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    Family & Friends Information

Congratulations on the accomplishments of your graduate!

Whether you are a family member or friend, you have played a special role in your graduate's journey and we are excited to celebrate this important occasion with you. We look forward to sharing our Great Dane pride with you and invite you to take a few moments to review the information below as you plan your visit to UAlbany.

Driving Directions

From the north: Take the Northway (I-87) south to Exit 1E and veer left onto I-90 east (Albany/Boston). Take Exit 2 (Washington Ave/UAlbany) which leads right into the University at Albany.

From the south: Take the Thruway north to Exit 24. After the tollbooths, go onto I-90 east towards Boston to Exit 2 (Washington Ave/UAlbany) which leads right into the University at Albany.

From the east: Take I-90 west (towards Buffalo) to Exit 2 (Fuller Rd/UAlbany). At the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto Fuller Road. At the next traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto the Washington Avenue ramp, then merge onto Washington Avenue at the traffic light. The University at Albany will be on your right.

From the west: Take the Thruway east to Exit 24. After the tollbooths, go onto I-90 east towards Boston to Exit 2 (Washington Ave/UAlbany) which leads right into the University at Albany.

Once on campus, follow the Commencement event signage to the designated parking areas.

Parking & Shuttles

All Commencement ceremonies will be held on UAlbany's Uptown Campus in either the SEFCU Arena, the Campus Center Ballroom, or the outdoor Entry Plaza adjacent to Collins Circle. Simply follow event signage to these venue's designated parking areas. 

We strongly recommend wearing comfortable shoes due to the walking distance from the parking lots and/or shuttle stops to the ceremony venues. 

Parking
During Commencement Weekend, guests are welcome to park in any campus parking lot without a UAlbany parking decal. However, please follow any special event signage and/or directions from University Police Officers and park in a valid parking spot. Vehicles parked illegally pose a health and safety concern and such cars could be ticketed and/or towed.

A limited number of handicapped parking spaces for vehicles with a valid state-issued tag will be available in the following parking lots:

  • SEFCU Arena: West Arena Lot. Additional parking is available in the Dutch Quad lot with wheelchair-accessible shuttle service.

  • Campus Center Ballroom: along Center Drive East (via Indian Quad) or Center Drive West (via Dutch Quad).

  • Entry Plaza: State Quad Faculty Lot. University Police Officers will be present to assist with directions.

Shuttles
Wheelchair-accessible shuttle buses will be available throughout the weekend before and after ceremonies. Please factor 20 minutes into your travel time to secure parking and arrive at the ceremony site.

Visit UAlbany's maps & directions website for more information.

Guest Tickets

Guest tickets are NOT required for the University-Wide outdoor Undergraduate ceremony, though graduates are advised to invite up to ten guests maximum for this event. 

Guest tickets ARE required for the following ceremonies:

  •  TBD (further details will be posted in January 2020)

Guest tickets must be secured ahead of time by each graduate; they will do this while registering to attend their ceremony/ies online via our Marching Order software program. Please check with your graduate to receive your ticket as no guests will be admitted without one. Electronic tickets have a unique scan-code that can only be used once; tickets may be displayed on your mobile device or can be printed on paper.

Please note that children two years and older require their own guest ticket, as do current students who are attending as a guest of a graduate. 

Should any unclaimed guest tickets become available, an email notification with instructions will be sent to registered students in late April.  The Commencement Office is not able to accommodate any extra requests outside of this process.

Special Accommodations

Accessible seating and other reasonable accommodations are available for individuals with disabilities and/or injuries. Should you require special arrangements beyond what is listed below, please contact the Disability Resource Center.

    Pets or Service Animals
    Pets and other animals, with the exception of service animals, are not permitted on university property or at any commencement ceremony. The Americans with Disabilities Act stipulates that "service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities." Guests with a pet will be asked to leave the ceremony.

    Elevators
    Both the SEFCU Arena and Campus Center Ballroom have elevators to assist you with getting from one floor to another. The outdoor Entry Plaza is on level ground.

    Wheelchairs
    A limited number of wheelchairs will be available to assist only with guest transportation to/from cars and seating areas (not for use through the duration of the ceremony) for the University-wide degree conferral ceremonies only. However, guests requiring wheelchair transport are strongly encouraged to bring their own.

    Seating
    Accessible seating areas will be available for guests in each venue as follows:

    • SEFCU Arena: reserved area at arena level where two guests are allowed to accompany the guest; lobby level where one guest is allowed

    • Campus Center Ballroom: a limited number of accessible seats will be available

    • Entry Plaza: reserved seating area is adjacent to the Fine Arts building and one accompanying guest is allowed. Volunteers will also provide golf cart service to/from the handicapped parking lot (State Faculty Lot) and the seating area before and after the ceremony.

    Hearing and Visual Aids
    American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be present at the University-wide degree conferral ceremonies. For the Doctoral and Master's/Graduate Certificate ceremonies, they will be positioned to your right as you face the stage. For the outdoor Undergraduate ceremony, they will be positioned to your left as you face the stage. Live captioning will also be available at these university-wide ceremonies. 

    If any student or guest requires an ASL interpreter at an undergraduate recognition ceremony, you must contact commencement@albany.edu no less than 30 days before the ceremony so that arrangements can be made. 

     

    Keepsakes, Gifts, Refreshments

    Programs
    Official Commencement Programs will be placed on graduates’ chairs and distributed to guests (one per family, please) upon entry to the University-Wide degree conferral ceremonies. These programs will include the ceremony run of show, speaker bios as appropriate, a message from the Alumni Association, the words to the alma mater, and more. They will also include a listing of graduates and degree candidates who have met the degree application deadline, noting honors where appropriate, but will not include names of those students who are simply participating or walking early.

    If you are unable to attend the ceremony but wish to procure an official program, email commencement@albany.edu with your request, and one will be mailed to you while supplies last.

    Flowers
    Flowers will be available for purchase (cash or credit card) at the University-Wide degree conferral ceremonies until supplies run out as follows:

    • Graduate Ceremonies –  in the lobby of the SEFCU Arena

    • outdoor Undergraduate Ceremony – at the back of the Entry Plaza along Collins Circle

    UAlbany Souvenirs
    A souvenir area, offering an opportunity to purchase UAlbany gear and memorabilia (cash or credit card), will be available from the University Bookstore at the University-Wide degree conferral ceremonies. The Bookstore itself, located inside the Campus Center, will be open for limited hours on Commencement Weekend. Check the University Bookstore website for details.

    Refreshments
    Complimentary water will be available at every ceremony held throughout the weekend; look for the large water containers throughout the entry and/or seating areas.

    Concession areas will feature basic food and beverages available for purchase (cash or credit card) at the University-Wide degree conferral ceremonies. Additionally, the Campus Center will have limited establishments open with food and beverages for purchase, and we invite you to enjoy the amenities that our state-of-the-art Campus Center offers. 

    Balloons and Noisemakers
    Balloons are not permitted inside any of the indoor venues due to their fire systems, and noisemakers are not permitted at any ceremony. Should any of these be seen or heard, they must be removed at the request of event staff and/or University officials.

    Alcohol Policy
    The University at Albany requests the cooperation of all participants and visitors in complying with the University’s policy prohibiting alcoholic beverages at Commencement events. Possession, consumption, and storage of alcohol are prohibited in all public areas. No one with alcoholic beverages will be allowed to enter or participate in a commencement ceremony.

    International Guests

    UAlbany is proud of the diversity of our student body and welcomes the internationally diverse guests who attend Commencement.  Below is some information to assist our international guests. 

    Visa Documentation for International Travel
    Visit the U.S. Department of State's website for an overview on Visitor Visas, the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). 

    For travel with a Vistor Visa, the “Additional Documentation May Be Required" section outlines that parents/guests must prove the purpose of their trip, their intent to depart the U.S. at the end of their trip, and their ability to pay for the trip. That section also includes an important note stating that letters of invitation or Affidavits of Support are not used as part of the visa interview process. Therefore, the University at Albany does not issue ‘letters of invitation’ as these letters are not usable as evidence at the visa interview.  

    The Office of International Student Scholar Services has helpful information on what students can provide to their parents/guests to help establish the purpose of their visit.