Female student walking away in cap and gown

Frequently Asked Questions

St. John's University hosts individual Commencement Exercises on various days during the spring, which include a ceremony for our Staten Island campus undergraduate and graduate level degree students, from our Queens, Manhattan and Hauppauge campuses, a ceremony for our associates and undergraduate level degree students, and several ceremonies for our graduate level degree students separated by school/college. 

Our Commencement Exercises include the conferral of degrees and certificates of all our graduates, and the recognition of each graduate by name. A Commencement address and the awarding of honorary degrees to distinguished individuals is also included at several of these ceremonies.

Will graduate names be called?

  • As an institution we understand the importance of calling the names of each of our graduates and inviting each of the graduates to greet their dean on stage to offer congratulations on behalf of the University. The name of our graduates will be read and graduates will be invited to greet their dean on stage.

Are there special arrangements for wheelchair-bound and/or hearing-impaired family and guests?

  • Due to limited space, we are only able to offer seating to the person with special needs and one companion.
  • For assistance, you are asked to enter through Gate 4 on Union Turnpike. Please see a Public Safety Officer for assistance.
  • Sign language interpreters will be present for the duration of the ceremony. If you require these services, please have the graduating student inform their dean's office.

When do graduates receive their diplomas?

  • Diplomas will be available for pick-up at each school/colleges dean's office starting on Monday, July 20, 2020  (dependent upon the date the diploma was ordered).

  • Diplomas are ordered throughout the spring term, if a student applied late for their diploma it will not be available to pick-up at the beginning of diploma distribution in the dean’s office. Be sure to call your dean’s office beforehand to confirm your diploma is available. 

What time should guests arrive for seating?

  • Doors open at 8 a.m.
  • All guests should arrive to their seats by 9:15 a.m. prior to the start of the student procession.

What are the requirements for an undergraduate level student to receive honors at graduation?

  • For graduation with honors, an undergraduate level student must fulfill the obligation of conducting themselves in a manner compatible with the University's function as a Catholic institution of higher education and must have obtained the following GPA for all courses:

                  Summa Cum Laude: 3.85

                  Magna Cum Laude: 3.70

                  Cum Laude: 3.50

Is transportation available for graduates and guests?

  • Bus transportation will be offered to those graduates and guests who are unable to travel to and from the Queens campus for the Staten Island Commencement Exercises. If you are interested in taking transportation, please complete this registration form. Space is limited, be sure to sign up by Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

How long is the Staten Island Commencement Exercises?

  • Great care has been taken to ensure the ceremony is completed as quickly and smoothly as possible. The ceremony is expected to last approximately 1 1/2 hours. 

What do graduates do when they arrive on campus?

  • Graduating students should go directly to their assembly and line-up location in Taffner Field House no later than 8:30 a.m.  

What should graduates wear?

  • All graduating students need to purchase and wear academic attire (cap, gown, and hood) to the Commencement Exercises. Under the academic attire, it is suggested that graduates wear comfortable clothing and footwear.

Will parking be available?

    What if a graduate is NOT attending the Staten Island Commencement Exercises?

    • Students who are not attending the Commencement Exercises should contact their school or college dean's office. Please note that you must still order your diploma online.

    How do graduates and family members order keepsake items?

    • Full details on Commencement keepsake items are available here.

    *The above information only pertains to the Staten Island Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

    Will graduate names be called?

    • As an institution we understand the importance of calling the names of each of our graduates and inviting each of the graduates to greet their dean on stage to offer congratulations on behalf of the University. The names of our graduates will be read and graduates will be invited to greet their dean on stage unless severe weather necessitates we amend the ceremony.

    What happens in the event of inclement weather?

    • The Commencement Exercises will be held on the Great Lawn, rain or shine.

      If it is raining or rain is in the forecast for Commencement day, graduates and guests should come prepared with the appropriate rain gear. Graduates and guests will receive a poncho if it is raining; guests are advised to also bring raincoats and something to cover the seat of the lawn chair. Graduates should note that umbrellas will not be permitted on stage.

      If the ceremony is underway and severe weather conditions exist, the ceremony may be abbreviated and the calling of student names and the greeting of deans on stage may be omitted from the program. If the ceremony is abbreviated, graduates and guests should follow instructions as announced. It is advised that graduates prearrange a meeting place with family and guests in case the ceremony is abbreviated.

      If the ceremony cannot be held on the Great Lawn due to extreme or dangerous weather, the ceremony may be cancelled or postponed. No indoor facility on campus can accommodate the graduating class and thousands of guests. Every reasonable effort will be made to hold the ceremony as planned.

      For the most up to date information regarding changes to the Commencement Exercises, please visit www.stjohns.edu. Graduates will receive a text message on the University’s text messaging system if there is a change in the ceremony. 

    Are there special arrangements for wheelchair-bound and/or hearing-impaired family and guests?

    • Due to the large number of guests in attendance, we are only able to offer seating to the person with special needs and one companion
    • Reserved parking will be located near St. Thomas More Church, and you are asked to enter through Gate 1 on Utopia Parkway. The seating section for guests with special needs is located at the front of the lawn on the left side, facing the stage. Please see a Public Safety Officer or a University Host in a red St. John's shirt for assistance.
    • Sign language interpreters will be present for the duration of the ceremony. If you require these services, please have the graduating student inform their dean's office.
    • Restrooms for guests seated in this area are located in St. Thomas More Church

    Will the Queens Undergraduate Commencement Exercises be simulcast if guests are unable to sit outside?

    • Yes, please ask any Public Safety officer or University Host in a red St. John's shirt to direct you to the simulcast location. 
    • Seating is limited and requires a ticket to enter; plan accordingly.  

    When do graduates receive their diplomas?

    • Diplomas will be available for pick-up at each school/colleges dean's office starting on the following dates (dependent upon the date the diploma was ordered):

                       Monday, July 20, 2020 (All EXCEPT physician assistant)

                       Monday, August 10, 2020 (physician assistant)

    • Diplomas are ordered throughout the spring term, if a student applied late for their diploma it will not be available to pick-up at the beginning of diploma distribution in the dean’s office. Be sure to call your dean’s office beforehand to confirm your diploma is available. 

    What are the requirements for an undergraduate level student to receive honors at graduation?

    • For graduation with honors, an undergraduate level student must fulfill the obligation of conducting themselves in a manner compatible with the University's function as a Catholic institution of higher education and must have obtained the following GPA for all courses:

                      Summa Cum Laude: 3.85

                      Magna Cum Laude: 3.70

                      Cum Laude: 3.50

    What time should guests arrive for seating?

    • All guests should arrive at least 1 hour before the procession starts and no later than 8:45 a.m.

    Where will graduates be seated?

    • Download the seating plan. Students will be seated according to their school/college.

    How long is the Queens Undergraduate Commencement Exercises?

    • Great care has been taken to ensure the ceremony is completed as quickly and smoothly as possible. The ceremony is expected to last approximately 2 1/2 hours. Graduates and guests are asked to please show respect for all of their fellow classmates and remain until the end of the ceremony and until the student recession has ended.

    Are restrooms readily available at the ceremony?

    • Restroom trailers will be available on the Great Lawn.
    • All University buildings are equipped with public restrooms, which will be available throughout the weekend.
    • Please locate a Public Safety Officer or University Host for assistance.

    What do graduates do when they arrive on campus?

    • Graduating students should go directly to their assigned assembly and line-up locations no later than 8 a.m.  

              St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ~ Marillac Hall, 2nd Floor

              The School of Education ~ St. Albert Hall, 1st Floor

              The Peter J. Tobin College of Business ~ D'Angelo Center, 2nd Floor

              College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences ~ D'Angelo Center, 1st Floor

              The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies ~ Marillac Hall, 3rd Floor

    What should graduates wear?

    • All graduating students need to purchase and wear academic attire (cap, gown, and hood) to the Commencement Exercises. Under the academic attire, it is suggested that graduates wear comfortable clothing and footwear.

    Do guests need tickets for the ceremony?

    • Yes, all guests will require a ticket to enter the ceremony and simulcast location.

    Will parking be available?

    What if a graduate is NOT attending the Queens Undergraduate Commencement Exercises?

    • Students who are not attending the Commencement Exercises should contact their school or college dean's office. Please note that you must still order your diploma online.

    How can graduates arrange for senior portraits and yearbook photos to be taken?

    • Schedule your appointment at www.ouryear.com, entering school code 87128 or by calling 1-800-OUR-YEAR during normal business hours.
    • Graduates can order their yearbook from Jostens, please click here.

      Parents and friends who wish to build an ad to celebrate your graduate's achievements, please click here.

    How do graduates and family members order keepsake items?

    • Full details on Commencement keepsake items are available here.

    *The above information only pertains to the Queens Undergraduate Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 17, 2020.

    Will graduate names be called?

    • As an institution we understand the importance of calling the names of each of our graduates and inviting each of the graduates to greet their dean on stage to offer congratulations on behalf of the University. The names of our graduates will be read and graduates will be invited to greet their dean on stage.

    Are there special arrangements for wheelchair-bound and/or hearing-impaired family and guests?

    • Due to limited space, we are only able to offer seating to the person with special needs and one companion.
    • For assistance, you are asked to enter through Gate 4 on Union Turnpike. Please see a Public Safety Officer for assistance.
    • Sign language interpreters will be present for the duration of the ceremony. If you require these services, please have the graduating student inform their dean's office.

    When do graduates receive their diplomas?

    • Diplomas will be available for pick-up at each school/colleges dean's office starting on Monday, July 20, 2020  (dependent upon the date the diploma was ordered).

    • Diplomas are ordered throughout the spring term, if a student applied late for their diploma it will not be available to pick-up at the beginning of diploma distribution in the dean’s office. Be sure to call your dean’s office beforehand to confirm your diploma is available. 

    What time should guests arrive for seating?

    • All guests should arrive to their seats at least one hour prior to the start of the ceremony.

    How long are the Graduate Level Commencement Exercises?

    • Great care has been taken to ensure the ceremonies are completed as quickly and smoothly as possible. The ceremonies are expected to last between 1 and 2 hours, depending upon the school or college. 

    What do graduates do when they arrive on campus?

    Graduating students should go directly to their assembly and line-up location as follows:

    The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies 
    4 p.m. in the Auxiliary Gym, Carnesecca Arena

    College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 
    4:30 p.m. in Taffner Field House

    St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 
    9:30 a.m. in Taffner Field House

    The School of Education 
    4:30 p.m. in Taffner Field House

    The Peter J. Tobin College of Business 
    4:30 p.m. in Taffer Field House

    What should graduates wear?

    • All graduating students need to purchase and wear academic attire (cap, gown and hood) to the Commencement Exercises.
    • All Master degree candidates as well as Doctoral degree candidates from The School of Education should wear their academic attire (gown, hood, and cap) to the Commencement Exercises. The tassel should be on the right side.
    • All other doctoral degree candidates should wear their academic attire (gown and cap) to the ceremony and carry the hood over their right arm. Graduates will be hooded during the ceremony.
    • Under the academic attire, it is suggested that graduates wear comfortable clothing and footwear.

    Will parking be available?

      What if a graduate is NOT attending the Graduate Level Commencement Exercises?

      • Students who are not attending the Commencement Exercises should contact their school or college dean's office. Please note that you must still order your diploma online.

      How do graduates and family members order keepsake items?

      • Full details on Commencement keepsake items are available here.

      *The above information only pertains to the Queens Graduate Level Commencement Exercises.