Capital Region

Capital Region college commencements go virtual

Schools promise in-person events in unknown future
President Philip A. Glotzbach gives his address during Skidmore College’s 108th Commencement at SPAC in May 2019.
President Philip A. Glotzbach gives his address during Skidmore College’s 108th Commencement at SPAC in May 2019.

Categories: News

CAPITAL REGION — Colleges across the Capital Region have moved spring graduation events online but many are still promising students in-person ceremonies on still-unknown dates in the future.

The College of Saint Rose was originally scheduled to host one of the season’s first commencement ceremonies Saturday morning. But like countless other annual traditions and events, in-person commencements have largely been indefinitely put on hold.

Siena College has set a new date: Aug. 15 at the Times Union Center in Albany. But most colleges have only promised future events and invited students to some form of online event meant to mark the momentous occasion of the college graduation.


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“When it is safe to do so, we look forward to honoring you at a traditional on-campus commencement ceremony, where we will read names, distribute programs, and give students the individual recognition they deserve,” UAlbany said on its website.

SUNY Cobleskill is kicking off a season of virtual ceremonies this Sunday with an event of its own, formally conferring degrees and celebrating the accomplishments of the new graduates.

Here’s a roundup of local colleges’ plans this commencement season:

SUNY Schenectady:

The college postponed its May commencement ceremony and has said it “will offer graduates the chance to participate in an on-campus commencement ceremony at a later date this year.” No date has yet been set. Students will still receive their degrees and certificates as scheduled.

University at Albany:

The college is holding an online “OneUAlbany Graduation Celebration” on May 16. The college also promised to host a “traditional on-campus” ceremony when safe to do so.

SUNY Cobleskill:

The college is holding a virtual event on Sunday for President Marion Terenzio to confer diplomas virtually and offer students a speech. The school has scheduled an in-person ceremony for Oct. 4.

Fulton-Montgomery Community College:

In late-March, the college canceled its May 19 ceremony and said it was considering alternative options to honor graduates.

Union College:

The school postponed its June 14 on-campus ceremony to a “date to be determined.” The college will confer diplomas on graduates on June 14, officially marking the graduation of seniors, but the college is still working to schedule a time for the class of 2020 to return to campus for a formal ceremony.

Skidmore College:

The college has convened a working group of administrators and students to plan both a virtual event and an in-person commencement ceremony of some kind.

Siena College:

The college, which on its websites says “we are continuously evaluating the evolving situation, has set a rescheduled date to hold its commencement ceremony on Aug. 15 at the Times Union Center.


The school is hosting a virtual commencement on May 23 to “officially award degrees to our graduates, and welcome them into our alumni and alumnae network.” The school also has said it plans to host an opportunity in the future for graduates to celebrate in person.


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