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 6-10, 2020

Students who complete degree requirements by Friday, April 10, 2020, may participate in the ESF and SU/ESF Commencements.

Those who graduated in August or December, 2019, may also participate.

NOTE: If you do not meet the Friday, April 10 deadline, your name may not appear in the Commencement program.

ESF CommencementSaturday, May 9, 2pm
SRC Arena and Events Center at Onondaga Community College

ESF Commencement is a formal ceremony in which the ESF community recognizes the achievements of graduating students. All graduating students will be announced by name as they walk across the stage and degrees are conferred.

SU/ESF Joint CommencementSunday, May 10, 9:30am
SU Shaw Quadrangle (SU Quad)

The SU/ESF Joint Commencement is held for all ESF and SU graduating students, marking the special relationship shared by the two schools. For questions contact SU Office of Special Events, 315-443-4631, and check the SU Commencement website for rain location details.

SU Commencement Website

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

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 4, 2020, you must contact the Division of Student Affairs at 315-470-6660 which is run through the Undergraduate Student Association.

Date Event

April 4

6:00 pm—Spring Awards Banquet Advanced sale tickets are required.
This event is hosted by the Undergraduate Student Association to celebrate May graduates with an evening filled with dinner, awards, and dancing at the SKY Armory.
April 6
On-campus parking permits available for Commencement Day parking
April 10
Grad student deadline to verify eligibility to graduate and for MS or PhD defenses

April 21

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 6

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

May 7

11:30 am—Inclusive Excellence Graduation Reception: Nifkin Lounge
This event is to honor our graduating international students, CSTEP and EOP students, and members of Kings, LASS, and the Rainbow Scholars. Families, faculty, staff, and students are welcome to join us as we celebrate our graduates. Each graduating student will receive a special Inclusive Excellence cord to wear during Commencement festivities.

Please RSVP via this link by Friday, April 17

May 8
4:30 pm—Master's and Ph.D. Higher Degree Reception and Ceremony, Gateway Center
May 9

8:30 am—Honor's Students Ceremony: Gateway Center Room A

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

11 am—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 Atrium by Main, Open Stairwell
  • EFB/Biotechnology (all majors): Illick Hall Foyer
  • Environmental Resources Engineering: Gateway Center Event Space
  • Environmental Science: Gateway Center Concourse
  • Environmental Studies: Nifkin (Alumni) Lounge
  • Forest and Natural Resources Management: 1st Floor Bray Hall Rotunda
  • Landscape Architecture: 327 Marshall/3rd Floor Corridor
  • Paper and Bioprocess Engineering: 1st floor Baker near tree/141, 145, and 146 Baker
1:30 pm—Students line up, SRC Arena and Events Center, Allyn Hall Gym
2:00 pm—ESF Commencement, SRC Arena and Events Center, 4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse Approximate end time is 4:15 pm. We will host a brief Reception meet and greet afterwards for all guests and ESF faculty and staff.
May 10
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 be in the Bray Rotunda, Wednesday, April 29, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Please note: you must pre-order your cap and gown by March 27th at the SU Bookstore website.

ESF Commencement Logistics May 9, 2020

  • ESF Commencement Rehearsal — Commencement rehearsal is on Wednesday, May 6, 3 p.m., Marshall Auditorium. The rehearsal will be followed by a Champagne Toast in the Gateway Center hosted by the Alumni Association.
  • Arrival — Students must be at the SRC Arena and Events Center in the Allyn Hall Gym by 1:30 p.m., May 9.
  • Order of Departments — Students will be arranged by department and given a “name card” to be presented on stage during the ceremony. You will then process into the arena.
  • Ceremony Start — The ceremony will begin promptly at 2 p.m. All participants will already be seated.
  • Procession to the Stage — After the Senior Speaker gives remarks, a commencement host will guide students to rise and form a line row by row, and and then proceed to their right, into the aisle and up the stairs. If you are the last student in line for your department, you will receive a different color name card to mark the changeover to the next department.
  • Recognition of Graduates — After handing in the name card, each student will cross the stage, shake hands with the president, trustees chair, and department chair, and then return to his/her seat.

Annual Spring Awards Banquet

Held Saturday, April 4, 2020 at The SKY Armory (351 S. Clinton Street, Syracuse, NY 13202) from 6 p.m. to midnight, this annual, semi-formal dinner recognizes the scholarship, service and contributions of ESF students. Dancing will follow the formal program. 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 Katie Miller 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.

Undergraduate Senior Class Meeting

Watch for meeting announcements in email and campus postings regarding a Senior Class Gift and Senior Party.

  • Senior Class Funds: 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 Saturday, April 4, 2020.

If you can’t attend but have input, leave a message for the Senior Class Chair, Katie Miller,, 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 105 Bray Hall and see all that is available!

Guest Information


Area rooms go fast on graduation weekend. Arrange lodging 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 6, on a first come-first served basis. One permit per family; extra permits may be available Monday, April 27, 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 SU Shaw Quadrangle 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, fully accessible shuttles will be running on campus from parking lots to event venues. More information regarding shuttle times, locations, and routes will be provided in the future online at SU Commencement Website

Guests Who Are Hearing Impaired

We will be happy to arrange Closed Captioning (CART) at ESF Commencement on Saturday. The SU/ESF Joint Commencement will also have CART, ASL, and accessibility services along with a designated viewing area, regardless of the weather.

Questions or Concerns?

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

Students wearing their cap and gown