Commencement 2022 update: Our plans for COVID-19 safety, guests and more


SUNY New Paltz is planning a Commencement weekend on May 20, 21 & 22, 2022, that resembles celebrations in 2019 and years prior: Three in-person ceremonies will be held across three days, with graduating students seated together and families, friends, faculty and staff cheering them on in person as they walk the stage.

Students must apply for their degree at to participate in Commencement. Please apply by Friday, March 25, to ensure that your name appears in the program. See here for instructions on applying for your degree.

With the caveat that all Commencement plans remain subject to change based on COVID-19 conditions, please continue reading for updates on our current expectations and policies for Commencement 2022.

Additional details, announcements and resources can be found at our Commencement website.


All three Commencement ceremonies will be held outdoors on the Old Main Quad, rain or shine

Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22, will begin at 10 a.m. on the Quad. The Saturday ceremony is for College of Liberal Arts & Sciences majors, and the Sunday ceremony is for majors in the Schools of Business, Education, Fine & Performing Arts and Science & Engineering.

The Friday, May 20, Graduate Commencement ceremony will take place on the Quad as well. It will begin at 6 p.m. that evening.

Only candidates and graduates from August 2021, December 2021, January 2022, May 2022 and August 2022 are eligible to participate.


Masks will be optional at Commencement

Following the campus pivot to a mask-optional policy for most indoor spaces, we will go with a similar model for the outdoor Commencement ceremonies. The College will support all students, faculty, staff and visitors who choose to wear masks during the events, but we will not require anyone to do so.


Graduating students may reserve up to four guest tickets

The College will provide reserved seating on the Old Main Quad for up to four guests per student, the same number as in pre-COVID ceremonies. Graduating students should keep an eye on their email for information coming soon about reserving guest tickets, which will include details on disability seating. We no longer plan to require guests to show proof of vaccination.

Extra guests may bring lawn chairs and view the ceremony from outside the reserved seating area. All three Commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed for those who are not able to attend in person.


COVID-19 testing for Commencement will mirror current campus policies

During the spring 2022 semester, SUNY New Paltz has required weekly testing of our unvaccinated campus population (students and employees). Those who are vaccinated and boosted are not required to test. Everyone is encouraged to get a test if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and to quarantine while they are experiencing symptoms.

These policies will remain in effect for Commencement. Students, faculty and staff who are vaccinated and boosted do not need to test. Those who are unvaccinated and/or unboosted should get a test prior to their ceremony. All participants and attendees should get a test if they experience COVID-19 symptoms prior to Commencement and to refrain from attending if they are experiencing symptoms.


Calling faculty and staff: Join us as marshals at this year’s celebration!

With each passing day, we are increasingly hopeful that this year’s Commencement will mark a return and a reinvigoration of this cherished end-of-academic-year tradition.

If you can safely and comfortably celebrate with us, we hope you will consider being there for what should be a very special weekend for our SUNY New Paltz community.

Please sign up using this form (you’ll need to be signed into your my.newpaltz account to register).

UUP employees who volunteer as Commencement marshals are eligible for compensation time, and CSEA employees are eligible for overtime. More information about those policies here.