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Instructions for Participants

TO: Participants in Candlelight and Commencement, June 2015

FROM: Dean Michael Halperin, Commencement Chair

DATE: October 1, 2015

1. Matters of Etiquette for the Commencement Ceremony

Attire for the Sunday Commencement is important. Remember that, on the platform, you will be viewed by a large number of persons and that many photographs will be taken for future memorabilia.

Men should prefer darker trousers, shirts, ties, dark socks and formal shoes with their regalia.  Women should prefer plainer attire in darker shades.  Elaborate collars that show outside the robe should be avoided.  Master's candidates (because of the slit sleeves on master’s regalia) should be especially careful to avoid larger patterns on clothing.

Please avoid all jewelry which shows outside the robe, as is anything on the robe and cap themselves except such items as honorary society keys or emblems.  In particular we ask that you refrain from using cords from honor societies or other groups to because we recognize students graduating with Latin Honors by the use of cords.  You are encouraged, however, to wear the keys of Elmira College honor societies, including the Elmira College Key award.

Caps should be worn well forward on the head, with the point halfway down on the forehead.  Caps should not be worn far back on the head.  Tassels on caps are worn on the right side of the cap, centered.  Men should remove and replace caps whenever the President does.  This normally takes place during the invocation and final prayer. Women keep their caps on during the ceremony.

There should be nothing in your hands except your hood, carried over your left arm.  Purses should be left with family or friends.  There is no smoking or carrying of lighted tobacco during the entire proceedings.

Programs for Commencement participants will be placed on participants’ seats so there is no need to process with the program in your hand.
The two columns of graduates will move at an approximately equal pace.  Maintain a measured, slow pace.  Should there unexpectedly be gaps in the line, DO NOT RUSH FORWARD.  Continue walking at a slow pace.

At the appropriate time, you will proceed to the base of the right steps of the Commencement Platform, where you will hand your hood to one of the Class Patron Saints to place over your head.  You may have to bend or incline slightly for him or her to do so.  When you have received your degree on the platform and are descending from the platform, you may, with your right hand, reach for your cap tassel and place it on the left side of the cap, that is, move the tassel from right to left. This is a traditional symbol of graduation.

Watch your descent from the platform carefully in order to avoid mishaps or tripping.

2. Commencement Participation

Undergraduate students who are more than nine credit hours away from completing their degree requirements and graduate students who are more than six credit hours from completing their degree requirements at the time of Commencement must receive permission from the Educational Standards Committee in order to participate in Commencement.  If you are not sure how many credits you may be missing at the time of Commencement, please consult your academic advisor. 

3. Cap & Gown

Academic regalia will be distributed at the Commencement Fair on March 29, 2016 in the Campus Center. For those who cannot attend, regalia will be distributed through the McGraw Book beginning on Monday, April 4, 2016. Full-time students will be asked to complete a Graduation Survey before they pick up their regalia. Please remove wrinkles from your robe by hanging it up well in advance. Do not leave it in the package until the ceremony. If there are any problems with your regalia, contact the Office of the Registrar at (607) 735-1895.

All graduates keep their academic regalia after Commencement.  Please check to see that you have the correct color hood for your degree: A.A. and A.S. have a purple chevron with the A.A. having white trim and the A.S. having gold trim; S.B. has gold trim; A.B. has white trim; M.S. has drab trim (brown) and M.S. in Education has light blue trim.

Graduation Honors and additional regalia will be made available later in the spring for baccalaureate students only, who achieve the cumulative grade point average indicated below for all course work taken at any regionally accredited college or university, including transfer credit not accepted.  Graduation honors are calculated only for those students who first achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.400 or above at Elmira College and have completed all degree requirements at the time of Commencement.  Those not completing their degree requirements at the time of Commencement will have Latin honors noted on their transcripts and diplomas when their degrees are conferred.

A. Summa cum laude: >3.800
B. Magna cum laude: 3.600 to 3.799
C. Cum laude: 3.400 to 3.599

The Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the Elmira College graduating class will have entered as a first-time, full-time freshman and, upon graduation, shall have transferred to Elmira College no more than 15 credits after beginning college.  In the event of a tie, the valedictorian will be determined by the total number of earned credit hours.

The baccalaureate diplomas are in Latin.  You will receive a translation behind your diploma.  Elmira College uses American conventions in the formatting of our diplomas.  Quoting from The Registrar's Guide: Evolving Best Practices in Records and Registration AACRAO (2006): "most [American] institutions do not include the student's major, much less a minor, on the diploma... The diploma should remain uncluttered and elegant, with the transcript presenting the more detailed record."  Students earn a degree from Elmira College, represented by the diploma. There are many requirements for a degree, including completion of general education, accumulation of total credits and grade points, completion of at least one major leading to that degree, etc. Major is just one aspect of the degree.   The details of the degree are on the transcript.

4. Commencement Rehearsal

One general rehearsal will be held for the Commencement Exercises at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 4, 2016 in the First Arena, 150 North Main Street Elmira, NY 14901. All graduating students, Marshals, and ushers should attend this rehearsal. A formal rehearsal for the Candlelight Ceremony is not planned; the program and processional will be described at Commencement rehearsal.

5. Candlelight Ceremony

The Candlelight Ceremony will begin at 9:00 p.m., June 4, adjacent to The Puddle. All persons participating should be present by 8:30 p.m. Programs for this event may be secured in front of Gillett Hall. In case of rain, the program will be held in the Speidel Gymnasium in Emerson Hall.

Assuming we are outdoors for Candlelight, the line of march will form in front of Gillett Hall near the East Wing of Cowles Hall.  Students will form two parallel lines.  Precise order by name or by degree to be received is not necessary for the Candlelight Ceremony.  Please note that if you wish to sit with particular people, you must be in the same line, not side by side.  Faculty and administrators will form in two parallel lines immediately preceding the students' formation.

At the signal to begin the procession, faculty and administrators will move down the steps in front of Alumni Hall and proceed along the sidewalk to the south side of The Puddle where a section of chairs will be reserved. Following the ushers' directions, faculty and administrators will proceed without candles, down the center aisle, filling seats from the front to rear until all are seated.

At a second signal, the Patron Saints will light the candles, which will be distributed for the ceremony.  At a third signal, the student procession in two columns will move down the steps in front of Alumni Hall and proceed under the guidance of the Marshals around The Puddle to an area on the hill below Cowles Hall.

Seating for graduates will be on the lawn.  There will be no recessional following the ceremony.  Instead, graduates will be asked to circle around the Puddle to join in the singing of the Alma Mater.  Afterwards, students, faculty and staff may immediately join families and guests in the audience and proceed to the Campus Center for the reception.

The Candlelight Ceremony has been planned as an alternative intellectual and spiritual service to the more traditional Baccalaureate Service.  The processional will be of a formal nature and the program of serious content.  Faculty and administrator attire will be in business attire.  Students should know that they will be sitting on the ground and should dress appropriately. 

6. Commencement

There are no tickets for guests as there is no limit to the number of guests who may attend.

Commencement will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 5.  All those participating should assemble by 10:30 a.m. at the First Arena.

You should assemble already wearing your cap and gown.  Please carry the hood over your left arm.  You will present it to one of the two Patron Saints (class advisors) later in the program as you proceed to the platform.  They will, in turn, place it over your shoulders.

Precise order is essential in forming the lines of march for Commencement. A printed list will be provided at the Commencement rehearsal, Saturday, June 4 at 10:30 a.m. Check to see that you are next to the person listed before and after your name on the printed Line of March. The two columns begin the march at 11:00 a.m. The left line of march begins on the left side as you face the podium; the right line of march begins on the right side as you face the podium. You will proceed to seats reserved for graduates, under direction of the Marshals. Remain standing until entire procession is in place. The platform party will provide the signal for being seated. The entire audience will stand during the processional and remain standing until the invocation is given.

Each candidate will be presented individually by name.  Candidates will stand as a group by degrees, as they are presented, in the following order:

A. Associate in Science and Associate in Art
B. Scientiae Baccalaurei
C. Artium Baccalaurei
D. Master of Science (Management)
E. Master of Science in Education

The Marshals will assist in keeping the march to the platform moving smoothly.  Candidates will move up the right steps of the platform.  The Patron Saints will perform the hooding at the base of these steps.  After you have received your hood, you will proceed up the steps, cross the platform when your name is read, receive your diploma from President Champagne, exit down the left stairs, and return to your original seat.

The recessional will be in reverse order: platform party, trustees, faculty, and graduates.  The recessional will remain in formation until the leaders have completely cleared the area.  Do not break the line of march until everyone has passed beyond the limits of the audience.  Diplomas will be presented during Commencement Ceremonies to those who have completed all degree requirements and are in good financial standing.

7. Photographers

Professional photographers from GradImages will be photographing each graduate while they are hooded, receive their diplomas and, at the base of the left stairs photographs will be taken of each graduate with the class banner as a backdrop, after you have received your degree. A proof, which is a gift from GradImages, will be sent to each graduate approximately one week after Commencement, and photographs may be ordered directly from GradImages.  Their address is

8. Handicapped Parking

For Candlelight, the best accessible parking will be in the parking lot on 6th Street, behind Harris and Watson Halls.  This is on the same level as the program that will begin at 9:00 p.m. 

For Commencement at the First Arena, there is handicapped parking in front of the First Arena.  Seating on the floor level will be available to those who need it.  Please feel free to contact one of the program ushers on the day of the ceremony if you need assistance.  They will be able to be identified by their purple and gold sashes.

9. Commencement Reception

All are invited to a reception immediately following Commencement in the Campus Center Dining Hall.  Punch, tea sandwiches, and pastries will be served. 

10. Campus Housing

All residence areas, including cottages and houses, will close Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. for those participating in the Commencement exercises. Students living on campus should be certain to register for a time to check out with your Residence Life Coordinator, or the appropriate person for those living in the cottages or houses.

11. Social Guidelines

All College policies and social guidelines apply as long as students remain on campus.

12. Graduation Announcements and Diploma Frames

Announcements and diploma frames are available at the Commencement Fair and at the McGraw Bookstore.

13. Change of Address

Resident students should notify the Post Office of changes of address, noting specifically whether it is a temporary or permanent change. The Post Office will be open on Friday, June 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please check your campus mailbox for mail.

14. Bookstore Hours

Friday, June 3, 2016 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 4, 2016 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 5, 2016 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

15. Business Office Hours

Friday, June 3, 2016 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 4, 2016 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in 223 McGraw
Sunday, June 5, 2016 Office of the Registar, 113 McGraw, will be able to take payments for 1/2 hour after commencement

16. Gannett Tripp Library and College Switchboard

Friday, June 3, 2016 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 4, 2016 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 5, 2016 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

17. 1855 Room

Closed beginning Wednesday, June 1, 2016

18. MacKenzie's

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 2, 2016  9:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Friday, June 3, 2016 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 4, 2016 CLOSED
Sunday, June 5, 2016

19. Campus Center Dining Hall

Thursday, June 2, 2016 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Friday, June 3, 2016 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 4, 2016 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast

20. Mrs. Sweeney’s Shop

Monday, May 30, 2016 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
following Commencement to 5:00 p.m.

21. Campus Center

Thursday, June 2, 2016 7:45 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Friday, June 3, 2016   7:45 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Saturday, June 4, 2016 7:45 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
7:45 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.