UAlbany Celebrates Commencement 2022

New UAlbany graduates celebrate amidst a sea of purple and gold confetti.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 10, 2022) – The University at Albany is gearing up to host a series of in-person commencement events this week that will celebrate the Class of 2022 – including the return of the University-wide outdoor undergraduate ceremony for the first time since 2019.   

More than 4,200 students are set to receive their degrees during Commencement 2022 festivities. All ceremonies will be live-streamed and recorded. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #UAlbanyGrad

“After more than two years of unprecedented challenges, we are excited to be able to bring our UAlbany community together in-person to celebrate the Class of 2022,” said President Havidán Rodríguez. “Our new graduates have shown incredible resiliency throughout their academic journeys and have earned this moment to honor their perseverance and success.” 

Rows of folding chairs lined on the Entry Plaza lawn of the Uptown Campus for Commencement 2022.
The stage is set for the return of the University-wide outdoor undergraduate ceremony. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

Honoring New Graduates 

The festivities begin with a doctoral hooding and stage crossing at 5 p.m. Thursday inside the new $180 million ETEC research and development complex. Ph.D. recipients will be individually recognized in front of family, friends and faculty to honor this significant accomplishment. 

On Saturday, the University-wide undergraduate ceremony will be held, rain or shine, at the Entry Plaza lawn on the Uptown Campus. Graduates will be recognized together with peers by school and college. This year’s alumni commencement speaker is Tom Junod ’80, an award-winning journalist and graduate of UAlbany’s English program whose work in Esquire has included the haunting 9/11 story “The Falling Man” and a profile of Fred Rogers that inspired the 2019 Tom Hanks movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The Class of 2022 student speaker is Ché-Doni Platt, a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major and President’s Award for Leadership recipient from Kingston, Jamaica.

Tom Junod speaks at a New York State Writers Institute event.
This year's alumni commencement speaker is award-winning journalist Tom Junod ’80 (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

Janell Hobson, professor in the Department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, will be recognized on Saturday as a Collins Fellow, honoring her extraordinary devotion to the University and its people. Richard Fogarty, associate professor of History, has also been named a Collins Fellow this year. Degrees will officially be conferred by President Rodríguez. 

Additionally, undergraduate and graduate students will be individually recognized in small groups with their guests at school/college-based stage crossings from Thursday to Sunday. Graduates will cross one of three indoor stages in regalia in front of family, friends and faculty. This concept was brought back by popular demand after last year’s Great Dane Graduation Experience, which offered a similar experience for the classes of 2020 and 2021 over seven days at Casey Stadium. 

“Graduates and their families expressed overwhelming gratitude to UAlbany for providing a meaningful in-person experience in Spring 2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christy Doyle, director of UAlbany’s Office of University Events. “Their feedback, along with other trends we were seeing even prior to the pandemic, inspired us to reimagine commencement. We are thrilled to debut this new and innovative approach in 2022 and excited for the return of our beloved outdoor undergraduate ceremony. We truly believe this commencement concept can be a model for the future.” 

UAlbany also is hosting a number of special recognition ceremonies this week, including the Lavender Celebration honoring the achievements of graduating LGBTQ+ students and their supporters at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Campus Center Ballroom and an international celebration, hosted by International Student and Scholar Services, at 5 p.m. Friday in the Science Library atrium and Parent Fountain courtyard. 

Consistent with current CDC and Albany County guidance, UAlbany is strongly recommending that graduates and guests wear a mask to any indoor event and welcome and encourage masks at outdoor events as well. 

By the Numbers  

An estimated 2,825 undergraduates from the Class of 2022 are set to receive degrees, including summer, fall and winter semester recipients. Among the 2,147 students completing their degrees in May, some 31 percent are first-generation college graduates and 22 are veterans. The undergraduates range in age from 19 to 60, with an average age of 23. Women make up 55 percent of the class. Students hail from 24 states and 20 countries. The undergraduates will receive degrees in 55 different majors. 

 Another 1,395 graduate students from the Class of 2022 are expected to receive master’s degrees, doctoral degrees and graduate certificates, including summer, fall and winter semester recipients. Among the 987 students finishing graduate degree programs in May, women make up 67 percent of the class. These graduate students come from 17 states and 22 nations. The average age of the graduates is 29, with the oldest student set to receive a doctorate degree at age 79, and the youngest student receiving a master’s degree at age 20. There are 13 veterans.