For Immediate Release —December 18, 2008
David Irwin
Media Relations Manager
(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo Announces Changes for Commencement 2009

GENESEO, N.Y. – The State University of New York at Geneseo will conduct two consecutive but identical ceremonies for its 2009 Commencement to help address the worst budget crisis that SUNY has faced in 20 years.  Half of the graduates will attend the first ceremony and half the second.  College offices are working to determine the best way to group the graduates.

“The budget situation has continued to worsen, and consequently, these reductions have led us to reconsider our expenditures in all areas of the college while trying to maintain the integrity of instruction and programs,” SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl wrote in a message to members of the senior class.   

The cost of erecting a temporary outside stadium to accommodate all Geneseo graduates and visitors at a single Commencement is $140,000, and Dahl said the college is unable to support this expense this year.  After consulting the president of the Student Association and senior class officers, Dahl and the College Cabinet decided on the duplicate ceremonies.  “We looked at several alternatives but concluded that holding two identical ceremonies in the Wilson Ice Arena on campus May 16 was the most desirable,” he wrote.

The college considered other alternatives, such as holding the ceremony off campus or conducting a single ceremony in the ice arena. Being off campus presented disadvantages, and the single ceremony in the ice arena would have limited the number of friends and family members who could attend. Two ceremonies will save more than $100,000 and allow each graduating senior to invite five family members or friends. 

Dual commencements are common in the SUNY system.  Oswego, Fredonia, Buffalo State, Binghamton and Stony Brook are among SUNY institutions that conduct at least two spring commencements.

Dahl stressed that several opportunities will be available for the entire class of 2009 to celebrate and socialize together on graduation weekend, and he thanked the students for their flexibility and understanding in the midst of trying economic times.  “Regardless of the venue, Geneseo Commencement is an outstanding celebration of your four years of learning, self-discovery, and building of life-long friendships,” he wrote.