The roughly 1,300 members of SUNY Oneonta’s graduating class will be recognized during 2021 commencement exercises that include virtual and in-person components, including an opportunity to cross the stage and hear their name called.
Although limited in-person graduation ceremonies have been approved in New York, SUNY Oneonta has chosen a cautious approach to keep its students, families and community safe.
“We’ve worked hard to organize a commencement experience that recognizes our graduates as individuals and celebrates their years of hard work and significant achievements,” said Acting President Dennis Craig.
SUNY Oneonta’s virtual ceremony is a full commencement program that will air Saturday, May 15, and will feature recognition of individual graduates and the official conferral of degrees. Four ceremonies will take place based on academic major: School of Economics and Business at 9 a.m.; School of Education, Human Ecology, and Sports Studies at 11 a.m.; School of Liberal Arts at 1 p.m.; and School of Sciences at 3 p.m.
Speakers will include the Senior Class President Danielle Dilluvio, Alumni Association President Christine Warnquist ’71, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Provost Dr. Leamor Kahanov, and Acting President Dennis Craig. Musical performances will be provided by students, faculty and the Leatherstocking District Pipe Band.
Graduates, friends, family members and other well-wishers will be able to view the ceremony on the school’s commencement webpage and congratulate the graduates in a live chat during the event. Each ceremony will also be recorded for viewing at a later date.
Graduates also received a special celebration box containing commencement-related gifts and were encouraged to download SUNY Oneonta-themed social media filters, Facebook cover photos, and printable signs to help enhance their at-home celebration.
While the commencement ceremony itself will not take place in person, all graduates were invited to participate in an in-person stage-crossing event that gave them a chance to wear their regalia, have their name called, and have a formal photo taken. To ensure safety and follow COVID guidelines, the event was spread out over two days, and students had to provide a negative COVID test before the event and sign up for a time block to ensure social distancing. Approximately 500 graduating students “crossed the stage.” The stage crossing was live-streamed to allow friends and families to watch safely from home and is available to watch here.
This event gave graduates the opportunity to receive personal congratulations from Acting President Craig.
“The Class of 2021 is an incredible group of students,” Acting President Craig said. “They deserve to be celebrated, and nothing will get in the way of that. We know how hard they’ve worked throughout their college careers, and we applaud them for all of their achievements, including successfully completing their degrees in the middle of a pandemic.”