May Commencement Weekend | Graduation | ESF Students
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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

May Commencement Weekend May 12-14, 2017

Students who completed degree requirements in August or December 2016, or who will complete degree requirements by Friday, April 14, 2017, are invited to participate in ESF Commencement and SU/ESF Commencement.

NOTE: If you do not meet the Friday, April 14 deadline, your name may not appear in the Commencement program.

ESF Commencement

ESF Commencement is held on Saturday, May 13 at 3pm and is a formal ceremony in which the ESF community recognizes the achievements of graduating students. All graduating students will be individually recognized as they walk across the stage as their names are announced aloud, and degrees are conferred.

SU/ESF Joint Commencement

On Sunday, May 14 at 9:30am, SU/ESF Joint Commencement is held for all ESF and SU graduating students, marking the special relationship shared by the two schools. Participants will receive information directly from SU. If you have not received an SU mailing by March 30, contact SU Office of Special Events, 315-443-4631.

Members of the graduating class are encouraged to attend both events.

Be sure to thoroughly read the “Commencement Logistics” section below. It will give you a good idea of how things will work graduation weekend.

Complete Commencement Weekend Schedule

NOTE: Tickets are NOT required for either the ESF or SU/ESF joint commencements.

NOTE: If you plan to attend the Spring Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 22, you must contact the Division of Student Affairs at 315-470-6658.

Date Event
April 10
On-campus parking permits available for Commencement Day parking
April 14
Grad student deadline to verify eligibility to graduate and for MS or PhD defenses

April 25

Grad student deadline for final, signed version of thesis or dissertation document and associated paperwork for MS and PhD degrees, or diploma form for MF, MPS, and MLA degrees to Office of Instruction & Graduate Studies
Wednesday May 10

3:00 pm—ESF Commencement Rehearsal, Marshall Auditorium - Followed by the Champagne Toast in the Gateway Center, sponsored by the ESF Alumni Association

May 11
10:00 am—Commencement rehearsal in Carrier Dome (enter at Gate “D”)
May 12
5:00 pm—Master's and Ph.D. Higher Degree Reception and Ceremony, Gateway Center
May 13

9:30 am—Honor's Students Ceremony: Gateway Center Room A

11 am—Environmental and Forest Biology Awards Ceremony, Illick 5

12 pm—Curriculum-Specific Faculty Receptions for Degree Candidates, their Guests, and Members of the ESF College Community!

Locations of Curriculum Specific Faculty Receptions:

  • Chemistry: Baker 1st Floor Lobby by Main, Open Stairwell
  • Environmental Studies: Nifkin (Alumni) Lounge
  • EFB/Biotechnology (all majors): Illick Foyer
  • Environmental Resources Engineering: Gateway Center
  • Environmental Science: 408 Baker Lab
  • Forest and Natural Resources Management: 1st Floor Bray Hall Rotunda
  • Landscape Architecture: 327 Marshall/3rd Floor Corridor
  • Paper and Bioprocess Engineering: Walters, 2nd Floor Lobby
2:30 pm—Students line up, SRC Arena and Events Center, Allyn Hall Gym
3:00 pm—ESF Commencement, SRC Arena and Events Center, 4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse Approximate end time is 5:15 pm. We will host a brief Reception meet and greet afterwards for all guests and ESF faculty and staff.
May 14
8:45 am—ESF Procession to Dome - ESF Quad
9:15 am—Academic Procession
9:30 am—SU/ESF Joint Commencement will begin at the end of the procession

Caps and Gowns

Students must wear a cap and gown at both Commencements.

  • Undergraduates: no charge for cap and gown.
  • Master’s candidates must purchase the master’s recycled keeper cap and gown for $39.95 and hood for $29.95.
  • Doctoral candidates must rent a cap and gown for $46.95. Doctoral candidates who have completed all requirements for the degree will receive a free hood as a gift at the Higher Degree Ceremony on Friday night.

Cap and gown pickup will take place in the Bray Rotunda, Thursday, May 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ESF Commencement Logistics

May 13, 2017
SRC Arena and Events Center

  • STUDENTS: You must be at the SRC Arena and Events Center in the Allyn Hall Gym by 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 13. Students will be arranged by curriculum and you will be instructed about your “name card”. You will then process into the arena according to your program of study.
  • The ceremony will begin PROMPTLY AT 3:00 p.m. The Provost will begin her remarks at 3:00 p.m., and all participants will already be seated.
  • Each degree candidate in attendance will be individually recognized. Your name will be announced, and you will cross the stage to shake hands with the President of the College, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and the Department Chair.
  • Individual recognition of undergraduates will begin after the Senior Speaker gives their brief remarks.
  • All students will follow a counter-clockwise pattern to receive recognition. They will rise, and proceed to their right into the aisle and up the stairs. Students will hand a name card to their faculty chair at the podium on the left, then cross the stage, shake hands with the President of the College and the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and your Department Chair, and return to their seat on the Arena floor.
  • The same format is followed for each of the remaining curricula. The students seated at the end of the left side aisle will be signaled by a Commencement Host as to when to rise and form a line, so that “lag time” between people crossing the stage is held to a minimum. If you are the last student in each curriculum who will cross the stage, you will receive a different color name card. This will notify your faculty chair that you are the final student from your curriculum to cross the stage.

Important Information

Annual Spring Awards Banquet

Held Saturday, April 22, 2017 at The OnCenter Convention Center from 6 p.m. to midnight, this annual, semi-formal dinner recognizes the scholarship, service and contributions of ESF students. Dancing will follow that formal program, and the ESF Year-In-Review presentation will be featured.

  • Your pics needed for the ESF Year-In-Review Presentation! We need prints or slides of you and your ESF buddies (the funnier the better). Email photos to Heather Carl at or drop off items in 110 Bray Hall. All will be returned if marked with your name and address.

This is the biggest social event of the year! Get your tickets as soon as they go on sale—watch for advertisements.

ESF Commencement Rehearsal

Rehearsal for the ESF Commencement takes place on Wednesday, May 10, at 3 p.m. in Marshall Auditorium, and will be followed by a Champagne Toast in the Gateway Center hosted by the Alumni Association.

Undergraduate Senior Class Meeting

Watch for meeting announcements in email and campus postings. Topics will include:

  • Senior Class Gift: Share your ideas for a gift at the upcoming Senior Class Meeting.
  • Year-in-Review Senior Slideshow: We will discuss the Year-in-Review Senior Slideshow, to be presented at the Spring Awards Banquet on April 22.

If you can’t attend but have input, leave a message for the Senior Class Chair, Heather Carl,, in 110 Bray Hall.

“I’m Graduating! What Now?”

Need help with job search techniques, writing your resume, interview skills, employer contacts? Have you established contacts to obtain references? There is a way to maintain contact with ESF and to look for employment opportunities. Stop by the Old Greenhouse and see all that is available!

Guest Information


Guest rooms are at a premium during Commencement Weekend. Arrange accommodations NOW!

If Syracuse area rooms are fully booked, you may be able to locate rooms in Auburn, Utica, Cortland, and other towns close to Syracuse.

Also, check the SU Commencement information on reserving space in SU residence halls—space is limited!


There are many great restaurants in the Syracuse area and new DestinyUSA Mall.

Make reservations well in advance!

Syracuse University will host Commencement Eve Dining Options. Learn more here:

On-campus Parking (ESF and SU)

A limited number of ESF campus parking permits will be available in 110 Bray Hall beginning Monday, April 10, on a first come-first served basis. One permit per family; extra permits may be available Monday, May 1, depending upon supply. Bring your ESF I.D. with you when you come to pick up your permit.

All Syracuse University lots will be open throughout the weekend.

Guests With Limited Mobility

Both the SRC Arena and the Carrier Dome have wheelchair accessible doors on the lower level, and space where guests in wheelchairs can comfortably view the ceremonies.

  • For ESF Commencement, guests in wheelchairs or those who need assistance should enter the SRC Arena from Parking Lot 14 directly behind the SRC Arena.
  • For ESF/SU Joint Commencement, guests requiring special accommodations can be dropped off in front of the Carrier Dome while someone else parks the car. ESF and SU Public Safety officers are very understanding about this!

Guests Who Are Hearing Impaired

We will be happy to make arrangements to have Closed Captioning at ESF Commencement on Saturday. The ESF/SU Joint Commencement ceremonies are signed, with interpreters located throughout the Dome. Seating locations for hearing impaired guests will be posted in the Carrier Dome.

Questions or Concerns?

  • Commencement Weekend and undergraduate questions: Contact the Division of Student Affairs, (315) 470-6658/6660.
  • Graduate student questions: Contact the Office of Instruction and Graduate Studies, (315) 470-6599.

Students wearing their cap and gown