ITHACA, NY – As the spring semester comes to a close, all three of the local higher education institutions in Ithaca are planning their commencement ceremonies.

Whether you’re interested in attending the events and celebrating roughly 7,500 bright young people entering the “real world,” or you just want to prepare for all the traffic, here’s the key information for all three schools.

Cornell University

Convocation Date: Saturday, May 28. Various events throughout the day from from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Convocation Speakers: Actor-Director James Franco, Senior Class President Jonathan Lowry, noon at Schoellkopf Stadium

Commencement Date: Sunday, May 29. Guests arrive at 8 a.m., events ongoing from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 pm.

Commencement Speaker: Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff at 11 a.m. at Schoellkopf Stadium

Other events: Assorted ceremonies, ice cream social, Wind Ensemble Concert, Senior Days Concernts with the Cornell University Chorus and Cornell University Glee Club

Here’s the full news release:

[su_spoiler title=”Cornell University Convocation and Commencement Press Release” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron-circle”]Cornell’s 148th Commencement Weekend highlights include the Senior Convocation address by actor-director James Franco, Saturday, May 28 at noon.

Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff will provide the Commencement address on Sunday, May 29 at 11 a.m. About 6,000 graduates will receive their degrees. Both events will be at Schoellkopf Stadium.

The Senior Convocation ceremony also will feature an address by Cornell Senior Class President Jonathan Lowry.

Graduation Weekend events include:

Saturday, May 28:

  • Commissioning ceremonies for the Air Force, Army, Navy/Marine Corps, 8 to 9 a.m., Alice Statler Auditorium, Statler Hall. Reception will be 9 to 11 a.m. at Beck Center, Statler Hall.
  • Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management Executive MBA Recognition Ceremony, 9:30 a.m. at Bailey Hall. Reception 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at South Appel Fields, North Campus.
  • Senior Convocation: noon at Schoellkopf Stadium with James Franco.
  • University Reception: The university will host an ice cream social for students, their families and guests, under a tent, 2 to 3:30 p.m. on the Arts Quad.
  • DVM Hooding Ceremony: The new doctors of veterinary medicine will take the Veterinarian’s Oath and receive their hoods at a 2 p.m. ceremony in Bailey Hall. Reception at 4:30 p.m., Bailey Plaza.
  • Johnson Residential MBA Ceremony: New Residential MBA and Cornell Tech MBA graduates will be honored at Newman Arena in Bartels Hall, 2:30 to 4 p.m. Reception at Sage Hall, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Cornell University Wind Ensemble Concert: The ensemble performs international and American music, as well as Cornell songs, during a concert on the Arts Quad, 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.
  • Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony: Families, friends and faculty members are invited to attend the ceremony at 5 p.m. in Barton Hall. A reception will follow.
  • Senior Week Concert: The Cornell University Chorus and the Cornell University Glee Club will present their annual Senior Days concert at 8 p.m. in Bailey Hall. Admission $12 adult; $5 students, with tickets available at or at the door.

Sunday, May 29:

  • Guests arrive starting at 8 a.m. at Schoellkopf Stadium for seating.
  • Procession: The academic procession assembles on the Arts Quad at 9:15 a.m., and the procession will begin to arrive at Schoellkopf Stadium at 10 a.m.
  • Commencement Ceremony: Kotlikoff will deliver the Commencement Address. The ceremony is 11 a.m. to noon.
  • College and school ceremonies: These will be held at various locations across campus, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. A listing will be in the Commencement program handed out at the ceremony and is available online.


Some parking lots and roads will be closed during the weekend. Information is online.


Sunday Commencement exercises will be held outdoors unless weather is deemed potentially dangerous. If severe weather is forecast, two ceremonies will be held for ticketed guests in Barton Hall.

Check the inclement weather plan for details, and check for updates.

On Wednesday, May 25, at noon, Senior Convocation inclement weather tickets can be reserved by graduating seniors via on a first-come, first-served basis.

To watch and listen

Commencement will be broadcast live on Ithaca’s Time Warner Cable Channel 16 and can be heard on WHCU radio (870 AM) starting at 11 a.m.

Both commencement and convocation will be streamed live on CornellCast. The Commencement procession and ceremony can be viewed afterward on CornellCast as well.[/su_spoiler]

Ithaca College

Commencement Eve Date: Saturday, May 21

Commencement Date: Sunday, May 22

Commencement Speaker: IC Grad and New York Times Correspondent Adam B. Ellick

Other events: Honorary doctorates bestowed, commencement eve fireworks show and concert

Here’s the full news release:

[su_spoiler title=”Ithaca College Commencent Press Release” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron-circle”]New York Times correspondent Adam B. Ellick will return to his alma mater to deliver the main address at Ithaca College’s 121st Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 22. A 1999 journalism graduate, Ellick is best known as the reporter who first brought Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai to the attention of the world.

Ellick — who will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree — will speak to some 1,332 graduates and their guests at the 10 a.m. ceremony at Butterfield Stadium. Also making remarks at Commencement will be IthacaCollege president Tom Rochon, senior class president Marlowe Padilla and board of trustees chairman Tom Grape ’80.

The college will also be recognizing two other individuals for distinguished service and accomplishments in their respective fields:

  • Philanthropist and businessman Kenneth Fisher, chairman and chief executive officer of the Fisher House Foundation, will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. The foundation provides housing where families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans can be near their loved ones, as well as scholarships for veterans, their spouses and their children.
  • Francisco J. Núñez, founder and artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus (YPC) of New York City, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree. A MacArthur Fellow, Núñez has used the YPC to heighten an awareness of the ability of children of any cultural or economic background to rise to unforeseen levels of artistry, while also enriching the broader community in which they live.

The graduation ceremony is open to the public. It can be viewed locally on Time Warner Cable channel 16 as well as online at

As a senior video correspondent for The Times, Ellick told the story in 2009 of Malala’s brave defiance of the Taliban in advocating for the education of girls. Malala was later shot and seriously wounded by a gunman, and in 2014 she became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

A video Ellick co-produced in December of 2015 was awarded the Pulitzer Prize last month. “The Killing of Farkhunda” tells the story of an Afghan woman who was falsely accused of burning the Koran and subsequently killed by a male mob in central Kabul. The short documentary was produced exclusively from eyewitness video shot on mobile phones by onlookers and the attackers themselves.

Since last July, Ellick has served as a deputy editor at The Times, working on a small leadership team overseeing 50 video staffers and rethinking the strategic vision for the newspaper’s video coverage. His honors include the 2010 Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding reporting about South Asia and the Justice Award from the Cinema for Peace Foundation. In 2015, the Ithaca College Alumni Association presented him with the Humanitarian Alumni Award.

For more information, visit[/su_spoiler]

TCAT Detours

On a related note, TCAT announced detours related to IC’s commencement. See the full statement below:

[su_spoiler title=”TCAT Detours for IC Commencement” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron-circle”]Ithaca College commencement ceremonies will prompt Route 11 delays and/or detours 5/21/16 & 5/22/16

Saturday May 21st 2016 for Commencement Eve Concert and Fireworks Show:

Route 11 will remain on normal route between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., however passengers should expect delays during that time period.

Route 11 detours in both directions from 8:35 p.m. to 11:06 p.m.  and will not be able to serve Hillview @ Hudson; Hudson @ Grandview;  Hudson @ Coddington; and  Roy Park School bus stops. The Roy Park School stop will be relocated to the Towers. Outbound and inbound  Route 11s will enter and exit Ithaca College to and from Aurora St. and will be able to serve the Towers and College Circle Apartments.

Sunday May 22nd 2016 Commencement:

Route 11 in both directions from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. will not be able to access the Towers and College Circle Apartments. The Route 11 outbound will be on normal route until the Roy Park School bus stop. After departing this stop, the bus will circle around Alumni Circle and head back to Roy Park School bus stop and sit there until its scheduled inbound departure time.[/su_spoiler]

Tompkins Cortland Community College

Commencement Date: Thursday, May 26

Commencement Speaker: TC3 and Cornell Alumna Justine Lewis at 6 p.m. at the TC3 Gymnasium

Additional events: Remarks from College President Carl Haynes, Board of Trustees Chair Elizabeth Burns, and Student Trustee Olu Roberts, recognitions of excellence for students, faculty and staff

Here’s the full news release:

[su_spoiler title=”Tompkins Cortland Community College Commencent Press Release” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron-circle”]Tompkins Cortland Community College to Celebrate 47th Commencement on May 26

Class of 2008 Graduate Justine Lewis to Deliver Commencement Address

 Tompkins Cortland Community College will celebrate the achievements of nearly 700 graduates during its 47th Commencement ceremony Thursday, May 26. The ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the College’s gymnasium.

Justine Lewis, class of 2008, will be the main speaker. Lewis, who received her bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College and two master’s degrees from Cornell University, is a Public Affairs Specialist working for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs. She joined USAID in 2014 as a Presidential Management Fellow and worked in the U.S. Embassy in Nepal for five months before returning to Washington, D.C.

While at Tompkins Cortland, Lewis excelled in and out of the classroom. She was an officer in the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and graduated with highest honors. She was the student speaker at the 2008 commencement.

This year’s ceremony will also include remarks from College President Carl Haynes, Board of Trustees Chair Elizabeth Burns, and Student Trustee Olu Roberts. Individual students will be honored for academic-related achievement, and faculty and staff will receive various Chancellor’s/Trustees’ Awards for Excellence.

Note: The ceremony can be iewed online at:[/su_spoiler]

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.