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commencement ceremony

Photo from Stony Brook University

A Commencement, double White Coat Ceremony and extended orientation to start the school year on the right foot 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has taken many recognitions and rights of passage away from those who have worked hard to reach their goals. Case in point: Commencement for an entire graduating class was celebrated virtually, if at all. An entire class of first-year students were unable to begin their college experience on campus. And, other professional students were unable to mark their hard-earned accomplishments with the proper pomp and circumstance.

Stony Brook University is now ensuring that all of these students will be able to finally have the opportunity to throw their caps, get to know their campus and ceremoniously put on their white coats, marking a return to some normalcy on campus.

Photo from Stony Brook University

On August 15, The Renaissance School of Medicine At Stony Brook University will host two white coat ceremonies. One of these is for the students in the Class of 2021, who will start their medical school journey this fall. The other is for the students who make up the incoming Class of 2020, who were unable to experience this milestone occasion because of restrictions caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Now these students can proudly participate in this right of passage by donning their white coats in front of friends, family, colleagues, faculty and staff. These ceremonies will take place in the Staller Center.

Stony Brook University will also be celebrating the graduating class of 2020, with an in-person Commencement ceremony. Taking place on Friday, September 10 at 4 p.m., this special commencement event will allow those students who were part of the 2020 graduating class a chance to create special memories with friends and family. Invitations were sent to more than 7,500 graduates and to date, more than 900 have indicated they will attend. More information will continue to be posted here.

As the Fall 2021 class of first-year students makes its way to campus, so will the 2020 class who did not have the opportunity to start their college experience off the way so many have done before them. To ensure everyone feels welcome and gets acclimated to the college campus, Stony Brook is kicking off New Seawolf Welcome Week. The week will kick off with move-in day on Monday, August 16 and the multi-day experience will be filled with workshops, meet-and-greets and more.

For more information on the White Coat Ceremony, or to attend, please contact [email protected]edu.

For more information on the upcoming Commencement or orientation plans, please contact [email protected]

Photos courtesy of Stony Brook University. 

SBU Community Will Look for Alternate Ways to Celebrate

Stony Brook University student toss their caps to celebrate their graduation in 2018. Photo by Greg Catalano

This year, Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University won’t see its usual sea of red caps and gowns.

SBU Interim President Michael Bernstein announced April 2 on SBU’s YouTube page that the university will not be able to hold its spring commencement ceremony in person May 22.

He said the decision was a difficult one that was made “in a deliberate and careful way.” Bernstein added that input from medical experts and the current guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the governor’s office were taken into consideration.

“Our choice ensures the well-being of our community and loved ones,” he said.

Graduates will receive their formal diplomas within two months of their graduation date.

He said countless graduations are being reinvented countrywide.

“These unexpected and disheartening circumstances will not, of course, make these occasions any less significant nor less joyous,” he said. “The accomplishments we will celebrate on your behalf will always be real and vivid.”

Faculty, staff members and students, Bernstein said, are weighing different options as to how to celebrate with alternate ways, and the graduates will be brought together in a virtual way May 22.

“I am very sorry that your final semester at Stony Brook has been derailed by this tragic public health crisis,” he said. “And I want to thank all of you who in so many ways have supported our community as we confront this unprecedented emergency. It’s that very spirit for which your class — the Class of 2020 — will always be uniquely known.”

Muhammad Fithra Yoga started a petition on change.org asking SBU to not cancel but postpone the spring commencement ceremony to the summer after the pandemic has passed.

“For us senior students graduating this spring, we all have been waiting for this special commencement of our class,” Yoga wrote on the petition page. “We understand that conducting commencement in May is not possible, however, we do not want a virtual commencement to be held.”

As of April 3, nearly 600 signed the petition. In 2019, more than 7,500 graduates, ranging between the ages of 18 and 72, joined the nearly 200,000 Seawolves worldwide as Stony Brook University celebrated its 59th commencement.

On April 1, the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University announced it would allow its senior medical students to graduate in early April. The move is to enable them to work at SBU hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic under the supervision of residents, fellows and attending physicians. The graduates will begin their residencies July 1 at the facilities they match with across the state and country.

The school held the medical student’s Match Day via Facebook Live last month. The university and 116 students were complying with social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a press release from Stony Brook Medicine.

Each year medical students around the country look forward to Match Day, a national event where approximately 30,000 fourth-year students find out their residency assignments.

Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president of Health Sciences and dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine, joined in the celebration.

“You are an incredibly bright, energetic and accomplished group who will soon be called ‘doctor,’” he said during the Facebook Live event.


Newfield High School seniors may have had to make one last change in their schedules, but weren’t going to let a little rain dampen their mood when they took to the football field for their graduation day ceremony June 24.

Although postponed a day, parents came out in droves to cheer on the class of 2018, watching the seniors collect flowers and stop to pose for pictures after receiving their diplomas. Valedictorian Logan Ortiz and salutatorian Diogo Martins addressed the crowd for the final time as classmates.

Students also sang and showed off decorated caps before tossing them in the air in celebration of a milestone achievement.