Commencement 2021 FAQs
Skidmore College plans to hold commencement exercises for the Class of 2021 on Saturday, May 22, at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) as an in-person event open to the entire senior class, provided that state and local health and safety guidelines allow. Commencement will begin at 10:40 a.m.
Due to current and anticipated restrictions and legal limits on large gatherings, as well as health and safety considerations, in-person attendance by guests, families and friends will unfortunately not be possible. Based on what we know now, this is the safest and most feasible way to hold the graduation ceremony for the entire senior class, which was the overwhelming preference indicated by students.
As an equitable way to provide a free viewing experience for parents and family members who wish to gather safely in the vicinity of campus — especially for those of you who are coming to town to pick up your students — we have arranged for a safe viewing event to be held at Saratoga Springs City Center in downtown Saratoga Springs on the morning of Commencement. A maximum of two guests per student will be permitted to attend, and this registration form must be completed in advance. Attendees will receive a confirmation message that must be printed or saved and brought to the event.
The event will also be livestreamed for those who wish to view it.
We have considered many options for Commencement at Skidmore this year. The senior class was very clear that their top priority was to have the whole class together, in person, for a single ceremony, if at all possible. Given current and ever-changing conditions, we have been unable to conceive of a way to bring over 1,500 external guests to the ceremony. We would not be able to control nor confirm the necessary testing and other health procedures that would be required. Consequently, we have chosen to hold a single, large event for our graduating class.
We will livestream the ceremony for friends and family members and we are working to make this a very special event for the students.
Also, as an equitable way to provide a free viewing experience for parents and family members who wish to gather safely in the vicinity of campus — especially for those of you who are coming to town to pick up your students — we have arranged for a safe viewing event to be held at Saratoga Springs City Center in downtown Saratoga Springs on the morning of Commencement. A maximum of two guests per student will be permitted to attend, and this registration form must be completed in advance. Attendees will receive a confirmation message that must be printed or saved and brought to the event.
I am currently a senior studying remotely this semester. Will I be permitted to return to attend graduation? Will quarantine and testing procedures be different for international versus domestic students?
The College has developed the following protocols to allow remote seniors and January graduates to return to campus to participate in Commencement:
- Seniors studying remotely and January and August graduates were asked to complete a survey to confirm their interest in returning to campus by Monday, April 19.
- International students must meet quarantine requirements or submit proof of full vaccination status prior to arriving on campus.
- All returning students will be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results 72 hours prior to arriving on campus and must meet Skidmore, New York state, and federal testing and quarantine guidelines. Testing will be required upon arriving on campus and prior to Commencement.
- No room or board fees will be required for seniors returning to campus for Senior Week and/or Commencement.
- Students must arrive on or after Monday, May 17, 2021, and all graduating students must leave campus on Sunday, May 23, 2021.
Even if vaccinated, ALL graduating students must test twice this week, on Monday,
May 17, and Thursday, May 20. Students must show negative test results from these
tests in order to participate in Commencement on Saturday.
As part of the entry process, you will need to:
- Undergo a mandatory temperature check.
- Present your Skidmore ID and your entry ticket, and show cleared status in CoVerified/proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours, or a completed vaccination card, or the New York State Excelsior Pass. (For showing your cleared CoVerified status, it may be helpful to take a screenshot, in case of internet issues at SPAC.)
- You will also need to complete the SPAC certification form within 24 hours of entry. A link to the form will be sent to you via email on Friday, May 21 and MUST be completed prior to arrival at SPAC on Saturday, May 22.
- Masks are required at all times while at SPAC, and hand-sanitizing stations will be available in several locations throughout the grounds.
Yes. Graduating seniors may pick up their tickets to Commencement as part of the distribution of cords and stoles that will take place under the tent located on Upper South Park, in accord with the following schedule:
- Wednesday, May 19 from 3 to 5 p.m., last names A-H
- Thursday, May 20 from 9 to 11:30 a.m., last names I-N
- Thursday, May 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., last names O-T
- Thursday, May 20 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., last names U-W
- Thursday, May 20 from 3:30 to 5 p.m., last names X-Z
Any remaining tickets will be taken to SPAC and placed at the will-call table at the
Route 50 entrance to SPAC, where students may pick them up on Saturday morning, May
The gates at SPAC will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, May 22, and we encourage
everyone to allow ample time to complete the entry process due to the COVID-19 protocols
and screening process detailed above.
All students are required to park in the Route 50 parking lot at SPAC. When you arrive at SPAC, go directly to the main entrance.
Buses will be available for those who need transportation to and from SPAC. Buses will depart Case Center at 8:45 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Following the recessional and the conclusion of Commencement, please go directly to the buses in the Route 50 parking lot.
Yes. Any student who is unable to attend Commencement will still receive their degree as scheduled. The College will also work with seniors who are studying remotely to make them feel as involved as possible.
Diplomas will be mailed to students within two weeks of Commencement.
While we continue to hope that circumstances improve, we have all come to realize during this pandemic that conditions, guidance and legal restrictions can change rapidly. The College is carefully monitoring health conditions and will be prepared to quickly make adjustments should a shift in plans be required.
Commencement plans are subject to change at any time based on various conditions including levels of COVID-19 cases locally/regionally, and according to New York state public health guidelines and restrictions.
The Office of Campus Life and Engagement is currently planning activities and events for seniors that align with health and safety guidelines. More information will be shared with students when available.
January graduates interested in returning to campus to participate in Senior Week and/or Commencement were asked to respond to a Student Affairs survey by Friday, April 2.
All returning students will be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results 72 hours prior to arriving on campus and must meet Skidmore, New York state, and federal testing and quarantine guidelines. Testing will be required upon arriving on campus and prior to Commencement.
Yes. To ensure that all those who wish to share in the outstanding achievements of our graduates have the opportunity to do so, the College will livestream the entire Commencement ceremony. Specific details about the format of the ceremony and viewing options will be shared with the campus community and posted on the Commencement 2021 webpage.
As with all Skidmore College programming, we are committed to providing an accessible and inclusive commencement event for students and their loved ones. Access considerations are an important part of the planning process. We can assure you that captioning of all remarks will be provided.
Yes. After the event concludes, the video will be made available on demand and for download via the Commencement webpage.
If you ordered your cap and gown by selecting the "pick up at the Skidmore Shop" option,
you may now stop by to pick up and pay for your order.
If you’re interested in purchasing class rings, graduation announcements and diploma frames, visit this partner website.
The Skidmore Shop is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Students should pick up their cords and stoles at a tent that will be set up on the South Green in front of Case Center according to the schedule below. Students must present their student ID at the time of pick-up.
Wednesday, May 19:
- Noon to 5 p.m. (Students with last names A – H)
Thursday, May 20:
- 9 to 11:30 a.m. (Last names I-N)
- 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Last names O-T)
- 2 to 3:30 p.m. (Last Names U-W)
- 3:30 to 5 p.m. (Last Names X-Z)
To provide a window into what you can expect when you arrive at SPAC on the morning of Commencement, Raymi Ramirez ’21 and Shawn Sharifi ’21 of the Commencement Logistics Working Group take you through the arrival and entry process and the ceremony proceedings in this rehearsal video.
Yes, GradImages is a photography service we provide at Commencement. Each student will have their photo taken on stage at Commencement, and parents/families have the opportunity to purchase the photo.
GradImages will contact graduates via email regarding the possible purchase of these photographs. The College does not benefit financially from this arrangement; it is provided as a service to graduates and their families. You are not obligated to purchase the photographs.
Skidmore College will bestow honorary degrees upon Cornel West, one of America’s leading public intellectuals, and Janet Guthrie, the first woman ever to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. The ceremony is expected to be an in-person event open to the entire senior class.
With input from leaders from the Class of 2020, the College is planning an on-campus celebration in the May-June 2022 timeframe. More details will follow.