What to Expect at Commencement

Group of graduates moving tassels.
A Message from President Satish K. Tripathi

Out of concern for the health and safety of our campus community, the University at Buffalo’s May 2020 commencement ceremonies will not take place as scheduled. Plans to reschedule graduation celebrations are currently being developed. We will update our graduates and our entire campus community as soon as possible.

While we know this is disappointing news to UB’s Class of 2020 as well their families, friends and our university community, this is a necessary decision given the unprecedented circumstances we face. As we look forward to celebrating our 2020 graduates in a manner befitting their accomplishments, I thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

General Information

Date: Sunday, May 17, 2020

Location: Alumni Arena

Morning Ceremony (Arts, Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Interdisciplinary programs): 9:30am

Afternoon Ceremony (Social Sciences and Humanities): 3:00pm

Coordinator: Anne Mecca
Contact: (716) 645-1391 or cas-commencement@buffalo.edu

Information for Graduates

Please arrive to the Triple Gym in Alumni Arena (Edward Wright Practice Facility, Room 76) an hour and a half prior to your ceremony time. You may enter from Coventry Loop or Webster Road - look for the door marked specifically for students, faculty and staff. Don't forget your cap, gown, hood and tassel! 

Once you arrive, you will follow the steps below. 

Step 1: Check in

When you arrive, you will see registration booths marked with sections of the alphabet. Please go to the booth that corresponds with your last name. You will check in and receive two identical reader cards with your name and major. One is for your posed photo and the other is to give to the name readers as you cross the stage. PLEASE DO NOT LOSE THEM! 

Step 2: Picture time!

After you check in, you will go across the hall to the dance studio where a GradImages photographer will take your picture. They will take ONE of your TWO reader cards (remember: hold on to the other one!)

You can pre-register at http://www.gradimages.com/Preregistration prior to the ceremony to share your photos with loved ones and to receive a coupon code for 20% off. You will receive an email from GradImages when your photos are ready to view and order, or you can check gradimages.com.

NOTE: If you arrive late to check-in, you may not be able to have your posed photo taken. 

Step 3: Pronunciation station

Once you've had your picture taken, you can make your way back to the Triple Gym. Inside, there will be a table with all of the commencement name readers. If you are concerned about how your name will be pronounced, you can go over the way it should sound with the person who will be reading it during the ceremony.

Step 4: Find your department

Next, you will find your department's seating section. Departments are arranged alphabetically but students can sit wherever they want within their department (no assigned seating!). 

Each department has a faculty/staff member assigned as the academic marshal.  Your academic marshal can answer questions that you may have and will guide you in lining up for the procession. 

Step 5: Relax and have some fun!

Once you finish all the other steps, take some time to hang out with your friends and get excited to graduate! There will be music, snacks, and several photo booth areas stocked with props provided for FREE by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Important note: When you leave the Triple Gym to process into the ceremony, PLEASE take all your belongings with you. You will not have an opportunity to go back after the ceremony. We recommend limiting the items (purses, bags, etc) you bring with you as you'll have to hold onto them for the duration of the event.

THIS IS A TICKETED CEREMONY. All guests will need a ticket to enter Alumni Arena. Guests will not be able to re-enter Aumni Arena with a ticket stub if they exit the building.
Children under two years of age do not require a guest ticket unless they will be using a baby carrier or infant car seat carrier; the ticket is for the seat space that will be taken up by the carrier.
Doors will open approximately an hour and fifteen minutes before the beginning of each ceremony. All seating is general admission.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee additional tickets for this ceremony. Friends and family who do not have a ticket for the ceremony are invited to view the ceremony via live simulcast online. Please visit Countdown to Commencement for a link to the live-stream and for technical requirements.
If guests have extra tickets they will not be using, they can turn them in to the Guest Services kiosk at the Coventry Circle entrance.

Event Security

Safety is our first priority. Upon entry to the Arena, security personnel will greet students and guests and conduct a speedy inspection of all bags, purses, and containers. They may also ask you to unfasten any outerwear. Due to these security measures, please plan to arrive a few minutes early.

Please note and alert your guests that the following items are strictly prohibited on the premises:

  • Strollers
  • Large bags
  • Backpacks
  • Weapons
  • Alcohol
  • Illicit drugs and/or related paraphernalia
  • Signs/sticks
  • Flags
  • Banners
  • Balloons
  • Umbrellas (except the small, collapsible kind)
  • Voice amplifiers
  • Noisemakers
  • Animals (except service animals)