Graduate Commencement Ceremony FAQs
Student Activities

Graduate Commencement Ceremony - May 2017
Frequently Asked Questions

Because the same questions often get asked over and over again, answers have been provided below to the most frequently asked questions.  If you do not see the answer to your question here, please contact us so that we may assist you.

The Graduate Commencement Ceremony will be on Saturday, May 6, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. at The Stanley Theatre.  There will be a reception immediately following the ceremony on the Utica College campus.  Graduate are welcome to bring guests to the ceremony and the reception.
At Utica College, commencement is a ceremony held each May for students who completed their degree requirements and applied to receive their degree in December or May of the same academic year.  Students who complete their degree requirements in August may choose to participate in the Commencement Ceremony the May before or after they graduate.
All students wishing to participate in the May commencement ceremony MUST submit an online Application for Degree no later than April 1, regardless of the semester in which they anticipate completing their degree requirements (still select the appropriate graduation date – December, May, or August). Don’t forget to submit the RSVP – Attendance Notification form and Order their Regalia!
Yes, students wishing to participate in the Graduate Commencement Ceremony MUST notify Utica College of this intention by submitting the RSVP – Attendance Notification form by the April 1 deadline.  Failure to RSVP by the deadline means a student will NOT be allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony.  
To get your password go to, the same website you use to activate and reset passwords for your email, ENGAGE, and network accounts.  Enter your student ID number, last four digits of your social security number, and date of birth.  Remember to include all four numbers in the year of your birth. Click "Activate/Reset Account."

Where do we park?

There is limited parking, which is free, near The Stanley Theatre.  This includes a public city lot beside the Stanley, bank parking lots across from the Stanley, and street parking.  A complimentary shuttle service also will be provided between Utica College's campus and The Stanley Theatre before and after the Ceremony.  Buses will leave every few minutes from the circle in front of Strebel Student Center (located near the Champlin Avenue entrance), beginning around 1pm.  The LAST BUS to The Stanley Theatre will leave Utica College at 1:40 p.m.  NOTE:  Students participating in the ceremony MUST arrive at The Stanley Theatre no later than 1:30 p.m.

How do I obtain invitations for the commencement ceremony?

Provided by Utica College, invitations to the Graduate Commencement Ceremony (2 formal invitations for the student and 4 guest invitations) will be mailed out in early April to the following students:
     - all December 2016 graduates (regardless of intent to participate in commencement),
     - all May 2017 graduates (regardless of intent to participate in commencement),
     - the August 2016 graduates who did not participate in last May's commencement, and


How do I obtain documentation for my family, who lives in another country, to attend?

Graduates and their families traveling internationally will need to obtain a Visitor Visa. Forms and information regarding the Visa can be found here.  Current wait times and information can be found here.  Questions regarding international travel for Commencement can be directed to Dan O'Toole, Director of International Programs.

Are tickets needed for graduation?  Is there a limit to the number of guests?

Tickets are NOT needed for guests to attend the Graduate Commencement Ceremony.  However, space is limited, so seating is first-come-first-serve. Please be considerate and keep guest counts to 6 people or less.


Can children attend?

Well-behaved children can attend.  Please note that the Stanley Theatre is an historic performance theatre not designed for small children; do NOT allow children to stand in the seats or run in the aisles or lobby.  Due to limited seating, please hold children under the age of two years old on the lap of an adult or in the same seat as another guest (e.g., two small children sharing one seat).  If a child begins to cry or cannot behave, guests are asked to take the child out of the theatre and into the lobby so as not to disrupt the ceremony.
Students and their guests should expect the actual ceremony to last approximately two and a half hours; note that this time estimate does not include the early arrival time required for students and suggested for guests to ensure seating, nor does it include the reception after the ceremony. Students CANNOT leave the ceremony early. Please make travel and dining arrangements accordingly.
Utica College no longer provides students with graduate academic regalia.  Your academic regalia (cap, gown, and hood) must be ordered and purchased from the UC Bookstore either via the link on the Caps, Gowns, and Hoods webpage or in person at the UC Bookstore, located on the lower level in Strebel Student Center.  Ordering your regalia is a three-step process: (1) reserving your regalia based on size and academic program by April 1, (2) arranging payment with the UC Bookstore, and (3) arranging pickup or shipping of your regalia with the UC Bookstore.  Orders MUST be placed by the April 1 deadline to ensure receipt in time for participation in commencement.
No. Utica College has changed vendors as well as the color of the robes and hoods.
No, the logistics do not allow for such a request. Hoods will be placed around graduate students’ necks by their Program Chair/Director and their Academic Dean.  Once the ceremony is over, however, the stage is available to use for personal photographs.
Professional photographers will be present at both Commencement Ceremonies to take photographs of all graduates as they walk across the stage.  At the Graduate Commencement Ceremony, photographers may also be behind the stage and in the lobby taking pictures of graduates as they walk back to their seats.   A link to these photographs will be sent to each student’s UC e-mail address within 72 business hours of the Ceremony, and the pictures will be available for purchase on the photographer's website. There is no obligation to order copies of these photos.
During the ceremonies, graduating students and their guests are also welcome to take photographs from their seats.  Do NOT stand in the isle, walk to the stage, or go to the lobby to take pictures during the ceremonies!  Again, we ask that you take any photos during the ceremony FROM YOUR SEAT.  Once the ceremony is over, the stage will be available to use for personal photographs and provides a wonderful background.

Do grad students graduate with honors?

No.  At the graduate level students do not graduate with honors (e.g., Dean's List, President's List, Cum Laude, Valedictorian).  Such honors are only recognized at the undergraduate level.  Successfully completing an advanced degree at the graduate level is a significant accomplishment in and of itself due to higher academic standards (including the requirement to have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better to graduate), and this separate Graduate Commencement Ceremony is a special recognition of that achievement.

Do I still need to pay the $80 fee if I don't want to participate in Commencement?

Yes.  The $80 fee is used to help cover administrative costs of you graduating from Utica College (receiving your diploma), which is separate from participating in the commencement ceremony - graduation and commencement are two separate events (see Graduation Deadlines for clarification between the two).

If you have additional questions, you may contact the Commencement Committee at or the Office of Graduate Studies at or (315) 792-3335.

What is the dress code?

The Stanley is a formal, historic setting, therefore business casual attire is strongly recommended.   During the ceremony students will be wearing their academic regalia. Please keep this in mind when planning what to wear, while The Stanley is air conditioned, it can become warm under academic regalia.  Students are strongly encouraged to wear sensible footwear as the ceremony will include standing for long periods of time, walking, and navigating stairs.


Commencement Committee
(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502