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May Commencement 2018 (Master's & Ph.D.s)

In this Section
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Cheel Arena, 6 p.m.

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 2018 (Bachelor's Degrees). 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 2018 (Master's and Doctorate Degrees) will be on Thursday, May 10, 2018. This will be Clarkson's 125th Commencement. Exercises will be held in Cheel Arena in the Cheel Campus Center.

Schedule at a Glance
5:15 p.m. Doors open to Cheel Arena for all guests 
5:30 p.m. Graduates seated in their assigned seating section
5:45 p.m. All guests with seating tickets should be seated
5:50 p.m. Faculty and Stage Party Procession begins moving
6 p.m. 125th Commencement Ceremony (Master's & Ph.D.s) begins
Directly Following Graduates' Reception (location TBA)

Spectators are asked to remain seated during the procession to allow all to see better and be more comfortable as well.

If at any time you change your mind regarding your participation in the Commencement program for May 2018, 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 2018. Your pre-ordered regalia may be picked up at the University Bookstore in late April/early May. Students ordering regalia 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.  

Jostens link:
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. Doctoral degree candidates will have an antique gold tassel.

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.                                                         

All students who plan to attend Commencement must have ordered and reserved their tickets through their Student Center in PeopleSoft. Each student is guaranteed as many guest tickets as needed, but a number must be indicated on PeopleSoft. Seating will be assigned at random, with an assigned seat per ticket. 

Guests will be assigned to either a reserved seating ticket (the green seats around the Arena with an assigned row and seat number) or a floor seating ticket (open seating that is first come, first serve on the floor of the Arena).

Graduates will pick up their tickets on Wednesday, May 9 from Cheel Campus Center at a time TBA. 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
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

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. 

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 seat will need tickets. There is no nursery or childcare provided. Parents are asked to be sensitive to those around them so that all may enjoy the ceremonies. 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.

On Friday, May 11 at 5 p.m., graduates will be honored at an ecumenical baccalaureate service at a location yet to be announced for 2018. 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 in early 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 11. 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 when it becomes available. 

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.

Entering Cheel Arena
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. 

We ask that large bags, signs, weapons of any kind be kept out of the Arena for the comfort and safety of our guests.

Web Video Broadcast
Commencement will be broadcast live at starting at 6 p.m. on May 10.