2018 Spring Commencement Ceremony

Spring Commencement Ceremony for Summer 2017, Fall 2017, and Spring 2018 Graduates

When and where

This year’s commencement will take place on Thursday, May 31, 2018, starting at 5pm at Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater at 253 West 125th Street. The event will be live streamed on the CUNY SPH Facebook page starting at 5pm.

Students will need to have a CUNY SPH ID and ticket in order to enter the Apollo Theater Graduates who arrive late will not be seated until the Procession and the National Anthem have been completed. Guests that arrive late will be ushered into the theater at an appropriate time, so as not to interrupt the ongoing ceremony.

Students and faculty will wear regalia and there will be a formal procession as the graduates enter the theater. The Apollo’s ‘Tree of Hope’ will be onstage for grads to touch for good luck in the next phase of their public health careers.



Summer 2017 and Fall 2017 graduates of a degree program and Spring 2018 applicants of a degree program are eligible to participate.

This year’s honorary doctorate awardee will be Cecile Richards, a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice, author of New York Times bestseller Make Trouble, and President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade.

The Champion of Public Health award will be presented to Sergio Matos, co-founder and executive director of the Community Health Worker Network of NYC (CHWNYC), an independent professional association that works to advance the CHW workforce while preserving the integrity of the work.



The School is purchasing quality gowns which will be loaned to students at no cost. The school will also purchase caps and tams which students may keep as a memento.  Master’s graduates will wear a black master’s gown and four-cornered mortarboard graduation cap.  Doctoral graduates will wear a black doctoral gown with colored hood and colored velvet tam. Students will be able to order regalia via the RSVP link sent to your CUNY SPH email.

Orientation and Picking Up Your Regalia

Students are asked to attend a Commencement orientation and will be able to pick up their regalia and tickets on May 16. An email with an RSVP link for the orientation and regalia/ticket pick up has been emailed to all graduating students.

Students must present a CUNY SPH ID in order to pick up their gown and tickets. If students cannot make it to one of the scheduled sessions or wants to send a proxy, the student MUST email commencement@sph.cuny.edu in advance to make arrangements. Please note that we will not release regalia or tickets to a proxy without written permission from the graduating student, which can be provided by email.

Returning Your Gown and Hood

CUNY SPH is purchasing quality, reusable regalia.  Graduates will be expected to return gowns and hoods (the caps are yours to keep) which will be cleaned and stored for use by future graduating classes. We will provide instructions on how to return your gown when you pick up your regalia.



All graduates entering the Apollo Theater will be required to present a CUNY SPH ID card and your ticket. If you do not have an ID card, please email Public Safety at public.safety@sph.cuny.edu to make an appointment to get a card. You will need to bring another form of photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) and your EMPL ID number.

Students will not be able to participate in Commencement without a CUNY SPH ID card.


Correct Pronunciation of Your Name

Graduates, we want to ensure your name is pronounced correctly at Commencement. On the RSVP form, you will be able to indicate the correct pronunciation of your name.


Commencement Instructions for Graduates

Instructions for graduates regarding the commencement ceremony were reviewed at the Commencement Orientation and may also be viewed here.



A photographer will be present to take photos of the event. The photographer will not be taking individual photos of each graduate. No flash photography will be allowed inside the theater during the commencement ceremony.



Electronic invitations have been sent to graduating students via their CUNY SPH email address. The RSVP date has now passed. If you have any questions about attending Commencement, please email commencement@sph.cuny.edu.



Each graduate will be allowed two guests, based on the number of eligible graduates and the capacity of the theater.  For special cases, we may be able to allow more guests: as we receive RSVPs and learn how many graduates are participating, we will be able to determine if additional tickets can be allotted. If you desire additional tickets, you will be able to join the waitlist. We will send out a link to the waitlist after the invitations are sent out.  Additional tickets will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis. An important consideration: if you will bring a child, please make sure they have an adult companion who can bring them outside, should the ceremony prove too long/tedious for them. Printed tickets to graduation will be distributed by the School (not the Apollo Theater) on May 16.



Grads and guests are strongly advised to use public transportation.  The School is not able to provide parking, and street parking is very limited.  Parking apps such as Spot Hero and NYC Best Parking may be helpful if public transportation is not an option.



Formal diplomas will be available approximately 3 months after the official degree conferral date.  Please refer to the CUNY SPH Academic Calendar for the appropriate conferral dates. Graduation applications are now being processed and audited. Students will be contacted via email to their CUNY SPH email account regarding the status of the audit and if there are any problems.


Represent CUNY SPH! If you would like to sport your school pride, you can purchase T-shirts and other CUNY SPH merchandise here.


If you have any questions related to commencement, please contact commencement@sph.cuny.edu.


Additional details will be posted here as they are available, and relevant information will be sent to your CUNY SPH email. Please check this page and your CUNY SPH email often for important information and updates.