General Information and Frequently Asked Questions...
Below are questions that parents frequently ask us about Commencement. If you have other questions, please call the Office of Alumni Relations and College Events at 518-580-5670 or e-mail us at CollegeEvents@skidmore.edu.
Where is Commencement held?
Skidmore's Commencement Exercises are held annually at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), located in the Saratoga Spa State Park on Route 50, several miles from campus. Directions and Parking Information are found here. The SPAC amphitheater is covered by not enclosed. Commencement will be held at SPAC rain or shine. Please note that the temperature in the amphitheater can be very cool in the spring. We recommend that you dress in layers, and even consider bringing a lap blanket, to ensure a comfortable experience.
Will we need tickets?
Yes. The College’s first priority is to provide seats for our graduates and their families based on the allowable seating capacity within the Amphitheater. Therefore, a maximum of six (6) tickets will be allocated to graduating seniors for admission of family members and friends. Additional seating for the ceremony will be available on the lawn and tickets will not be required for this area. You may bring your own blankets and lawn chairs (under 24” height) for lawn use. For SPAC lawn rules, click here.
How do I request tickets for Commencement?
To request tickets, graduating seniors must submit an online request form to request up to a maximum of six (6) tickets for admission of family members and/or friends. All online requests must be submitted to the Office of Alumni Relations & College Events by April 15, 2017. For information on when and where you should pick up your tickets, click here.
Where is the seating for the general public?
Due to the enthusiasm that has been generated following the announcement of this year's honorary degree recipients, Skidmore will institute a policy whereby admission tickets for seats in the amphitheater of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will be REQUIRED for each Skidmore guest except for children under the age of 2. The College's first priority is to provide seats for our graduates and their families based on the allowable seating capacity within the Amphitheater.
Additional seating for the ceremony will be available on the SPAC lawn for community members (including alumni and students (not graduating)) and tickets will NOT be required for this area. Guests seated on the lawn may bring blankets and lawn chairs (under 24" height) for use in this area.
Saratoga Performing Arts Center gates open at 8 a.m. Please enter SPAC grounds at the Route 50 main parking entrance. You will form two lines at the grounds entrance; one for ticketed guests and one for guests without tickets. If you do not have a ticket, you will be directed to the lawn areas on the far right and far left. Security Officers will direct you to your appropriate location. No one will be permitted in the center lawn area with the exception of graduates. SPAC ground rules for concerts apply to this event and can be found on the SPAC website.
When should we plan to arrive in Saratoga Springs?
Activities begin on Friday, May 19, and Commencement Exercises will be held on Saturday, May 20, at 10:40 a.m. Please review the schedule of events to determine the arrival day and time that works best for you and your family and guests. General directions and travel information for Skidmore College are located here.
When should we make hotel reservations?
Reservations for accommodations and dining out should be made as early as possible. For a brochure of area hotels and restaurants, please call the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce at 518-584-3255 or visit www.saratoga.org. (Please note that many area hotels require a two-night minimum during this weekend; we advise you to discuss such issues when making reservations.)
How do we get to SPAC? Where should we park?
As the SPAC map in this packet indicates, entrances to the Saratoga Spa State Park
are located on Route 50
and Route 9. Please use the Route 50 parking lot. More detailed directions to SPAC are listed in the back of this newsletter or you click here. Please note that New York State Law prohibits the possession or use of alcohol and narcotics within the state park grounds.
What time should we arrive at SPAC?
You may arrive at SPAC as early as you like. Please note, however, that you must be sitting in your seat in order to hold it, and articles such as jackets and programs that are left on seats will be removed and held at the information table at the top of the hill. In addition, please note that the processional is an integral and traditional part of Commencement; to ensure that it goes smoothly, we ask that you take your seat by 10:30 a.m. Please leave all aisles clear throughout the ceremony.
Can we take photographs during the ceremony?
Guests may take photographs from their seats; however, in order to avoid obstructing the view of others, you are asked not to approach the stage area. Skidmore has contracted with GradImages Studios to take photographs of each graduate receiving his/her diploma from President Philip Glotzbach. GradImages will contact students 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.
Can we purchase flowers at the Commencement ceremony?
Flowers are available to purchase on SPAC grounds on May 20, no pre-ordering necessary.
A member of our family has mobility impairment and requires seating arrangements at SPAC. How may we arrange for this?
Seating for persons with mobility impairment is available in a designated section of the amphitheater. Due to space limitations, up to three requests (per party) for mobility impaired seating accommodations will be considered; additional requests can be considered only as space permits. There is a designated drop off point just steps away from the amphitheater. In order for us to arrange for your needs, seniors will need to indicate the need for seating arrangements on the ticket request form available by clicking here. If you have more than three (3) members in your party, additional guests will be seated in the general seating areas of the amphitheater. Please note: 1) Tickets and parking passes for the mobility impaired seating section are required and will be checked when you arrive to be seated. 2) A sign language interpreter will be on stage to interpret the ceremony. 3) Listening centers are available: please note your request for them on the ticket request form.
What time will the ceremony be over?
The ceremony typically lasts between 2½-3 hours, beginning promptly at 10:40 a.m. and ending approximately between 1-1:30 p.m. The post reception will be held at the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall on Skidmore College campus immediately following the ceremony. Graduates, families, friends, faculty and staff are invited to attend.
When do I need to vacate my dorm/apartment?
You need to vacate your dorm/apartment by Sunday, May 21 at 10 a.m. Please be sure to take all of your belongings with you when you leave.
Whom should I contact with questions about…
- Eligibility to participate in Commencement '17
Sharon Clemmey, 518-580-5713
- The Commencement schedule and the ceremony
Office of Alumni Relations and College Events, 518-580-5670
- Seating arrangement for mobility impaired and drop off pass
Office of Alumni Relations and College Events, 518-580-5670
- Purchasing Academic Regalia, College rings, and Commencement announcements
Contact the Skidmore Shop between April 13-May 19.
Web site: Skidmore Shop
- Commencement flowers, etc.
Flowers are available on SPAC grounds on May 20, no pre-ordering necessary.
- Commencement Photographs
Contact Information for Graduates and Families is:
GradImages Photography, 1-800-261-2576
Web site: www.gradimages.com
- Lodging and dining in Saratoga Springs
The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce
Web site: www.saratoga.org
- The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau
Web site: www.discoversaratoga.org
- Saratoga Downtown Business Association
Web site: www.saratogadowntown.com
Please contact the Office of Alumni Relations and College Events with any additional questions at 518-580-5670; email: CollegeEvents@skidmore.edu
Please note that New York State Law prohibits the possession or use of alcohol and narcotics within the state park grounds.