Dear Students and Families: Congratulations—we crossed the threshold of the midway point of the fall semester earlier this week! I hope you’ll take time this weekend to recharge your batteries, connect with friends and burn off some stress. The activities…
Commencement 2021 Update
Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:
With less than 40 days to go in the spring semester, we are delighted to share positive news regarding Syracuse University’s 2021 Commencement. Earlier this week, New York State published statewide guidelines for graduation events that permits each graduate to invite up to two guests to attend the event in person. We are thrilled for the opportunity to welcome family members and friends to campus to help us celebrate the achievements of our graduates as they conclude their academic journey at Syracuse University.
Student and Guest Participation
Students who plan to participate in their Commencement ceremony in person will be required to register in advance. Please visit the Commencement participation form to indicate your intent to participate on or before April 23. Students must be registered to receive a link to their free individual admission ticket and the option to select two guest tickets. Please note: all tickets will be digital and will require a mobile device for download and stadium admission. Following ticket selection, students will receive a confirmation email, as well as a ticket with their selected seating assignment and tickets and seating assignments for their guests.
Schedule of Ceremonies
Depending on how many of our students elect to participate in person, we are planning for up to three identical Commencement ceremonies to be held over two days—Saturday, May 22, and Sunday, May 23. Consistent with New York State guidelines, the University is permitted to have approximately 5,000 individuals in attendance at each ceremony. This includes 1,600 students and 3,200 guests, as well as faculty, staff and event personnel. All ceremonies will be held at the stadium with one occurring Saturday afternoon, one Sunday morning and the other Sunday afternoon.
On or before April 30, we will notify students about the date and time of the ceremony in which they will participate based on their school and college affiliation and level of degree conferred. We are working to ensure our students have the opportunity to celebrate their Commencement with their school and college classmates.
As a reminder, due to capacity restrictions, testing requirements and other New York State guidelines, all school and college convocations will be hosted virtually and livestreamed. We will share more on how our students and their loved ones can participate in the coming weeks.
Pre-Event Testing/Vaccination Compliance
New York State has mandated very specific guidelines related to stadium entry and participation in the Commencement exercise, for all graduates, guests and participants. The state requires that anyone accessing the stadium for Commencement must comply with one of the following options:
- Proof of completed vaccination; specifically, on the day of the event the individual must provide documentation indicating that at least 14 days have passed since the individual received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or at least 14 days have passed since the individual received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. We strongly encourage guests to seek out a vaccination as it is the most reliable pathway for entry into the stadium.
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR-type test, administered within 72 hours of the event.
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen-type test, administered within six hours of the event start time.
Please plan ahead to ensure your compliance with New York State’s venue entry requirements. There will be no on-site testing services available at the stadium during Commencement weekend. Anyone who plans to attend the ceremony and who cannot provide proof of COVID vaccination, should ensure that they have access to testing services capable of returning a test result within the window of time required by New York State (72 hours prior to the event for a PCR-type test; six hours prior to the event for an Antigen-type test).
Public Health Precautions and Requirements
Syracuse University has developed and will execute a comprehensive public health strategy to support our Commencement activities. Of course, all planning is contingent on pandemic conditions at the time and is subject to change. Among other public health precautions and requirements, all attendees should expect:
- Temperature Checks: Temperature checks will occur at entrance portals and all participants, along with all staff and platform party guests, will be included in this process.
- Mask Compliance: Syracuse University will require and enforce 100% compliance with mask usage throughout the event.
- Socially Distanced Seating: Students will be seated on the field level of the stadium in three-person “pods.” Guests will be seated in audience sections of the stadium in two-person “pods.” Seating pods will be arranged to maintain 6 feet of distance between groupings. Empty seat buffers will be created at aisles. Seating assignments will be issued prior to the ceremonies.
- Entry/Exit: All students and guests will be assigned a specific gate and time to arrive at and enter the stadium based on seat assignment and proximity. Students and guests will be instructed to exit via an assigned gate immediately following their ceremony.
You will continue to receive updates from me and the Office of Special Events in the coming weeks as we continue to finalize pertinent details. In the meantime, we wanted to share this important update as soon as we could in order to provide families, friends and loved ones with ample time to confirm their travel plans.
We appreciate your continued patience as we work to make decisions that allow us to safely celebrate our graduates in a manner that prioritizes the health and wellness of our campus and Syracuse communities.
Senior Vice President for International Programs and Academic Operations and Chief of Staff, Academic Affairs