Utica University Commencement: What you need to know


Utica University

Former Editor-in-Chief Nick McAdam (left) and Utica RA and Student Ambassador Peter Gaughan (right) at 2021 Commencement.

Utica University will hold its Commencement ceremony for undergraduate students on Thursday, May 12 at 5 p.m., and graduate students on Friday, May 13 at 4 p.m. Both ceremonies will be held at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Since commencement is a university-wide ceremony for all undergraduate and graduate degree candidates, each ceremony is projected to last around two hours.

Students who are anticipating graduation and want to participate in Commencement this semester must apply for their degree and must submit the Commencement Participation Form no later than March 15. Failure to do so will result in a student not being able to graduate and not being able to participate in the Commencement ceremony.

Executive Director of College Events and Conference Programs Joni Pulliam said these processes are essential if students want to graduate and participate in the Commencement ceremony. 

“If someone is planning to graduate and participate in Commencement, they need to do their applications for their degree and for their RSVPs for Commencement so they can attend,” Pulliam said.

If you have any other questions regarding graduation and Commencement, here are some of the answers to the more frequently asked questions:

What are the requirements for walking in Commencement?

In order to qualify for graduation and walk in Commencement, students are required to meet the total credit hours required for their program and apply to graduate. Once eligibility has been established, graduates can apply to walk in Commencement.

Students who graduated in the previous summer (August 2021) or fall (December 2021) semesters are eligible to walk in May Commencement. Students who are graduating this May and upcoming August are also eligible to walk during these ceremonies.

If a student graduated more than two semesters prior to this ceremony, they are not eligible to walk. Students are also not allowed to walk in more than one Commencement per program.

Is Commencement in-person for May 2022?

As of now, both the undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies will take place in-person in the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Utica University currently anticipates a maskless Commencement ceremony for both undergraduate and graduate students, but it is too early to tell how COVID-19 will impact New York State and Oneida County policies.

“If Commencement was held this week, it would most definitely be maskless,” Pulliam said. “Unfortunately, COVID can change week-by-week and month-by-month. Our hope is that come May, that the infection rate will continue to be low and we won’t have to require masks.”

Shuttle bus transportation will be available to-and-from the Adirondack Bank Center from the Utica University main campus. The shuttle bus service will begin approximately 90 minutes prior to each Commencement ceremony from Strebel Circle and there is no charge for the shuttle bus.

Both guests and graduating students should plan to arrive at the Adirondack Bank Center at least 30-45 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. This will give the guests and participants enough time to go through security.

Are tickets for guests required to attend?

The 2022 Commencement will mark the first time in recent memory where tickets will be required for guests to attend, according to Pulliam.

Each degree candidate will be receiving six tickets for guest seating, and the tickets are included in the student’s regalia package.

Since the Commencement tickets are general admission, there is no assigned seating and guests are encouraged to sit where they feel comfortable. 

Students who are graduating and small children under the age of two do not require a ticket for admission. Students who have unused tickets are encouraged to share them with other graduating students, to make sure none go to waste.

For any questions regarding accommodations for those who require handicap accessible seating or individuals with special needs, guests can contact the Office of College Events and Conference Programs at either (315) 792-3344, or email Joni Pulliam at [email protected].

When will degrees/diplomas be awarded to graduates?

May graduates are expected to receive their degrees in mid-July, and the physical diplomas are expected to ship out by the end of July/early August.

August graduates are expected to receive their degrees and diplomas by mid-October to early November.

If a diploma arrives damaged, graduates can email a photo of the damaged document to the Utica University Registrar’s office or mail the damaged document back to the university. A new diploma will be issued to students if this does occur.

Is there anything else I should know?

For undergraduate students, the Undergraduate Commencement Rehearsal will be held on Wednesday, May 11 at Strebel Student Center. 

Undergraduate students are allowed to decorate their caps, as long as the decorations are appropriate and will not be offensive to others, according to Pulliam. However, graduate students are not permitted to decorate their caps.

Two sign language interpreters will be at both the undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies and these interpreters will be located near the stage, as well as projected on the jumbotron screens.

Personal items should be limited at the ceremonies as there is no storage area or check-in for personal belongings. Backpacks and large purses are also not allowed inside the Adirondack Bank Center during the ceremony.

What if my question wasn’t answered?

If you have any remaining questions, visit https://www.utica.edu/commencement, as the information on the website is updated regularly.