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Commencement Information for Graduates

Salem State graduates take a selfie before the ceremony

Congratulations, Class of 2018!

Your Guide to Graduation

Commencement 2018

2018 Commencement Ceremonies

School(s) Ceremony Date and Time Candidates Arrival Time Arena Opens to Guests
College of Arts and Sciences,
School of Education
Saturday, May 19,
10 am
8:30 am 9 am

College of Health and Human Services,
Bertolon School of Business

Saturday, May 19,
3 pm
1:30 pm 2 pm
School of Graduate Studies

Thursday, May 17,
4 pm

3 pm

3 pm


Students who are pursuing double majors will be asked to designate their primary major when they complete their application for degree and will attend the ceremony for that major.

Who Can Participate? 

Students who have completed all degree requirements during the summer 2017, fall 2017 and those completing their requirements by May 2018 will be eligible to participate in commencement. In addition, students who will complete their requirements during the summer 2018 term may participate if they meet specific guidelines. For complete information, visit the Student Navigation Center's graduation page.

Ticket Information

Class of 2018 ticket information will be posted soon.

Guest Ticket Reminders

  • The unique bar code on each ticket allows only one entry to the event. The first copy of an e-ticket(if there are multiple copies made) to arrive at the event will gain entry after scanning and validation. If additional copies of a ticket are presented, that individual will be denied entry.
  • Tickets are non-replaceable if lost or stolen and should be handled as you would any other valuable or cash. In addition, the sale of commencement tickets is prohibited.
  • Any person entering the arena must present a ticket for admittance, including children and guests with disability seating requests.
  • Tickets need to be printed in actual size and only one ticket on an 8.5” x 11” piece of paper.
  • If you try to shrink/enlarge the ticket size the barcode will not scan at the door and it will delay your entry to the venue.


Questions about commencement? Fill out our contact form or call 978.542.7455.

Additional Commencement Information

  • Student Commencement Speakers and Singers Application

    In celebration of Salem State University’s 208th commencement exercises, a student will be chosen to deliver a speech or sing at the graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies. Completed applications, are due by Friday, March 9. Interested commencement speakers must submit a copy of the proposed speech. 

    Apply now to be the student speaker or singer at Salem State University’s commencement exercises! 


    All student applicants must…

    • Be a member in good academic and disciplinary standing of the graduating class
    • Have completed an intent to graduate form with the registrar’s office, unless you are applying as a commencement singer.
    • Submit this application form, by Friday, March 9.
    • Interested commencement speakers please limit your speech to five minutes in length when delivered
    • Interested commencement speakers will present the proposed speech to a selection panel of students, faculty and administrators
    • Interested commencement singers will audition to a select panel
    • Attend commencement


    • Student finalists will then be contacted to schedule a time to deliver their proposed speech between March 19-23.
    • Student finalists for speaker/singer for each ceremony will be selected by approximately Friday, April 6.
    • Commencement rehearsal for all speakers will be held at 12 pm on Thursday, May 17 and for singers at 1 pm on Thursday, May 17 in the Rockett Arena. 
    • The School of Graduate Studies commencement exercises will be held at 4 pm on Thursday, May 17.
    • The College of Health and Human Services and the Bertolon School of Business commencement exercises will be held at 10 am on Saturday, May 19.
    • The College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education commencement exercises will be held at 3 pm on Saturday, May 19.
  • 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 this spring. Exact dates will be posted soon.

  • Arrival Time and Assembly of Candidates

    Candidates in Saturday's ceremonies should arrive at O'Keefe Sports Complex no later than 90 minutes prior to their ceremony. Candidates in the School of Graduate Studies should arrive at O'Keefe Sports Complex no later than 60 minutes prior to their ceremony. Late arrivals may not be admitted to commencement activities.


    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.

    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.

  • Decorum

    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 at commencement check-in to undergraduate 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. 

  • 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.

  • Parking

    The main parking lot for Salem State's commencement ceremonies is located at the O'Keefe Complex at 225 Canal Street in Salem. 


    However, the university provides satellite lots in case of overflow. These lots are located at our Central and South campuses and are within walking distance to the O’Keefe Complex. Shuttle service will be available during the two undergraduate commencement ceremonies to provide transportation to the O’Keefe Complex from all parking locations. Shuttle buses will run continuously from Central Campus to O'Keefe  and will run intermittently from South Campus to the O'Keefe Complex.


    Please note that satellite viewing for Saturday's ceremonies, which takes place in the Ellison Campus Center, is on North Campus and parking is available there as indicated on the map.

  • Photography

    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.

  • Tobacco

    Please be aware that since September 2011, Salem State University is a tobacco-free campus.

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