Commencement Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions we hear from students regarding the Commencement Ceremony.

When is commencement? 

Onondaga’s Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019. The ceremony will be held at the SRC Arena and Events Center at Onondaga Community College at 10:00 a.m. Grads should begin arriving by 8:30 a.m. to register. 

Where do we park? 

Free parking is available at various campus parking lots adjacent to the SRC Arena and Events Center.

How many tickets can I get? 

Seating at the SRC Arena and Events Center is ample, thus no tickets are needed for guests to attend. You may invite as many as you wish to join in celebrating your accomplishment. To register for commencement, please fill out the  online form.

What do I wear?  

Wearing of the traditional academic gown and mortarboard is required for participation in the Commencement ceremony. Caps and gowns are available for purchase at the Onondaga bookstore during regular business hours beginning on Monday, April 1, 2019. The cost is approximately $38.98. Please check with the bookstore as soon as possible to allow time to place an order in case they do not have your size in stock. Pick up your gown early and hang it up so that the wrinkles will “fall out.”

Corsages, jewelry, and other adornments should not be worn with academic gowns. Please do not carry a purse, valuables, cellular phone, or any amount of money. Onondaga Community College is not responsible for storage or loss of any of these items during the ceremony. 

The mortarboard should be worn level, not on the back of the head. Women never remove their mortarboards during the ceremony. Men must remove their mortarboard for the national anthem.

Tassels are worn on the right side toward the back of the mortarboard, not in front of your face. During the ceremony, you will be instructed when to move the tassel from the right of the mortarboard to the left. 

I’m graduating with honors, are there special instructions for me?  

Students graduating with honors (3.4 cumulative GPA or higher) will receive a gold cord at graduation check-in. For May graduates, the cumulative GPA from the end of the Fall term will be used, since grades have not been posted yet. 

I’m a member of Phi Theta Kappa, is there anything I need to know?  

Ceremonial Phi Theta Kappa(PTK) tassels and stoles will be available at Commencement and are free. Through OCC Foundation donor support, regalia is free for PTK and Honors graduates and can be obtained at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

I’m a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success, is there anything I need to know?

Members wishing to purchase tassels and stoles for Commencement need to visit the organizations web site. 

What will happen that day?

Upon arrival at the SRC Arena and Events Center, graduates should follow the signs to the Allyn Hall Gym to check in. At check-in, you will pick up your name card and be asked to check the spelling of your name. If you have a difficult name to pronounce, you will be instructed to write it phonetically. Volunteers will be on hand to assist. Please be sure to keep your name card as you will need it during the ceremony. 

How do we line up?

Graduates line up by academic program. There will be signs directing you to the appropriate area for each academic program. Lineup will begin at 9:00 a.m., but we ask you to get to the SRC Arena and Events Center by 8:30 a.m. in order to check-in and find your academic program area. 

What happens during the ceremony?

After the welcome and remarks made by graduation speakers, you will be directed to stand and approach the stage. When it is your turn, you will hand the reader your name card. Pause a moment at the podium for your name to be read, and then proceed across the stage to receive a diploma cover from President Crabill. Please adhere to appropriate decorum during the ceremony. 

Can my family take pictures?

Photos may be taken from your seat in the SRC Arena and Events Center. Genesee Photo Systems will also be taking a photograph of each student as they receive their diploma. They will mail a color wallet-size proof to you at no cost. For a fee, the company will print additional photographs. You are under no obligation to purchase additional photos.

Ordering flowers for Commencement?

Customers can purchase and reserve their products ahead of time and have them available for pick-up at OCC the day of Commencement. The web address for your school is:

If I need an accommodation such as an assistive listening device, enlarged print program, accessible seating or sign language interpreter, what should I do?

Contact the Disabilities Services Office, at (315) 498-2245.

If my guest needs these accommodations, what should I do?

Assistive listening devices, enlarged print programs, and a sign language interpreter will be available at the ceremony. If your guest requires wheelchair accessibility, please notify an usher who will direct you to the appropriate seating area. A limited amount of general seating is available in this section. If you need additional information, call the Office of Accessibility Resources at (315) 498-2245.

When will I receive my diploma?

All potential graduates attending the ceremony are presented with a diploma cover. Actual diplomas will be available for pick-up students approximately 6-8 weeks after the end of the term. If you have had, or anticipate having an address change after graduation, please contact Student Central to update your official record. 

Lodging Accommodations:

For guests of graduates in need of a hotel for commencement weekend, see a full list of possible hotel accommodations.

How can I find out more?

Visit the Commencement web site for updates at, or visit an Enrollment Associate at Student Central located in the Gordon Student Center.