Commencement Guest Policy

On April 12, New York State released guidelines for commencement allowing Colgate to proceed with a commencement ceremony that allows for up to two guests per graduate in Andy Kerr Stadium on May 9. The deadline for registering guests has passed.

Graduating students provided the contact information for their guests, and the Commencement Executive Committee has been sending guests weekly email updates. If you have not received any communications and believe you should be a registered guest, please contact Only registered guests will be permitted to attend the ceremony on May 9.

Registered guests should refer to their emails for the most specific instructions relevant to them.

All guests are expected to adhere to Public Health Guidelines.

When Visiting Hamilton

While on campus, the University asks that you abide by the following University policies during your time in Hamilton. These guidelines and protocols were established to slow the spread of COVID-19 infection.

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times while on campus and in the Village of Hamilton.
  • Physical/social distancing must be maintained as much as possible.
  • Good hand hygiene is practiced frequently.
  • No guests are allowed in any University buildings.

For the health and safety of the broader Hamilton community, Colgate also requests that you:

  • Minimize your time in Hamilton;
  • Limit the number of people coming to Hamilton to only those guests registered to attend the Commencement on Sunday, May 9;
  • Refrain from having or attending any large social gatherings, which are at high risk for virus transmission. In New York State, large gatherings are defined as 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors.

Testing and Vaccination Verification

In order to welcome registered guests into the ceremony venue, the University requires:

  • Proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination with the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine (at least two weeks after a second dose of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single-dose J&J vaccine. In order to meet vaccination requirements, your final dose would need to be received no later than April 24.) or
  • a positive COVID-19 test, dated Feb. 8–April 28 or
  • a negative PCR test, taken no earlier than May 6, or
  • a negative antigen test, taken the morning of May 9.


Our check-in process will require a review of your COVID-19 vaccine/testing documentation in order to receive your ticket. You must bring a photo ID and valid paper documentation — whether it is serving as your primary form of documentation or a backup to a digital passport app.

  • For proof of vaccination status, please bring the hard copy of your CDC-issued vaccination card, not a photo.
  • Testing documentation, also in hard copy, should include:

    • Name

    • Birthdate

    • Type of test

    • Date of test

    • Test result

To help speed up the check-in process, please consider using the NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet (for NYS residents) or the IBM Digital Health Pass Wallet to show secure, digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative PCR test results. Download your preferred software via the App Store or Google Play. That said, it is extremely important that you bring paper documentation in case of technical issues on the day of commencement.

To upload your vaccine card to the IBM Digital Health Pass Wallet, visit and follow the on-screen instructions.* 

 *note you do not need to enter your passport number


Frequently Asked Questions

There are a number of testing sites available locally, listed below.

  • Understand the result times are not guaranteed and cost may be out of pocket as insurance may not cover this testing
  • Individuals should call the location for more information
  • PCR Testing must be done May 6 or later; rapid antigen testing must be done within 6 hrs of the event
  • More NYS Testing Sites
Site Address Phone Number Type of testing Result Time
Doughertys 14 E Main St, Morrisville, NY 315-684-3171 PCR 2-3 days
  1017 Madison Marketplace Hamilton, NY 315-825-9800 Rapid Antigen 15 minutes
New York State Covid-19 Testing Griffiss International Airport Rome, NY 1-888-364-3065 PCR 2-3 days
Rite Aid 1067 State Route 22, Cortland NY 607-753-3029 PCR 1-3 days
  4854 Commercial Drive, New Hartford NY 315-736-5232 PCR 1-3 days
  46 Kellogg Rd, New Hartford, NY 13413 315-735-1252 PCR 1-3 days
  5380 West Taft Road, N. Syracuse NY 315-458-8555 PCR 1-3 days
  519 Butternut St, Syracuse, NY 315-471-1204 PCR 1-3 days
  1924 Genesee St, Utica, NY 315-792-9595 PCR 1-3 days
  141 Oriskany Blvd, Whitesboro, NY 315-736-4943 PCR 1-3 days
Primary Urgent Care 1904 Genesee St Utica NY 315-804-6800 PCR 1-2 days
      Rapid Antigen 18 minutes
CVS 39 Meadow St, Clinton, NY 315-853-5528 PCR 1-2 days
  312 Fayette St, Manlius, NY 315-682-1918 PCR 1-2 days

Guests will be directed to one of four predetermined locations immediately outside of the stadium to pick up their ticket, have their temperature taken, and show proof of vaccination/negative test. Once the health screening is complete, guests will be ushered into the stadium to their designated seating area. Seating within the designated areas will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Stickers will be utilized to guide physical distancing requirements.  

Once in the venue, we request that you do not leave. Restrooms and drinking water will be available. There will be no other food/beverage for purchase, so please plan accordingly.

Parking will be available all over campus, outside of the venue. Please see the campus map for parking options and to find a location in proximity to your point of entry.

There are a number of beautiful spots on campus to take pictures. A large “2021” sign will be placed on Whitnall Field. We ask that graduates identify a location meaningful to them and that they and their guests observe public health guidelines, including physical distancing, and cooperate with each other in taking turns at popular sites.

Registered guests can begin checking in at 8 a.m. To manage crowd flow, registered guests will be assigned a specific check-in time and tent. There will be four predetermined seating areas at Andy Kerr Stadium, and guests will be assigned to a seating area.

Instructions and check-in times will be sent to registered guests via email.

The number of guests is determined by capacity of Andy Kerr Stadium, specifically, the event can have a total of 2,013 people (20% capacity of Kerr Stadium), and that number will include the graduates, staff, speakers, and guests. We are allocating an equitable number of guests for each graduate, and all guests have been registered in advance.

Tickets for registered guests are non-transferable. 

Guests registered for the commencement ceremony should not separately complete the regular Parent/Family Travel Registration form.

No. Graduating students were asked to register their guests by March 30. If you are a registered guest, you should be receiving emails from the Commencement Executive Committee, which has sent weekly messages since April 2.

All guests must be registered. If the sibling was registered, then they can attend. Guest slots are limited to two per graduate, based upon New York State guidance and capacity limit of Kerr Stadium.

Seniors will be asked to register their guests’ mobility or ASL accessibility requirements so that we can accommodate their participation on Sunday, May 9. ASL interpreters will be available during the commencement ceremony. Commencement Coordinator Michele Carney ( will follow up with any specific details.


The in-person event at Andy Kerr Stadium will take place even if it rains. The event will only move to a fully virtual format in the case of severe weather conditions. The decision to move to a fully virtual event will be announced around 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 9.


Colgate University officials monitor weather conditions prior to and during the torchlight ceremony. In the event of high winds, lightning or other weather conditions that may have an adverse impact on the ceremony, university officials will transmit emergency instructions via the outdoor warning system, including notification for evacuation of persons from the torchlight route. Please pay close attention and follow instructions given on the emergency message and any instructions from campus safety and police officers.

Unfortunately, due to pandemic-related public health concerns, the residence halls are unavailable for guests.

Guests are limited to the Sunday morning commencement ceremony only. Any other in-person events will be held solely for the members of the senior class.

The traditional Baccalaureate Service, to be held Saturday afternoon at 3:30, will be a live streamed event that anyone can watch on their device. Details and a link will be shared in the coming weeks.

The traditional Senior Torchlight Procession will be for seniors only. Guests will not be permitted on campus.