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Commencement Ceremony

Honoring our 2020 & 2021 Graduates

Saint Rose Graduation Commencement 2019

Congratulations, Saint Rose Graduates!

This year is special in that we will celebrate the achievements of two graduating classes – the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 – in three commencement ceremonies at the Times Union Center in Albany.

Watch and Download Commencement Videos

The video files of all three commencement ceremonies are available online on our commencement videos page, so you can download them. We have also posted commemorative videos of each ceremony, which will include the full livestreams.

Commencement Videos

Graduate online galleries

Members of the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 are encouraged to submit their photo and bio for our online graduate galleries. This is another way for us to highlight your achievements in this unusual commencement year.

Class of 2020 Class of 2021

Show your Saint Rose pride!

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Commencement Dates and Times

Please note that plans are subject to change based on COVID-19 rates and changes to New York State guidelines. Information will be added and updated on this site as the commencement dates near.
Location: All events are in the Times Union Center in Albany.

Class of 2021
Graduate studentsFriday, May 7, at 7 p.m.
Undergraduate and College Experience Program studentsSaturday, May 8, at 10 a.m.
Class of 2020
All undergraduate, graduate, and College Experience Program studentsSaturday, May 8, at 3 p.m.

Which Commencement do you attend?

  • Class of 2020: Those who received degrees in December 2019, or May 2020, August 2020
  • Class of 2021: Those who received degrees in December 2020, or May 2021, August 2021

Dual degrees: If you earned a dual degree (a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at the same time) as part of the Class of 2021, you can select the undergraduate or graduate ceremony based on your preference.

Earning two degrees in separate years: If you earned a degree in Class of 2020 and are earning a master’s degree or certificate of advanced study in the Class of 2021, you can choose either the Class of 2020 ceremony, the graduate degree ceremony for Class of 2021, or both ceremonies. If you would like to attend both ceremonies, please email mancinik@strose.edu.

*View the commencement attendance policy here.

Key Points

This year is also unique in that we are operating under New York State COVID-19-related guidelines. Some important things to note:

  • The period to order guest tickets and register to attend commencement as a graduate has closed. Unfortunately, graduates who did not RSVP for the ceremony and guests without tickets will not be able to enter the Times Union Center under NYS pre-registration requirements.
  • All three events will be livestreamed. You can access the livestream on the homepage of the College’s website.
  • Upon arrival at the Times Union Center, all commencement attendees – both graduates and guests – must present either proof of having completed the full COVID-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to the day of the ceremony OR a negative PCR COVID-19 test (conducted within 72 hours of the day of the event) or a Rapid Antigen test taken within 6 hours of the start of the event, as well as a government-issued photo ID in order to gain entry to the building. Individuals who have fully recovered from a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 3 months and who do not have any recent or current symptoms are not required to produce a recent negative diagnostic test result but must provide proof of illness and recovery (e.g. proof of a prior positive test result or completed order of isolation within the last 90 days). All attendees will also receive temperature checks before being permitted to enter. Facemasks must be worn. Find more information on entry protocol, including guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and more information on testing, below.

Graduate checklist

  1. Pick up your cap and gown. Those who ordered caps and gowns will receive an email from the Campus Bookstore about order pick-up. Gowns have been shipped to those who asked for them to be mailed. Email saintrose@bkstr.com or call 518.454.5245 if you have questions. The bookstore will be open Friday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 8, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The bookstore also will be at commencement near the registration table with extra graduation attire in case of emergency.
  2. Be ready for what you need to show at the door. You and your guests should be prepared to show a government-issued ID and one of three things at the door of the Times Union Center in order to gain entry.
    • A negative PCR test or taken within 72 hours of the day of your commencement ceremony (tested no earlier than May 4 for the May 7 ceremony or no earlier than May 5 for the May 8 ceremonies) or a Rapid Antigen test taken within 6 hours of the start of the event. You can show results via mobile app, screenshot, image, or paper form.

    OR

    • You can also show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination completed at least 14 days prior to the start of the event. The final dose of a series must have been received by April 23 for the Friday, May 7, ceremony or by April 24 for the Saturday, May 8, ceremonies. You can show your vaccine card or a photo of your vaccine card.

    OR

    • Individuals who have fully recovered from a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 3 months and who do not have any recent or current symptoms are not required to produce a recent negative diagnostic test result but must provide proof of illness and recovery (e.g. proof of a prior positive test result or completed order of isolation within the last 90 days).
  3. Arrive at commencement:
    • Graduates must enter through Beaver Street entrance of the Times Union Center. See the map for details.
    • Doors will open 2 hours prior to the start of the ceremony on each commencement day, so that’s 5 p.m. for the Friday, May 7 ceremony; 8 a.m. for the Saturday, May 8 morning ceremony; and 1 p.m. for the Saturday, May 8 afternoon ceremony. Again, be prepared to show at the Times Union Center entrance proof of vaccination or your negative test result or proof of recovery from a confirmed case of COVID-19. Graduates and guests also will be required to pass a temperature check. If your temperature is above 100.4 degrees, you will not be allowed to enter the Times Union Center.
    • Masks must be worn at all times. We also suggest graduates arrive in their caps and gowns to avoid unnecessary congestion in restrooms or gathering in groups to fix their attire. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to wear the attire, you’re not alone. That’s why we have this video with instructions on how to wear your hood.
    • After you enter through the Beaver Street entrance, you will check in and receive a name card, which will have your seat assignment on it. Then you will be directed right to your seat.

Guest arrival and information

Guests must have a ticket in order to gain entrance to the Times Union Center. There are no walk-ins and no tickets available at the venue. Children are not able to enter and sit on a guest’s lap unless they have their own ticket, per New York State guidelines.

Doors will open 2 hours prior to the start of the ceremony on each commencement day, so that’s 5 p.m. for the Friday, May 7 ceremony; 8 a.m. for the Saturday, May 8 morning ceremony; and 1 p.m. for the Saturday, May 8 afternoon ceremony.

Guests must show a government-issued ID and one of three things at the door of the Times Union Center in order to gain entry:

  • A negative PCR test or taken within 72 hours of the day of your commencement ceremony (tested no earlier than May 4 for the May 7 ceremony or no earlier than May 5 for the May 8 ceremonies) or a Rapid Antigen test taken within 6 hours of the start of the event. You can show results via mobile app, screenshot, image, or paper form.

OR

  • You can also show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination completed at least 14 days prior to the start of the event. The final dose of a series must have been received by April 23 for the Friday, May 7, ceremony or by April 24 for the Saturday, May 8, ceremonies. You can show your vaccine card or a photo of your vaccine card.

OR

  • Individuals who have fully recovered from a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 3 months and who do not have any recent or current symptoms are not required to produce a recent negative diagnostic test result but must provide proof of illness and recovery (e.g. proof of a prior positive test result or completed order of isolation within the last 90 days).

Seats are assigned in two-person pods. You must sit in your assigned seat per New York State guidelines for contact tracing purposes.

Masks must be worn at all times.

Guests are not permitted to move close to the stage in order to capture photos of their graduates. They must remain seated. Please note there will be a photographer on-site who will take pictures of every graduate on-stage and off.

Testing availability

For those who still need to be tested in order to gain entry to the Times Union Center, Rapid tests are available at BioReference Laboratories, 63 Columbia Street in Albany, not far from the Times Union Center. You must schedule an appointment online in advance, testing costs $29.95, and results are available in about 30 minutes.

Commencement program

Pomp and Circumstance

There will not be a commencement procession, but graduates will be asked to rise for “Pomp and Circumstance” so family, friends, and the College community can applaud them during this traditional graduation song.

Entering and exiting the commencement stage

Graduates will be directed as to when it is their turn to walk across the stage. As they walk across the stage, they will hand the name card given to them at check-in to the person on the stage. Graduates will be handed their diploma covers as they cross the stage.

After graduates have crossed the stage, they will proceed to the marked area for an on-stage photo. New York State graduation guidelines allow graduates to remove their masks ONLY for this photo. They must put their mask back on before they leave the stage.

Graduates should follow usher instructions for a second off-stage photo and return to their seats. Graduates should do their best to return to their assigned seat.

Seating and exiting the ceremony

As graduates move about the arena, they must adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times. Visiting with guests in the stands is not permitted.

Graduates will need to remain seated in the arena for the entire ceremony.

After the ceremony, graduates should follow usher instructions to be dismissed from the arena via the Beaver Street exit. Graduates should be sure to take their belongings with them, including their gift from the Alumni Office and Alumni Association, as they will not be allowed re-entry to the arena.

Other details

Livestreaming

All three ceremonies will be livestreamed. The link can be found on the College’s homepage.

Concessions

No food or drink will be available during commencement.

Photos and video on social media

The photos that are taken of graduates on the stage will be emailed by Grad Images to your Saint Rose email account. You can make your selection and purchase directly through Grad Images.

Both a photographer and videographer will be taking photos/video during the ceremony for the College’s social media. Share your photos on social using the hashtag #strosegraduate. Saint Rose graduation-themed profile pic frames and GIFs are available on Facebook and Instagram respectively.
Reading of graduates’ names: All graduates who are present will have their names called when it is their turn to cross the commencement stage. Saint Rose undergraduate, graduate, and College Experience students who are not able to attend the ceremonies will have their names read and scrolled on the screen at the end of the live broadcasts.

Wifi at the Times Union Center

Free Wifi is brought to you by Family Danz. Once you arrive, find and connect to the available network labeled “TUC free WIFI by Family Danz.”

Restroom availability

All restrooms are open and available. There are large restrooms located at three of the four corners of the arena. Each restroom will be one way in and one way out to assist with traffic, and social distancing will be followed in each.

On-site florist

A florist will be located on the Main Concourse level at Section 105 and 120.

Diplomas

Class of 2020 graduates have already received their diplomas in the mail (or are now receiving them if they completed their degrees in December 2020). For the Class of 2021, final verification of degree requirements will not be completed prior to commencement day (this is the norm in any commencement year). So, the Class of 2021 will receive only a diploma case at the ceremony. Diplomas are mailed in July for those that complete their degrees in May and in October for those who complete their degrees in August. Please be sure to clear any holds (financial, library, athletic, parking, etc.). A diploma or transcript will not be issued if you have any outstanding obligations to the College.

Help with graduation attire

Need help figuring out how to put on your graduation hood? Find a video that explains how here.

Rehearsal

There is no rehearsal for commencement.

Directions to the Times Union Center and parking

The address for the Times Union Center is: 51 South Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12207

We recommend parking in the garage located directly behind the Times Union Center, which provides direct, covered access to this building on the Concourse level (for this event it is the main guest entrance and also where wheelchair and special needs seating is located). Ushers will be available to assist with seating at this parking garage entrance to the arena.  The fee for parking is $5. Entry to this garage is directly off of Market Street just before you reach Eagle Street.

Times Union Center security

The TU Center has security procedures for all events held at their facility, which include metal detectors, bag searches, limitation of allowed bag size, and if needed, pat downs.

ADA accessibility

Graduating students who require seating/walking or other accommodations for themselves (i.e., ADA accessible seating, sign language interpreter, assistance crossing stage, etc.), should contact Tina McMahon in the Event’s Scheduling and Administration office as soon as possible at 518.454.5171 or mcmahont@strose.edu

For guests who need ADA accommodations, we will have two individuals at the garage entrance to assist them.

Cameras

Please note, the Times Union Center has made an exception to its usual policy, and cameras will be allowed at commencement.

Honors

Please note that honors, such as Summa cum laude, are only granted at the bachelor’s degree level. There are no honors at the graduate level. At the time of the ceremony, grades are not yet in for the spring semester, so honors at commencement are based upon work completed prior. A student’s final honors, which includes their last semester, will appear on their diploma along with their degree. Diplomas are mailed in July. Final honors, academic major, and degree will appear on the final transcript. GPAs for honors are as follows: Summa cum laude 3.9-4.0, Magna cum laude 3.7-3.89, and Cum laude 3.5-3.69.

Graduate online galleries

Members of the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 are encouraged to submit their photos and bios for our online graduate galleries. This is another way for us to highlight your achievements in this unusual commencement year.

Class of 2020 Class of 2021

Outcome survey: Please complete The College of Saint Rose Outcome Survey and be entered into a drawing for a chance to WIN a $250 VISA Gift Card. We are interested in your post-graduation employment status, your plans to continue your education after graduating, and your participation in internships while attending Saint Rose. This information serves as a valuable resource for current students, alumni, prospective families, and the campus community. Data will appear in aggregate form, responses will remain anonymous and individual identifiers will not be released to any third party. If you have any questions, or if the Career Center can be of assistance with your job or graduate school search process, please contact The Career Center at career@strose.edu or 518.454.5141. Thank you for your participation.

Commencement speakers

The College of Saint Rose will celebrate the resilience of its graduates, who completed degrees and advanced certificates during a pandemic, with commencement speeches by three inspirational alumni who demonstrate the Saint Rose strength of spirit. Each speaker has shown a commitment to scholarship, excellence, and serving the dear neighbor through their professional and personal pursuits.

Dr. Cecily Wilson-Turner, assistant superintendent for elementary instruction for the City School District of Albany, speaker for the 7 p.m. May 7 ceremony for Class of 2021 graduate students

As a child attending Arbor Hill Elementary School, Wilson-Turner was nurtured by teachers who made her feel exceptional while holding her to high standards and inspiring her with hands-on learning opportunities. She decided then she would become a teacher because she wanted to be as meaningful in students’ lives as her teachers were in hers.

In 2000, she started her career in the City School District of Albany, returning to her hometown because she believed her teachers in Albany were among the best, and she wanted to learn from them. After seven years as a teacher, she quickly rose through the administrative ranks and to her current role overseeing the district’s 11 elementary schools in 2015.

She describes her leadership style as “servant-leader” and seeks to support teachers’ success in any way she can “from providing them with systems and structures to just being a human being when they need someone to be a human being with them.”

Edson Chipalo

Edson Chipalo, Ph.D. student in social work at the University of Alabama whose main research focuses on substance use and violence among refugees and immigrant populations with multifaceted mental health problems, speaker for the 10 a.m. May 8 ceremony for Class of 2021 undergraduate students and members of the College Experience Program

Chipalo is a Ph.D. student and a Graduate Council Fellowship recipient at the University of Alabama. His main research focuses on substance use and violence among refugees and immigrant populations with multifaceted mental health problems. Additionally, his secondary research focuses on cancer, global mental health, domestic violence, and health disparities in low- and middle-income countries.

He earned a Master of Science in Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University in 2018 and graduated summa cum laude from Saint Rose in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in social work.

Chipalo was born into poverty in Zambia and lost both of his parents while he was a child. He was raised by his grandparents, who were subsistence farmers. Driven by Nelson Mandela’s words, “Education is the power we can use to change the world,” Chipalo finished school in Zambia, and he worked as a volunteer with children with disabilities before he came to the United States to volunteer with an organization assisting elderly individuals and people with disabilities. He later spent two years at Berkshire Community College, where he obtained his associate degree before he transferred to Saint Rose.

“My life has been a journey from grass to grace, pessimistic to optimistic, and despondency to hopefulness, from far-fetched dreams to reality. I didn’t want to continue in the cycle of poverty I never chose to be born into,” Chipalo said upon his graduation from Saint Rose in 2017. “I am geared to join the cause – to be the agent of change society needs.”

Jermaine Brookshire Jr., Esq

Jermaine Brookshire Jr., Esq., a Connecticut-based attorney for Wiggin and Dana LLP, who is also CEO and founder of the Great Expectations Movement (GEM), speaker for the 3 p.m. May 8 ceremony for Class of 2020 graduate, undergraduate, and College Experience Program students

Brookshire is an associate at Wiggin and Dana LLP, a full-service law firm with offices throughout the United States, where he works primarily with the firm’s Emerging Companies and Venture Capital Practice Group.

Before joining Wiggin and Dana, Brookshire worked with students as a teacher’s assistant at Washington University School of Law. Prior to this, he was a legal intern with the Yale-New Haven Health System in the Legal and Risk Services Department in New Haven, Connecticut. He has also worked as the Senior Analyst for the Committee on Labor for the New York State Assembly. He is the founder and CEO of The Great Expectations Movement (GEM) Inc., a nonprofit organization for youth that focuses on motivation and personal development. GEM was born at Saint Rose, after Brookshire asked friends Kajanna McKenzie ’13, MD and Gerald Moore, Jr. ’13, G’14 to help him organize an event where they would share their stories of overcoming challenges in order to inspire others.

Read more about each of these speakers and the commencement ceremony.

Frequently Asked Questions

Under current New York State COVID-19 guidelines, Capacity for events is limited to 10% of the venue, or in this case 1,300 people.

All three commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed. You can access the livestream via the homepage of the College’s website. Saint Rose undergraduate, graduate, and College Experience students who are not able to attend the ceremonies will have their names read and scrolled on the screen at the end of the live broadcasts.

Guest ticket orders closed at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 6. No walk-ins are permitted. We encourage you to direct guests to the livestream, which can be accessed from the homepage of the College’s website.

The RSVP period for commencement closed on  April 16. Having a deadline allows us to plan for an accurate number of attendees.

We are operating under New York State guidelines for graduation ceremonies, including those at facilities such as the Times Union Center. Smaller ceremonies on-campus were also considered, but the number of graduates and space limitations coupled with the desire to have guests, revealed it wasn’t feasible. The plan that has been announced is our best option given the limits the pandemic has placed on in-person events.

Those who ordered caps and gowns will receive an email from the Campus Bookstore about order pick-up. Gowns have been shipped to those who asked for them to be mailed. Email saintrose@bkstr.com if you have questions.

There will be some attire available at the Times Union Center near the graduate check-in table.

Graduation attire cost:

  • Bachelor’s degree: $73
  • Master’s degree: $81

Yes. Photos will be taken both on the stage and just off the stage as graduates are called up to receive their diploma cases.

The photos that are taken of graduates on the stage will be emailed by Grad Images to your Saint Rose email account. You can make your selection and purchase directly through Grad Images.

The College will also have a photographer there capturing images for social media and future College publications and materials.

Attendees do not have to obtain a COVID-19 test if they can show proof of having completed the COVID-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to commencement day. Please see the Graduate Checklist and Guest Arrival and Information section above for more details.

We’ve provided information below on two ways to access testing – on-campus or at an off-site provider located near the Times Union Center. Please see the section applicable to you below.

Free on-campus testing on May 5:

The College is offering free PCR testing for graduates, their guests, and College employees attending the ceremony through Quadrant Biosciences on Wednesday, May 5, from 7 a.m. until noon in the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium. Being tested on this date means you will have results in time to attend either the May 7 or May 8 ceremonies.

Please pre-register with your information (disregard the section about a test kit). You can walk in anytime between the hours of 7 a.m. and noon and be tested.

This is pooled PCR testing, and the sample will be obtained from a swab along the gum lines in your mouth. If a pool comes back positive or inconclusive, a second test will be run on the sample and will be charged to your insurance at $85.

Do NOT test if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

The morning of your scheduled test, you should NOT:
• Brush your teeth
• Eat/drink anything
• Smoke or use smokeless tobacco products (including vapes)
• Use gum or lozenges

Testing for those who can’t come to campus on May 5:

If you are not able to come to campus for the May 5 testing, please plan on scheduling a PCR test at a site near you to be administered no sooner than May 5 in order to be in compliance with New York State Guidelines. News reports say that demand for testing is down, so test results at various sites (state-run sites, pharmacies, other private providers) should be back in time for commencement.

If you want to wait and take a rapid test within six hours of the start of the ceremony or results of the test you took in your community are not back in time, BioReference Laboratories is a rapid testing provider located at 63 Columbia Street in Albany, not far from the Times Union Center. You must schedule an appointment online in advance, testing costs $29.95, and results are available in about 30 minutes.

Modified events are being planned for senior week. Please reach out to studentdevelopment@strose.edu for details.

The Center for Integrated Teacher Education (CITE) program is a distance delivery partner of the College for students from Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, and New York City who are seeking advanced certificates in the field of education.

A separate event is being held to recognize CITE graduates.

Although we do not have capacity to host our many CITE graduates at the commencement ceremonies at the Times Union Center this year, we will include their names in the commencement program and the Saint Rose Magazine. Because of time constraints, the names of CITE graduates will not be read at the live ceremony.

Please see the following announcement for details about our commencement speakers.

Yes.

  • All graduates’ names (including the CITE program) will be listed in the printed commencement programs (one for the Class of 2020 and one for the Class of 2021)
  • All graduates’ names from the Class of 2020 and 2021 (including the CITE program) will have their names listed in the Saint Rose Magazine, which will be published in late May.
  • Graduates in both the Class of 2020 and 2021 can submit their photo and bio to the online commencement galleries.
  • A commemorative commencement video will also be produced in the weeks following commencement.
  • Commencement gifts will be provided by the Alumni Office.

The College does not have a policy around the wearing of cords and stoles with graduation attire. If you have questions about cords and stoles, please contact the organization that would be issuing them.

The College assumes most graduates will want to drive with family or friends; however, a bus will be available from the College on a reservation basis for graduating students only.Departure times will be announced at a later date. To reserve space for yourself on this bus, please contact the Events Scheduling and Administration office by April 30 at eventsoffice@strose.edu (through your student strose.edu email account). Include your name and your phone number.

Yes. That is why there is so much time between the two May 8 ceremonies.

Due to limits on gatherings, unfortunately, we cannot hold a reception for graduates this year.

Unfortunately, due to COVID 19 restrictions, all guests must stay seated. Please note there will be a photographer on-site who will take photos of graduates on stage and off. Information about those photos will be sent to the graduates via their Saint Rose email.

Due to COVID 19 precautions, children are not allowed to sit with graduates or walk across the stage.

The bookstore will be open Friday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 8, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You can also visit our online bookstore to view and purchase an array of Saint Rose swag and gifts.

College staff do not have the ability to look up tickets. They are viewable from your Ticketmaster account.

No, the Times Union Center will not have concessions open, and you may not bring any food/drink into the arena with you.

Per New York State guidelines, only ticket holders are allowed into the arena. You would have to have a ticket for your child.

Please email solutions@strose.edu.