Commencement 2017

When and Where

Commencement will take place on Thursday, May 18, 2017, 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 2016, fall 2016 and those completing their requirements by May 2017, will be eligible to participate in commencement. In addition, students who will complete their requirements during the summer 2017 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 up to six (6) commencement tickets to his/her assigned ceremony. Tickets will be made available beginning on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Tickets not reserved by Monday, May 1, 2017, will be forfeited.
  1. Visit between April 12 and May 1, 2017
  2. Enter your Navigator username and password
  3. Select your ceremony
  4. Select the number of tickets (up to six for your ceremony)
  5. Indicate if any of your guests need accessible seating accommodations. For more information, contact disability services at or 978.542.6217 (TTY: 978.542.7146), video phone: 978.910.0167, or visit the Berry Library, room G20, no later than Monday, May 1, 2017
  6. Print or email your tickets to your guest(s) 

If extra tickets become available, students will receive notification to their Salem State email account and information will be posted on the commencement website approximately one week prior to the ceremony.

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 bookstore starting April 12, 2017, through May 15, 2017. 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’Keefe Complex, 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 or 978.542.6217 (TTY: 978.542.7146) (video phone: 978.910.0167) or visit the Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons, room G20, no later than Monday, May 1, 2017.


Degree candidates and guests with commencement tickets will be able to park in all available University Parking Lots. 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 re-entry. 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.

Social Media 

Share your graduation excitement—join the conversation at #SalemState17.


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.
Watch commencement live. 

Senior Award Application

The Senior Awards are presented to a select group of graduating seniors who are members of the Class of 2017 and who meet the following criteria for each award:

Silver Key

Applicant has a cumulative grade point average between 3.00 and 4.00, significant involvement within the major area of academic concentration, and participation in co-curricular activities within the university community. 

Special Recognition

Applicants have demonstrated involvement within the major area of academic concentration and demonstration of significant involvement in co-curricular activities within the college community. 

Student Commencement Speakers and Singers Application Information

Student commencement speakers and singers are selected through an application and interview process. Completed applications are due by March 10, 2017.

Questions may be directed to Kathleen Neville, School of Graduate Studies for graduate students, and to Rebecca Jimenez, director, student activities and involvement for undergraduate students.