Frequently Asked Questions about Commencement
Q. When will I receive my cap and gown?
A. Commencement regalia--caps, gowns, and hoods--are being distributed on April 5-7, in the Student Center on the 5th Floor of 185 West Broadway.
Q: Do I have to pay for my cap, gown, and hood?
A: There is no special fee for your regalia. Your tuition includes the cost of Commencement regalia.
Q. What is the significance of the academic
A. New York Law School regalia consists of a standard, black doctoral gown, a doctoral hood in the school colors, a tam, and a tassel. The velvet border of the hood is of a prescribed width, according to academic protocols, and its color--purple--indicates completion of study in the field of law. Beginning in 2010, graduating students are able to keep all of their academic regalia after Commencement, so there is no need to return anything after the ceremony.
Q: Can I keep my cap, gown and
hood after Commencement?
A: YES--your cap, gown, hood, and tassel are yours to keep.
Q: How many tickets can I
get for Commencement?
A: Students who completed the Commencement questionnaire (posted on the My Info tab in the portal) by the February 1 deadline were allotted up to 4 tickets. Tickets cannot be guaranteed for students who miss the February 1 deadline.
When will I receive my tickets?
A: You will receive your tickets at cap and gown distribution, assuming you have completed the Commencement questionnaire on the portal.
Q: Can I get more than the allotted
number of tickets?
A: We are only able to guarantee 4 tickets to each student who completes the Commencement questionnaire in the portal by the February 1 deadline. Beginning later in the spring semester, we should have a better idea of the precise number of graduates who will be attending the ceremony, and that may free up additional tickets to be distributed to students who requested extras. In that case, graduates who have requested extras will be given ONE additional ticket, pending availability, and selected by lottery. If all graduates requesting extras have been given one additional ticket, and there are still tickets available, we will distribute a second ticket, where possible, by lottery. Please note, however, that there is NO guarantee that requests for additional tickets can be fulfilled, due to the finite number of seats at Avery Fisher Hall. We will do our level best to fulfill as many requests as possible, of course!
Q: What should I do if I do not need all of
my allotted tickets?
A: If you realize that you will need fewer tickets at any time before Commencement, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (212) 431-2800, or via email to Commencement@nyls.edu, and we will redistribute your extra ticket(s) to other graduates.
Q: Can I sell
my Commencement tickets?
A: No. Since these tickets are distributed without a fee, the practice of selling them would be unethical and unfair to your classmates. Any student who attempts to buy or sell tickets will be reported to the Academic Responsibility Committee.
Q. Why can't
we just have Commencement at a larger venue, with more seats?
A. Avery Fisher Hall seats roughly 2,800 people. There are three other venues in New York City which have greater seating capacity--Radio City Music Hall, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, and the Jacob Javits Center. All of these venues have serious disadvantages, despite greater seating capacity. The Law School has hosted Commencement at other venues in past years, but students and faculty were unhappy with alternative sites for a host of reasons. We also have investigated alternative sites by consulting colleagues at other area law schools; in most cases, schools that have experimented with various locations have now established a preference for Avery Fisher Hall. While we would much prefer to have greater seating capacity--and thereby have the ability to offer more tickets to graduating students--prior graduates and faculty have determined that, among currently available venues, Avery Fisher Hall is the preferred location, despite its disadvantages.
Graduating students will each receive 10 Commencement announcements and envelopes, bearing the names of all members of the 2011 graduating class, compliments of Dean Matasar and the Law School faculty and staff. These will be mailed directly to graduates' homes, at the addresses that graduates approve in the Commencement questionnaire in the My Info tab in the portal. Announcements are expected to be mailed from the printer in late-April, 2011.
For graduates wishing to send individually personalized announcements, you may purchase them from Signature Announcements, available online at https://college-graduation-announcements.signaturea.com/sa/orderprocess.php. Alternatively, we suggest consulting a printer of your choice to have personalized announcements printed, or printing personalized inserts or announcements on your home printer.
Requests for a packet of 10 additional announcements may be sent to email@example.com, and will be filled on a first-come first-served basis, until the supply is depleted.
Q: Are there assigned seats at
A: Only graduates are assigned specific seats in the auditorium. All other tickets are for general admission.
time are family/guests allowed into the auditorium?
A: Avery Fisher Hall allows family/guests into the auditorium 30 minutes prior to the start of Commencement. Doors open at 9:30 am.
Q: What if
family/guests arrive without a ticket?
A: YOUR TICKETS CANNOT BE REPLACED, SO PLEASE DO NOT MISPLACE THEM. Avery Fisher Hall does not permit admission of anyone without a ticket into the auditorium, under any circumstances. Please remember to bring your tickets!
Q: Is the Hall
A: Yes; contact Jimena Buitrago at (212) 431-2189 or via email to Commencement@nyls.edu for additional information on special seating arrangements.
NOTE: Avery Fisher Hall prohibits baby strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, and/or crutches in the seating area. These will need to be stored at the entrance to the auditorium, on the Orchestra Level. Law School staff will be available to assist with seating for disabled guests before the ceremony.
Q: What does “special
A: Special seating is ONLY for those people who require access by use of a wheelchair, crutches, or walker. Guests using a cane, including senior citizens, must follow the normal entrance procedure.
Q: Can children attend Commencement?
A: Yes; however, tickets are required for children over the age of two. Children under the age of two may sit on a lap, and are not required to have a ticket. (Children who are restless and/or noisy may be requested to leave the auditorium with a parent or guardian, to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of the ceremony by other guests.) NOTE: Avery Fisher Hall does not permit baby strollers in the seating area; these will need to be stored at the entrance to the auditorium, on the Orchestra Level.
Q: Is there parking at Avery Fisher Hall?
A: Yes. Avery Fisher Hall has a parking lot on West 62nd Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. For additional information about parking (including cost), please contact the parking lot directly at 212.874.9021. For additional parking information, see new.lincolncenter.org/live/index.php/visitorinfo-parking-information
The Commencement Ceremony
Q: How long is the Commencement ceremony?
A: Commencement will be approximately two and one-half hours long.
Q. Why is Commencement scheduled on this particular date, at
A. There are many factors that enter into the selection of date and time for the Law School's Commencement ceremony. First and foremost, we are limited to dates and times that are available at the venue where the ceremony takes place. Commencement is scheduled roughly 18 months in advance, and we must negotiate a date that does not conflict with our final exam schedule, holidays (typically, Memorial Day weekend), optimum travel and work schedules for family and friends, and the schedule of bar review courses, among other considerations. In addition, the Commencement venue typically is hosting ceremonies for several other schools around the same time, as well as arts events and commercial clients. Our aim is to select a date and time that best meets as many requirements as possible, but, regrettably, it is virtually impossible to meet every individual's preferences.
Q: Can my best friend give me
my scroll during the ceremony?
A: No, only an immediate family member (parent or sibling) who is a graduate of New York Law School can present your Commencement scroll. (Information about designating a family member for your presentation is collected in the Commencement questionnaire on the portal.)
Q: Can my family videotape the ceremony?
A: Yes. However, please ask family and friends to be courteous when videotaping or taking photographs by not blocking the view of other guests. A professional videotape of the ceremony also will be made available after Commencement. Information about purchasing a DVD of the ceremony will be posted on the web site when it is available.
Q. What's the
purpose of the Post Graduate Questionnaire?
A. For the post-Bar exam job search: your responses will tell us important information about your job search goals, so we can keep in contact and offer relevant assistance. For ABA reporting: ABA mandates employment stats reporting for every grad—whether they got their jobs on their own, through job sites, or by other means. All data, including salary, is completely confidential.