College announces new changes to the spring Undergraduate Commencement ceremony

Beginning May 2017, SUNY New Paltz will split Undergraduate Commencement into two main ceremonies, with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10:00 a.m., and the Schools of Science & Engineering; Business; Education; and Fine & Performing Arts; on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Both ceremonies will take place on the Old Main Quad.

The Graduate Commencement ceremony will continue to be held on Friday evening – May 19, 2017 – in the Athletic and Wellness Center.

As New Paltz students continue to achieve new levels of success and undergraduate enrollments remain steady, the College’s graduation rates have increased. As a result, more students have become eligible and chose to participate in the Undergraduate Commencement. In 2016, nearly 2,000 students were eligible, roughly 1,400 participated, and there were approximately 9,000-10,000 people at the ceremony.

According to College officials, the additional participating graduates and their families and friends have added to the celebratory atmosphere of the event, but peak participation has also brought new logistical challenges. As the largest single gathering of the campus community and guests, the safety and security of the event continues to be among the College’s top priorities.

“At New Paltz, we value preserving this attention on the individual graduate. Splitting the ceremony allows us to continue this practice while also creating a more secure and manageable program, and overall experience for graduates, their families and friends,” said President Donald P. Christian.

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