Commencement 2017

When and Where?

Commencement will take place on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at 3 pm at the O’Keefe Sports Complex, 225 Canal Street, Salem. For directions, visit

For information on designated parking for this event, visit our campus map.

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 four (4) 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.
How to Reserve Commencement Tickets
  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 four 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.

Satellite Viewing 

On commencement day, a non-ticketed, family friendly satellite viewing location will be available in Veterans Hall, Ellison Campus Center, North Campus. The ceremony will also be available via webcast.

Event Admission Policy

All family members and guests must have a valid bar-coded ticket to be admitted to the O’Keefe Sports Complex, including children and guests with disability seating requests. There will be no exceptions. The arena will open at 2 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.
  • 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.
  • Also, please be aware that all bags are subject to inspection prior to admittance.

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.

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. Shuttle service will be available to provide transportation to the O’Keefe Complex from all parking locations.

Assembly of Candidates

Candidates should arrive at the O’Keefe Sports Complex promptly at 1:30 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 of 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.

Honors Designation

Honors cords will be distributed to seniors graduating with a cumulative grade point average of 3.300 or higher as of the end of the fall 2016 semester and who will have earned at least 60 credits in residence at Salem State University by the end of the spring 2017 term. For a complete description of the honors categories, please visit our academic catalog and review the academic policies section of the catalog.  


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.