Commencement Information for Parents and Families


General Information

All events during commencement weekend are optional for parents and families. Most families choose to arrive on campus on the Friday of commencement weekend.

There is no dress code, and attendees are encouraged to consider the weather and wear what is comfortable for them. Note that events occur in locations across the campus, and comfortable footwear may be a necessity.

The commencement ceremony itself runs for approximately 2 ½ hours.

Ceremony Tickets

In the event that inclement weather forces the ceremony indoors, tickets will be needed for admission to Sanford Field House. Each senior may request up to six (6) tickets and has been instructed on how to do so.

Additional tickets may be available after the deadline; seniors can contact Michele Carney at in late April to inquire.

Closed-circuit viewing of the ceremony will be available at The Class of 1965 Arena for additional family members who would like to attend the event, or for guests that do not want to sit outside for the ceremony.

Senior Dinner and Ice Cream Social

A dinner will be held for all graduates and their guests the Friday night of  commencement weekend. Seniors are asked to RSVP on behalf of their families when they reserve their commencement ceremony tickets.

A Cappella Concerts

Admission to a cappella concerts is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets will not be issued or required.

Picnic and Beverage Policy

Graduating seniors may have private picnics during commencement weekend in designated locations on university-owned property: adjacent to residence halls, university-owned student housing on Broad and College streets, and Townhouses, between the hours of 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday during commencement weekend. Free-standing canopies may be used; however, stakes and tents are not permitted. The prohibition on open containers will remain in place, with the exception of the specific location of the picnic during these designated time frames. Kegs are not permitted on University property at any time.

Graduation Announcements

Announcements can be ordered online from Jostens.


Official 2019 commencement photos will be provided by Island Photography. Each graduate will be photographed three times. These images will be made available to you by email within 48 hours after the ceremony and 3 to 5 days by US mail. There is no obligation to purchase.

To ensure you receive the link to your photos, register here prior to the ceremony.

Graduation Gifts

Colgate Bookstore

The Colgate Bookstore offers a number of suitable gifts for a graduate.


Bouquets for your graduate may be purchased at the commencement site on the morning of the ceremony. To place an order in advance, contact Wildflowers at 607-591-6137.

Yearbooks (Salmagundi)

Order your student’s 2019 Salmagundi here.

Baccalaureate Service

Limited seating for parents and families is available for the Baccalaureate Service. Families who wish to attend should arrive early, but seating is not guaranteed. Overflow seating will be available in nearby Lawrence and Alumni Halls, where the event will be video streamed. More information about the Baccalaureate Service