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Now Live: "A Salute to the Class of 2020"

Graduate & Adult Undergraduate Guide

74th Commencement Exercises:

In the effort to continue to work together as a community to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Marist has made the decision to postpone commencement. Marist’s commencement ceremonies will not be held on May 22-23. Postponed dates are to be determined. 


The countdown to your graduation is here. Congratulations on making it to this point—a culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Just as your studies required careful attention to directions and deadlines, participating in Commencement activities requires advanced planning. The following information is intended to help you and your guests enjoy Commencement 2020 exercises to the fullest. You deserve it!

Application for Graduation

All candidates must submit a completed Application for Graduation form to the Registrar’s office by December 2. Forms are also available in the Registrar’s office. The information provided on the form will be used to order your diploma and for the Commencement program.

Line-up Cards/Cap and Gown Distribution

All graduates must have a line-up card and cap & gown set for the Commencement ceremony itself.

Line-up cards and cap & gown sets will be available in Donnelly Hall on Thursday, May 21 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. and Friday, May 22 before the ceremony. Signs will be posted throughout the building directing you where to go. Students must pick up their line-up card and cap & gown set in person and will be required to show photo ID and sign the Alcohol Policy Statement. Line-up cards and cap & gown sets will not be available for pickup prior to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 21. Line-up cards are required in order to cross the stage. The Registrar’s office should be contacted immediately if the line-up card is lost.

Caps, gowns, and hoods (regalia) are purchased by the College for all graduates, at no cost to the student. These “keepers” are an eco-friendly product that are made from 100% recycled post-consumer plastic. Graduates may keep their regalia as keepsakes. However, those graduates who do not want to keep their regalia and are interested in an environmentally conscious method of disposing of the regalia may deposit their used regalia in recycling collection boxes in Donnelly Hall after the ceremony.

Cap & gown online ordering information will be emailed to the graduating student during the third week of January 2020. Cap and gown orders will be due on April 12, 2020.

Pronunciation of Names

Marist wants to make sure each name called on Commencement day is pronounced correctly. For this reason, names are all pre-recorded by the Dean of each school.  Marist provides students with the opportunity to record their own names so that the Deans may use those recordings as a reference. To record your name, log into iLearn. Under your sites you will find a course named Commencement Name Recording. Follow the directions described in the assignment. You will need a computer with a built-in microphone. If you don’t have one of your own, stop by the Help Desk in Donnelly or the Media Center in LT 208 for assistance. The Commencement Name Recording course will be available in late March, specific dates to be announced. If you have questions, please contact the Media Center at (845) 575-3635.

Commencement Day

The Marist College 2020 Graduate and Adult Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 22 at 6:00 p.m. Weather permitting, the ceremony is held outdoors on the Campus Green. Students, faculty, and staff will assemble for the procession at 5:15 p.m. on the Lowell Thomas Quad, between the Hancock and Dyson Centers. The procession is scheduled to begin promptly at 5:45 p.m. Candidates for Bachelor’s degrees will march together, led by their marshal, and will be called to receive their diploma covers in alphabetical order. Candidates for Master’s degrees will march together, led by their marshal, and will be called to receive their diploma covers by graduate program. Line-up cards will be collected from students as they approach the platform. Family and guests are encouraged to arrive before 5:30 p.m. However, no guests will be permitted to enter the actual ceremony site before 5:00 p.m. The ceremony is expected to last approximately one hour. Immediately following the ceremony, all graduating students and their guests are invited to join their fellow graduates at a reception on the Saint Peter’s Meadow. In the case of rain or severe weather, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the McCann Center (See the Weather Procedure). Details will be available on the Marist website (, the Marist weather hotline at (845) 575-5500, and the Marist Guidebook App. Watch this virtual rehearsal video for more information. 

Parking Information

Family and guests are encouraged to arrive before 5:30 p.m. to better ensure a parking space. Parking will be available on the east and west campuses. Vehicular access to the main campus will become increasingly difficult as the parking lots become filled. Guests with handicapped permits should enter the North Entrance only. There is no access to handicapped parking from the South Entrance.

For a complete list of parking sites and instructions, please see the Parking Information & Map.

General Seating

Admittance to the outdoor ceremony is by general admission. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and no saving of seats will be allowed. Please inform your guests to follow the directives of the security staff and ushers. All persons must stay within the roped-off areas to allow the best visibility for everyone. Please do not block the view of others by standing on chairs or in the aisles.

In addition to the outdoor seating area, the College has arranged for a special live viewing of the ceremony to be broadcast indoors in several campus locations. Please see Indoor Live Viewing for further information.

Disabled Guests

There will be a designated seating section to accommodate disabled guests, and the ceremony will be interpreted in sign for the hearing impaired. Graduating students may request disabled seating tickets and parking permits in the Registrar’s office starting Wednesday, May 6. A limit of one disabled parking permit and two disabled seating tickets per graduate will be issued.

Lots are reserved for vehicles with handicapped license plates, handicapped parking placards issued by a municipality, or special parking permits issued by the Registrar’s office. Guests with handicapped parking permits should enter the North Entrance only and should be prepared to show their permits to the security guard, who will direct them to the appropriate parking area. There is no access to the handicapped parking areas from the South Entrance.

Indoor Live Viewing

In addition to the outdoor seating area, the College offers live-broadcasting of the ceremony in posted campus locations. These locations offer air-conditioned venues for guests who prefer to be out of the “elements." Please see site maps for more information or the Marist Guidebook App.

Web Broadcasting

Family and friends of graduates who are unable to attend the event can view the ceremony streaming live by visiting Marist’s homepage at and clicking on the Commencement link.

Red and White Cords

At the time of cap and gown pick up, all adult students – undergraduate and graduate – will receive a red and white cord, known as the “Putting Him/Her Through” (PHT) recognition cord. Students are to give the cord to one of their guests to wear during the ceremony. The cord is intended to recognize the support, patience, and encouragement that helped the graduate on his or her journey toward degree completion

Virtual Rehearsal

There is no rehearsal for Friday’s Commencement ceremony. Graduates should assemble for the Commencement procession at 5:15 p.m. on the Lowell Thomas Quad, between the Hancock and Dyson Centers. There will be plenty of staff on hand to help the graduates line up.

Graduates are encouraged to take a few moments to watch the virtual rehearsal video.

Weather Procedures

Commencement is such an important occasion for graduates and families that the College strives to accommodate as many of your guests as possible. Weather permitting, the Marist Commencement Ceremony is held on the Campus Green. In the event of rain or severe weather, the ceremony will be moved to the McCann Center Arena. Listen for Announcements. If the ceremony is moved indoors, announcements will be made on the Marist website, the Marist weather hotline (845) 575-5500 and the Marist Guidebook App under "Alerts" section. Instructions will be given to students informing them where they should report for line up. Please check these sources before traveling to campus. Guest seating in the McCann Center Arena is on bleachers. Some individuals may find the climb to the upper seats difficult and may prefer to view the ceremony in areas designated for indoor live viewing. Seating for disabled guests will be available for those who prearranged for disabled seating tickets. As with outdoor exercises, Marist will have the ceremony professionally recorded and have professional photographers on hand to capture graduates as they receive their diploma covers.

Alcohol Policy

Alcohol is not permitted before or during the Commencement exercises and will be confiscated if brought to the ceremony. Please advise all guests of this policy. Graduates participating in the Commencement ceremony will be required to sign a statement to acknowledge that they understand the College’s Alcohol Policy. These statements will be available on Thursday, May 21, between the hours of 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. (during line-up card distribution).

Area Accommodations

For a list of local hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and restaurants, check out our Local Accommodations List.


Diplomas will be mailed by June 15 to all who have met graduation requirements. Graduates must be clear of all financial obligations, including loan exit interviews and library fees, before a diploma will be mailed. Questions about financial obligations should be directed to the Office of Student Financial Services (845) 575-3230.


Bouquets, corsages, and boutonnières can be purchased in advance courtesy of the Alumni Office and picked up on campus on graduation day between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. Please download the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM order form found on the Commencement website.


Professional photographers from Island Photography will photograph all graduates as they receive their diplomas from President Murray. To receive proofs online, please provide an email address on the back of your line-up card, and you will be notified when they are available for viewing. Graduates will also receive two complimentary proofs and an order form by mail.

Due to the large number of people attending Commencement, it is necessary to restrict access to the platform and the graduates’ seating area. Guests will not be able to walk or stand in the aisles to take photographs or videotape. However, there will be designated areas for families to take pictures following the ceremony. The Commencement program, which you will receive on Commencement day, will show these locations.

Hometown Newspaper Announcements

The Office of College Marketing and Communication receives a list of graduating students and is able to match your hometown with your local paper automatically and send the release out electronically. Graduates who do not wish to have a news release sent to their hometown paper must opt out of this process. To opt out, please email or call (845) 575-3174 by Friday, April 3. If Media Relations does not hear from graduates by April, releases are sent to hometown newspapers.

Marist cannot guarantee that newspapers will print the release, but we will make sure the newspaper gets it

Personalized Announcements

Students may wish to order announcements to alert family and friends about their upcoming graduation. Orders for personalized announcements can be placed online at

Alumni Information

The Marist College Alumni Association is a network of more than 42,000 Marist graduates with 15 domestic regional chapters spanning from New York to California as well as an active group in Europe. The chapters are designed to keep you involved and connected with your alma mater and fellow alumni, and can be a lot of fun. A list of regional chapters is available at The best way we can keep you updated on Marist events and send Marist magazine, the Marist Minute enewsletter, invitations, and other communications, is if we have your correct contact information.

We have no way of knowing if you’re using your Marist email address or a different address unless you tell us. You can easily update your personal and business contact information online by logging into Please feel free to contact the Office of Alumni Relations at any time at or (845) 575-3283.

Helpful Hints

  • Your tassel should be worn on the right until President Murray confers all graduates’ degrees.
  • Only one honor cord should be worn with regalia.
  • The red and white PHT cord given out with regalia is for a family member to wear.
  • The weather can be unpredictable, so remember both your umbrella and your sunblock.
  • Remember the grass can be wet even if it isn’t raining, so consider your footwear carefully.
  • Leave ample time for parking.
  • All graduates and guests must turn off cell phones. Please be considerate of others.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Monday, October 28: Undergraduate and Graduate graduation applications are due in the Registrar’s Office for January 2020 candidates.

Monday, December 2: Undergraduate and Graduate graduation applications are due in the Registrar’s Office by 5 p.m. for May 2020 candidates.

Monday, February 3: Website for student regalia orders opens

Friday, April 17: Last day to place cap and gown orders

Thursday, April 9: Last day for graduates to record their own names for reference in the iLearn system

Wednesday, May 6: Disabled seating/parking permits become available in the Registrar’s office

Thursday, May 21, 4:30-7:00 p.m.: Line-up card and cap and gown distribution in Donnelly Hall (photo ID required)

Commencement Day: Friday, May 24

  • 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: Continued line-up card and cap and gown distribution in Donnelly Hall (photo ID required)
  • 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.: Bookstore open
  • 5:00-7:00 p.m.: Flower tent open (see order form on Commencement website)
  • 5:00 p.m.: Guests allowed to enter ceremony site
  • 5:15 p.m.: Graduates line up
  • 6:00-7:15 p.m.: Commencement Ceremony
  • 7:15 p.m.: Reception for Graduates and families. Located at Saint Peter's Meadow

Monday, June 15: Diplomas mailed to all eligible graduates

Commencement Ceremony Site Maps

Upper Campus Commencement Map

Commencement Ceremony Lower Campus Map