p.m. - The student procession will form at outside on Cheel lawn alongside CAMP, between the Student Center, and the arena. If there is inclement weather, there will be no procession and students will find their seats inside Cheel Arena. 
1:35 p.m. Doors open to Cheel Arena for guests with reserved tickets
2:05 p.m. Student, Faculty and Stage Party Procession begins moving
2:30 p.m. Doors open to Cheel Arena concourse area for guests with standing room only tickets
2:30 p.m. 126th Commencement Ceremony begins
Immediately Following Graduates' Reception on Cheel Lawn (approximately 5 p.m.)

Information for Students Participating in Commencement

Student Participation in Commencement

Students eligible for graduation in May 2019 will receive notice from Student Administrative Services and will be required to fill out a form in PeopleSoft to indicate that they plan to graduate in the May 2019 ceremony. If at any time you change your mind regarding participation in the Commencement program for May 2019, you must 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.


Commencement Rehearsal

The rehearsal is extremely important! Commencement rehearsal on Friday, May 10 will be in Cheel Arena starting at 10:30 a.m., at which time the procedures for the graduation exercises will be reviewed, and Commencement tickets will be distributed to you. 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 Campus Center lobby at the information table, starting at Noon, on Saturday prior to the Commencement ceremony.


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 PeopleSoft so that the reader can properly pronounce your name. 



The University Bookstore with Jostens coordinates the ordering of all regalia (cap and gown).  All regalia must be ordered on-line through Jostens by early March. Your pre-ordered regalia may be picked up at the University Bookstore in late April/early May. You will receive exact dates and times as the event approaches. 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. After the first week of March, you will be required to call Jostens at 1-800-854-7464 to order your cap and gown.  

Order Your Regalia from Jostens
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. 


Reserving Tickets for Guests

All students who plan to attend Commencement must reserve their guest tickets in PeopleSoft when completing their graduation application process. You do not need a ticket for yourself. Each student is guaranteed FOUR (4) guest tickets. You will receive an email to your Clarkson email indicating the cut off date to complete your graduation application and reserve your tickets. If you do not reserve them by the cut off date, there is no guarantee that you will receive any tickets. Seating will be assigned at random, with an assigned seat or section per ticket. The Arena is filled to maximum capacity, so some seats may be behind or to the side of the main stage. 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 on Cheel Lawn directly following this ceremony will be able to accommodate all family and friends.

Commencement tickets will be picked up on Friday, May 10 at the rehearsal.


Types of Tickets

Ticket assignments are done at random. There are three types of tickets that your guests may be assigned:

  • a reserved ticket (the green seats around the Arena with an assigned row and seat number)
  • a floor ticket (open seating that is first come, first serve on the floor level of the Arena); or
  • a standing room only ticket (guests can stand on the top concourse of the Arena)

Tickets will be color coded by these three groupings for easy recognition by staff.


Ticket Pick Up & Hand Off

Graduates will pick up their tickets at the Commencement rehearsal on Friday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m. Be sure to give tickets to your guests before the doors open. You 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 you can't deliver them personally. No one without a ticket will be admitted. Please share and explain the ticketing policies to your guests and plan accordingly.


Ticketing for Guests Requesting Accommodative Services

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 Campus Center.  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

Students participating in Commencement will be emailed information regarding ticketing procedures and will be encouraged to share the information with their guests.

A online ticket lottery will be held at the end of March in which students can try to get a couple of additional tickets based on a first come first served basis. Students will be notified of the amount of tickets they will received by April 8.

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. The "Schedule at a Glance" at the top of this page should be used to understand when guests should enter the Arena based on type of ticket. 

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.


Live Web Video Broadcast

For those guests unable to attend Commencement, the ceremony will be broadcast live at starting at 2:30 p.m. on May 11.


Traveling to Clarkson University

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


On-Campus 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 in March. 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 10.

Commencement Dining Hours

Due to the end of the semester and academic year, our current dining service hours can be found at the link below

Commencement Dining Schedule

Dining Information

On campus dining options are viewable on the Commencement Schedule of Events when it becomes available. 

Guests who wish to dine off campus are encouraged to make reservations in advance due to high demand over the course of the weekend. Guests are encouraged to make dinner reservations after the ceremony for approximately 5:30 or 6 p.m., depending on preference for attending the post-Commencement celebration on Cheel Lawn starting directly after the ceremony. 


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.


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.


Bringing Children to Commencement

Children requiring their own seat 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. 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. If parents must take their children out of the Arena, they are welcome to continue watching the ceremony in the Barben Rooms on the second floor of the Campus Center, where a live feed (including audio) and viewing area are provided. We broadcast Commencement via Time Warner Cable on channel 30 (WCKN) and online. A lactation room for nursing mothers is also available on the second floor of Cheel Campus Center and signs will lead guests in need of the space to the right location.

Commencement-Related Activities

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. 

ROTC Commissioning

On Friday, May 10, at 3 p.m., the Army and Air Force ROTC detachments will conduct their Commissioning Ceremony in Cheel Arena. Please contact Scott Toth at or at 315-268-7705 for more details and updates.


On Saturday, May 10, from 11-11:45 a.m. in the Snell Atrium, graduates will be honored at an ecumenical Baccalaureate Service. Graduates, families and guests of all faiths and spiritual traditions are invited to attend this special event, which includes student readings and musical performances.