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Commencement Ceremony

History and Traditions of Commencement

A commencement ceremony ranks among the most formal ceremonies in an academic institution and involve centuries-old traditions that have their roots in medieval secular and religious institutions. Here is a description of some of the more important aspects of the ceremony.

  • Presidential Chain of Office

    The Chain of Office, also commonly referred to as the Presidential Medallion, is worn by the president as a symbol of the SUNY Plattsburgh's history and tradition. It is worn at all official ceremonies of the College, including Commencement and Honors Convocation.

    The Chain of Office was designed in 1997 to carry on the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of SUNY Plattsburgh. The beautiful medallion integrates the current seal of the institution with a decorative bezel. The chain features fleur-de-lis banner links, which are engraved with the names of the College's past principals and presidents along with their years of service to the institution and community.

    The name of President John Ettling is engraved on the closet banner link just above the medallion, and its location signifies his current position as president of the institution. From his banner, the chain branches off in two directions and completes a full circle.

Frequently asked question and what to expect at Commencement

  • Commencement Procession

    Since there is no rehearsal prior to commencement, graduating students participating in the ceremony will assemble prior to the ceremony on the main level of the Stafford Ice Arena at the Field House in their academic regalia at the following times:

    • WInter Commencement: 9:15 a.m.
    • Spring Commencement: 8:15 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 1:15 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony

    The processional will begin with students marching into the ceremony first. As in the past, baccalaureate degree candidates will follow candidates for certificates of advanced study and master's degrees. They will enter the gymnasium and walk down the center aisle to their chairs.

    The faculty will then enter the gymnasium led by the Faculty Marshal and proceed down the center aisle to the first several rows of seats facing the stage in front of the students. The platform party will then complete the processional. The platform party consists of members of the College Council, College administrators, faculty leadership, representatives of the Plattsburgh College Foundation, Student Association and Alumni Association and visiting dignitaries and honorees.

    Once everyone is in position, the Faculty Marshal will present the mace to the President. The President will officially open the Commencement Ceremony and make introductions. During the ceremony, the Student Commencement Speaker will present remarks on behalf of the class.

    Each graduating student in attendance for the ceremony will be formally and publicly recognized as they cross the stage. Candidates for Certificates of Advanced Study and master's degrees will receive their diploma covers first. Candidates for bachelor's degrees will then receive their diploma covers. During the awarding of degrees, graduates will approach the stage and hand their name cards to the faculty announcer. When their names are announced, graduates will walk onto the stage, receive their diploma covers, cross the stage to be congratulated by the president and then exit the stage.

    Once the president concludes his remarks, the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir will perform the Alma Mater officially ending the ceremony and the recessional will begin. The Faculty Marshal will lead the Platform Party out of the gymnasium followed by the faculty. The bagpipers will then lead the students out of the ceremony.

    We ask all parents, family and friends to remain in their seats until the recessional is completed.

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