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Important Commencement Information For May Graduates

Potsdam, N.Y. – The Commencement Planning Committee, a working group of student, faculty and staff representatives charged with accomplishing the Commencement exercises, has provided this article to explain some of the key points about Commencement '98 to students in general, and especially to the graduating seniors, graduate students, and their families. We urge them to save the article and share it with their families.

Time and Location: Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 1998 will be on Sunday, May 17. This will be Clarkson's 105th commencement. Exercises will be held in the Cheel Arena of the Cheel Campus Center.

The leading element of the procession will enter the arena promptly at 10:15 a.m. Spectators should all plan to be at their seats by 10:00 a.m. Doors will open for guests with tickets at 9:00 a.m. Only doors into the arena from inside the Campus Center will be used for spectator entry. The procession will include approximately 600 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.

Weather permitting, the procession will form outside on the quad between the Cheel Campus Center and the CAMP Building, and proceed to the Arena. In case of bad weather, there are alternate procedures. The procession and the ceremonies will be explained in detail at the rehearsal.

Rehearsal: The rehearsal is important! It is held on Saturday, May 16, at 10:00 a.m. in the Cheel Arena. It is at this time that the details of seating, procession entry, recession exit and awarding of diplomas will be explained. Graduates will need this information to tell guests where to look for them and where to meet them. It is at rehearsal that guest tickets are issued to graduates who are participating in the exercises.

Tickets: The number of graduates planning to participate and the limited number of seats that can be safely provided in the Arena necessitate a firm procedure for the fair and equitable distribution of tickets. Each graduate who participates in the exercises will be given five tickets that admit the holder to the Arena. Seating is on a "first come– first served" basis. Be sure to give tickets to guests before the doors open. Graduates can arrange to have the tickets held at a table in the vicinity of Cheel's Grumman Information Desk 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.

Housing: The Student Life Housing Office each year coordinates the limited housing of guests of graduates on campus in residence halls. A letter detailing these accommodations has been mailed already to your home address. We recommend making reservations and submitting the required deposit as soon as possible. While graduates living in dorms will be allowed to remain on campus, all other students are reminded that the dorms are closed as of 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 9.

Photos: In order to retain the ability to have the individualized atmosphere where each graduate receives his or her own diploma personally, and to complete the exercises in about two 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, New York Graduation Foto, to take an individual photo of each graduate. The photographer is skilled and equipped to perform this service. The photographer will contact each graduate at his or her home address following Commencement, will provide a free photo proof, and will provide additional copies, for a fee, if desired. This technique has been used very successfully since 1981. The photographer will also provide this service for the ROTC Commissioning.

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.

Accommodations for Disabled Guests: The Cheel Campus Center and the Cheel Arena are accessible to guests with disabilities. The following information has been provided to parents via the letter from Student Life Housing mentioned above: "A special section of the Cheel Arena is being reserved for those guests using wheelchairs. One (1) family caregiver will be permitted to sit next to the guest's wheelchair. Two (2) additional family ticket holders will be seated in an area adjacent to the reserved section. Due to space limitations, any additional family or friend ticket holders will need to seek general seating in the Arena. Family or friends are requested to complete the card enclosed in the letter and return it before May 8 to assure seating explained above."

Guests desiring seating near rest rooms or exits, or who have difficulty negotiating stairs should plan to have a member of the party at the Cheel Center when the doors open to secure seating in the top rows or on the arena floor. The ceremonies are sound amplified, and all seats have an excellent view of the stage. Guests who are hard of hearing or vision impaired are also encouraged to have a party member arrive early to secure general seating which seems most suited. There will be an American Sign Language Interpreter on the stage.

Simply put, plan ahead so we can be of assistance. Individuals arriving "unannounced" may have to wait until all who made prior arrangements have been accommodated before we can attempt to meet their needs. Note especially the paragraph above in italics.

Parking: Traffic on the hill will be, for the most part, two-way. The CAMP access road,will be one-way-only directed into the campus from Route 11. Parents staying in the residence halls should plan to walk to the Cheel Center. Drivers will be assisted to discharge disabled guests close to the Cheel Center main doors; however, the driver will then be directed onward for parking.

Children: There is no nursery or child care provided. The exercises last for two hours, a long time for an infant or young child. Children requiring their own seating will need tickets. Parents are asked to be sensitive to those around them so that all may enjoy the ceremonies.

Honorary Degrees: At the ceremonies, the University will confer honorary degrees on several distinguished individuals in recognition of their achievements in wide varieties of endeavors and service. Each of these individuals has been charged to give a short, but important message to the graduates. More information about each of these individuals will be available in upcoming new releases.

Other Events: There are other highlights of Senior Week and Commencement Weekend that bear mentioning. On Saturday, May 16, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., President Denny Brown and his wife, Dr. Anne Williams, will host a reception in honor of the graduates and their families at the Hepburn House at 71 Pierrepont Avenue. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce parents to faculty, staff, the University's Board of Trustees and honorary degree recipients who will be there.

Also on Saturday, May 16, at 2:00 p.m. the Army and Air Force ROTC Detachments will conduct their Commissioning Exercise in the Cheel Arena. Please contact them for more details.

On Saturday evening, May 16, at 5:30 p.m., graduates will be honored by a non-denominational baccalaureate service at the First Presbyterian Church at Lawrence Avenue and Elm Street. All graduates, families and guests are welcome.

Senior Class events are being planned. Seniors should pay attention to class mailings and The Integrator for details and changes. It is known that the class does plan a Saturday evening event to which parents and guests are welcome and will be invited. This is usually of interest to families and information about these plans are usually helpful as graduates' guests and families determine the duration of their housing/motel reservation.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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