FAQs for celebrations of the classes of 2020 and 2021

  • When and where will the two ceremonies take place?

    The commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021 will take place at 10 a.m. on June 13, 2021. The Class of 2020’s ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on June 20, 2021. Both will be held on Roger Hull Plaza, between Schaffer Library and the Nott Memorial.

  • What time is the Commencement ceremony over?

    The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. with the academic procession at 9:50 a.m. You should aim to be in your seats by 9:15 a.m. or earlier. The post-commencement gatherings for graduates, faculty and guests will follow immediately after the ceremony itself at various outdoor locations. They should be over before 1:00 p.m.

  • What are the testing and/or vaccination requirements?

    New York State requires everyone who attends, including all students/graduates, guests and employees, to present documentation of a negative PCR COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the event or a completed vaccination series (at least 14 days beyond the last vaccine).

  • Will our weekly on-campus surveillance testing satisfy the advance testing requirement for those who participate in it?

    Yes, as long as the test is conducted within 72 hours of commencement.

  • Which students/graduates are eligible to attend?

    All members of the Class of 2021 who are eligible to participate in graduation may attend the June 13 ceremony, including remote students. All members of the Class of 2020 who were eligible to participate in last year’s Honoring U ceremony, as well as any additional students who have since completed their graduation requirements, are eligible to participate in the June 20 ceremony.

    Due to state restrictions on the size of gatherings, no other students will be allowed to attend, unless they are ticketed guests of a graduating student.

  • Can qualifying remote graduating seniors from the Class of 2021 attend on June 13?

    Yes, as long as they meet testing or vaccination requirements.

  • Do participating students/graduates need to register to attend commencement? How do I obtain guest tickets?

    Yes. We will be sending out registration information in the coming weeks.

    For Class of 2021, the registration link will be sent to their Union email account. Students can pick up their guest tickets from their campus mail boxes by early June. Remote students can pick up guest tickets the morning of Sunday, June 13 starting from 8 a.m. at Reamer Campus Center tables (the tables opposite to the elevator).

    For Class of 2020, the registration link will be sent to their Union email account / registered personal email account. Alumni can pick up their guest tickets on Saturday, June 19 starting from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, June 20 starting from 8 a.m. at Reamer Campus Center tables (the tables opposite to the elevator).

    Note that only students/alumni can register for guest tickets and pick up tickets for their guests.

  • I know a student who is not using their guest tickets. Can they give them to me so I can invite more than two guests?

    The number of attendees is determined by the capacity allowed of the library plaza and we are allocating an equitable number of guests for each graduate. Given the limitations and guidelines we must adhere to, the College has to enforce the two tickets per graduate policy. Tickets are non-transferable. It is in the best interest to keep everyone as safe as possible.

  • Will members of the Class of 2020 be able to cross the stage? Will they need their commencement regalia (caps and gowns)?

    Members of the Class of 2020 have already received their diplomas, but we are planning to give them an opportunity to cross the stage as their names are called and to have their picture taken. We strongly encourage the wearing of caps and gowns to the celebration. If you no longer have yours, you can order replacements through the bookstore. Please contact Roubina Morgan (morganr@union.edu) by April 30, 2021.

  • Will housing be available for remote students from the Class of 2021 or for returning members of the Class of 2020?

    Unfortunately, we are unable to provide housing for returning remote students or for the members of the Class of 2020. We are only able to provide housing to students who are already in campus housing in spring 2021.

  • What kind of senior week activities will take place?

    The senior class is actively working to plan a robust series of programs for senior week based on the health & safety guidance from the college and New York State. While the programs have not been finalized, the senior student planning committee is focused on the health & safety of their class while they work to plan fun opportunities for engagement. More information will be sent out once we have finalized details.

  • Whom do I contact if I or my guests need accessible seating or other access, or if I have other questions?

    Please contact Emily Tong at tonge@union.edu for general questions, and by May 20 to make accessibility requests.

  • What happens if it rains? What if there is a thunderstorm?

    Everyone should prepare for the possibility of inclement weather. We plan to hold the ceremonies outdoors, rain or shine. Current state limitations on the size of gatherings are not compatible with indoor events. In the event of lightning or other dangerous conditions, we will reassess plans and timing the mornings of the events and communicate any delays or other changes by 8am on the Commencement website. In the event of rain, we strongly encourage everyone to wear ponchos or other protective clothing (including footwear compatible with soggy terrain) rather than umbrellas, which can block others’ views. If an umbrella is necessary, clear ones are preferred.

    If conditions (e.g., persistent lightning) remain unsafe to hold an in-person ceremony, we will notify the community and switch to a streamed virtual event (for the Class of 2021) and plan for a later in-person celebration.

  • Will photography, announcements, or other graduation products be available for purchase?

    Photographers from GradImages will be at the commencement ceremony to take a candid photograph of each graduate. You will receive the digital proofs of these photos within two weeks following the ceremony. You may order online here or call 1-800-261-2576. Since photographs will be available, family members and guests are encouraged to remain in their seats to relax and enjoy the ceremony.

    Announcement notes, graduation rings, citation folders and other graduation products are available for purchase through Balfour.

    Allowing these companies to provide you information is intended as a service for graduates and their families. You are under no obligation to purchase their products.