School of Graduate Studies Commencement Information

When and Where

Commencement will take place on Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 4 pm in the Richard B. O’Keefe Complex, 225 Canal Street, Salem. For directions, visit

Who Can Participate?

Students, who have completed all degree requirements during the summer 2014, fall 2014 and those completing their requirements by May 2015, will be eligible to participate in commencement. In addition, students who will complete their requirements during the summer 2015 term may participate if they meet specific guidelines. For complete information, visit the Student Navigation Center's graduation page.

Ticket Information

Each graduating student who indicated their intent to attend a commencement ceremony and who received notification from the registrar’s office that they are eligible to participate in commencement, may reserve commencement tickets to his/her assigned ceremony. Stop by Grad Finale on April 15 to check your commencement eligibility and for information on how to claim your tickets.

Please note tickets are non-replaceable if lost or stolen. Tickets may not be copied, duplicated or altered in any manner. In addition, the sale of commencement tickets is prohibited. 

Caps and Gowns

All candidates participating in commencement exercises must wear proper academic regalia. Caps and gowns are provided to students who are eligible to participate in commencement at no additional cost. Students may pick up their cap and gown at the Grad Finale on April 15, 2015. 
Beginning April 16, caps and gowns will be available at the bookstore. Please contact the bookstore for additional information.


Event Admission Policy

All family members and guests must have a valid bar-coded ticket to be admitted to the O’KeefeComplex, including children and guests with disability seating requests. There will be no exceptions. The arena will open at 3 pm.
Any guest who arrives once the ceremony is in progress will have restricted seating options and may be directed to the upper level of the arena.


To exit the arena, all guests must present their ticket. Guests must show the same ticket for reentry. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE.
Also, please be aware that all bags are subject to inspection prior to admittance.

Graduates or Guests with Disabilities 

Individuals needing accessibility  accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, wheelchair access, ground level seating, will be able to request this service through the ticket reservation process. For more information, contact disability services at 978.542.6217 (TTY: 978.542.7146) (video phone: 978.910.0167) or visit the Berry Library, room G20, no later than Monday, May 4, 2015.


Degree candidate and guest parking will be available at South Campus, Central Campus lots, and the O’Keefe Complex. Please note there is no shuttle service available for this ceremony.

Assembly of Candidates

Graduates should arrive at the O’Keefe Complex promptly at 3 pm. Late arrivals may not be admitted to commencement activities. If candidates need to leave the arena after checking in, they must show the index card (see below for more card information) and a hand stamp for reentry. Check-in will take place at the main entrance to the Harold E. and Marilyn J. Gassett Fitness and Recreation Center. Commencement staff will assist the candidates with lining up in the Twohig Gymnasium and will guide them to the seating area on the rink floor.

There is no secure storage for personal belongings at the O’Keefe Sports Complex, so please plan accordingly.
At check-in candidates will receive a colored 3 x 5” index card with a number. Keep this card with you at all times. The card will be presented on stage just prior to the announcement of your degree. It is also important that once candidates are placed in order in the gym by commencement staff, the candidates remain in that position. Because degrees are arranged in the order of the student lines, and each graduating student will receive an actual diploma, failure to maintain the correct place in line or to present the card on stage will result in the candidate not receiving his or her own diploma.



We ask for your cooperation before, during and after the ceremony in helping us to present a program to your family and friends of which we can all be proud. Please remain in your seats until all graduates have received their diplomas and the ceremony is concluded.


A commercial photographer with a special high speed camera will take a picture of each student at the moment their degree is presented. A few weeks prior to commencement, degree candidates will receive detailed information in the mail from the photographer. For more information, contact Essex Commencement Photographers at 978.388.9832.
No private photographers will be allowed on the floor or near the stage. 


Please be aware that since September 2011, Salem State University is a tobacco free campus.
Share your graduation excitement—join the conversation at #SalemState15.


Your family and friends can watch the commencement ceremonies remotely! To view a webcast of these programs, revisit this page just before each of the commencement ceremonies and click on the provided link.