Spring Commencement

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The Class of 2021 deserves to be celebrated and nothing, not even COVID, will get in the way of that. The college is working hard to organize a commencement experience that acknowledges our graduates' years of hard work and significant achievements.

Full Virtual Commencement - May 15, 2021

The virtual commencement on May 15 will be a robust celebration featuring recognition of individual graduates, remarks from campus leaders, and the official conferral of degrees.

Each graduate will receive instructions on how to personalize their slide for the virtual ceremony. They will also receive a celebration box containing special commencement-related gifts to help enhance the at-home celebration.

The college will hold four virtual commencement ceremonies based on academic major:

Undergraduate Majors

  • Business Economics
  • Economics
  • Professional Accounting

Undergraduate Majors

  • Adolescence Education
  • Childhood Education
  • Dietetics
  • Early Childhood Education/Childhood Education
  • Exercise Science
  • Family and Consumer Science
  • Fashion and Textiles
  • Food Service and Restaurant Administration
  • Human Development and Family Studies (formerly Child and Family Studies)
  • Human Ecology
  • Sport Management

Graduate Programs

  • Educational Technology Specialist (K-12) (MSED)
  • Literacy Education (B-6) (MSED)
  • Literacy Education (5-12) (MSED)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (MS)
  • School Counselor (K-12) (MSED)
  • Special Education (MSED or MST)

Undergraduate Majors

  • Africana and Latinx Studies
  • Art and Design
  • Communication Studies
  • Digital and Studio Art
  • English
  • French
  • History
  • International Development Studies
  • International Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Music
  • Music Industry
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Spanish
  • Theatre
  • Women’s and Gender Studies

Undergraduate Majors

  • Anthropology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Earth Science
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Gerontology Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Meteorology
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

Graduate Programs

  • Biology (MS)
  • Lake Management (MS)
  • Museum Studies (MA)

Optional Stage Crossing - May 5-6, 2021

We are planning an optional opportunity for all graduating students to cross the stage in their regalia and have their name called and a photo taken. This will be a graduate-only, reservation-required occasion that will adhere to campus health and safety guidelines. The stage crossing will be livestreamed and recorded so that families and friends can watch safely from their homes. No guests or audience will be allowed.

Graduates will be able to choose from several time slots on May 5 and 6, 2021. This will be a brief experience, lasting about 10 minutes from start to finish. Full details and the registration form will be available soon.

Please remember, this plan is dependent on our campus COVID testing results, and nothing is guaranteed during a pandemic.

Commencement Checklist 

In order to officially graduate from the college, as well as participate in either the virtual commencement ceremony or the stage crossing, graduates should complete the following steps: 

Required

  • File the diploma application by Thursday, April 1, 2021. This is required for final degree clearance, inclusion in the virtual ceremony and printed commencement program, as well as participation in the optional stage crossing. 

Optional

  • Submit information to the virtual commencement platform to personalize your slide. Further details coming soon. 
  • Order a cap and gown by April 23, 2021 if you would like them for the stage crossing or as a keepsake. Regalia packages can be ordered online through Red Dragon Outfitters. Undergraduate student packages include a cap, gown and tassel. Graduate students should contact Red Dragon Outfitters directly to ensure their package includes the proper hood along with a cap, gown and tassel. 
  • Reserve a date and time for the stage crossing. The stage crossing will be held on May 5 and 6, 2021 with several timeslots available.  Full details and reservation link coming soon. 
  • Participate in other virtual commencement activities.  
  • Schedule a senior portrait. Senior photos for the yearbook are coordinated through Prestige Photography by Lifetouch. Appointments to have photos taken can be made online or by emailing Michael Durinzi at mdurinzi@lifetouch.com. To have a portrait included in the yearbook it must be taken by Prestige Photography. The personalized slide for the virtual commencement does not require a formal photo.
  • Request a yearbook. They are free for graduating students but must be ordered online.

    Questions and Answers

    We have planned a hybrid model for May 2021 commencement featuring a virtual ceremony and graduate-only stage crossing. This approach allows students to have their special moment crossing the stage (which will be livestreamed), then lets families be together to watch the virtual ceremony and enjoy the official commencement. Faculty and staff will be participating in the virtual commencement as well, through the live chat and social wall.

    • A full virtual commencement ceremony and degree conferral held online on Saturday, May 15. Please refer to the full description above for information about details and ceremony times specific to each academic school.
    • An optional, graduate-only, stage crossing has been planned for May 5 and 6 where all graduating students will have the chance to have their name called, wear their regalia, and walk across the stage. No guests or audience will be allowed, but the stage crossing will be livestreamed and recorded so families and friends can watch safely from home. Please refer to the full description above for more information.
    • Celebration boxes are being packed for every graduating student. These will contain special gifts like a commencement program, commemorative diploma cover, champagne glass, and any cords and stoles that graduates have earned. These will be available for graduates to pick up from Dragon Express on campus, or shipped to permanent addresses if graduates are not in Oneonta or coming to the stage crossing.

    The pandemic and specific challenges we have faced here in Oneonta compelled us to create an innovative hybrid approach, combining in-person and virtual components that comply with all health and safety guidelines.

    CDC and New York State Department of Health guidance continue to reinforce that attending events and gatherings increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19 and poses significant risk to individuals and communities.

    We recognize that this will be difficult for families that have waited years to celebrate their students’ accomplishments, but offering the hybrid celebration featuring the virtual commencement and graduate-only stage crossing is the best option for us to work within state guidelines and ensure community safety.

    A traditional commencement ceremony, indoor or outdoor, requires months of planning and coordination without having to consider social distancing, capacity limits, verifying proof of negative tests or vaccines, contact tracing, or health risks for the community. These added restrictions and mandates due to the pandemic required us to move forward with a plan for the hybrid model of the virtual ceremony and graduate-only stage crossing. This approach allows students to have their special moment crossing the stage (which will be livestreamed), then lets families be together to watch the virtual ceremony and enjoy the official commencement. Faculty and staff will be participating in the virtual commencement as well, through the live chat and social wall.

    The Commencement Committee evaluated all the options presented in the state’s guidelines, many of which we had considered in our initial stages of planning. The guidelines also encouraged organizers to consider the level of risk when deciding to host an event. The pandemic and specific challenges we have faced here in Oneonta compelled us to create an innovative hybrid approach, combining in-person and virtual components that comply with all health and safety guidelines.

    All institutions operate individually under their own leadership and each campus has unique considerations that inform their decision-making. Some other colleges and universities may have different plans due to the fact that each campus’s circumstances are unique to their venues’ capacity for large, in-person gatherings. At this time our event spaces are not able to accommodate gatherings like a full in-person commencement. Many campuses are also following the same hybrid model we are.

    The plans for the virtual ceremony and graduate-only stage crossing are a result of extensive consultation between campus stakeholders (the commencement committee, faculty, staff, and students) and state and local officials to ensure that our event is as celebratory and as safe as possible. The number of COVID cases in the Oneonta area has been on the rise throughout the spring, and we have a responsibility to students, guests and the community to do everything we can to decrease the risk of spreading the virus.

    Both are optional; however, we strongly encourage graduates to participate in the virtual commencement ceremony. The order of exercises will be very similar to the traditional in-person ceremony and we will have a social media wall and live chat feature so graduates can interact with friends, faculty, and others in real time.

    The stage crossing is an optional opportunity for all graduating students to experience the moment of walking across the graduation stage, have their name called, be congratulated by the acting president, and have a professional photo taken. This will be a very brief experience, lasting no more than 10 minutes from start to finish. There will be no gathering and no opportunity for guests or visitors to watch the stage crossing in-person. All sessions will be livestreamed and recorded for families and friends to watch from the safety of their homes.

    Due to limited space and resources, we are only able to offer the stage crossing on the dates and times listed above. If none of the options work, please remember that we are committed to inviting graduates back for a full in-person commencement when we are able to host one in the future. Also, all graduates are encouraged to participate in the full virtual commencement ceremony on May 15 which will be a robust event where the degrees will actually be conferred.

    May graduates can expect to have their diplomas mailed to them the week of June 28, 2021. We are finalizing the date August graduates can expect to have their diplomas mailed and will update this page when that is set.

    Example Virtual Commencement Experience

    Contact commencement@oneonta.edu or 607-436-4723 with any additional questions.

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