Spring Commencement Ceremony for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Graduates

When and where

Our inaugural commencement as the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy will take place on June 1, 2017, at Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater at 253 West 125th Street, from 5 – 7:30pm. Students may enter the Apollo Theater (please have your CUNY SPH ID and your ticket with you) beginning at 3:45pm, and must arrive no later than 4:15pm; guests will be admitted beginning at 4:15pm. Theater doors will close at 4:50pm. 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.



Fall 2016 graduates of a degree program and Spring 2017 graduates of a degree program are eligible to participate.

We are excited to announce that our inaugural commencement ceremony will feature three powerful public health and social justice leaders:

Honorary Doctor of Science
Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science in Public Health degree in recognition of her leadership of ThriveNYC, the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation.

Champion of Public Health Award
Mary Bassett, Commissioner of the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will receive the Champion of Public Health award for her transformational work addressing population health in New York City.

Keynote Address
Linda Sarsour, co-organizer of the National Women’s March and former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, will deliver the keynote address.



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. Please note the deadline to order regalia has passed.

Picking Up Your Regalia

Students may pick up their regalia and tickets during one of the following sessions:

  • Thursday, May 25, 2pm-7:30pm, in Room 717
  • Tuesday, May 30, 2pm-8pm, in Room 708

Students must present an SPH ID in order to pick up items. If students cannot make it to one of these 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, you make get one during one of the following regalia and ticket pick up sessions:

  • Thursday, May 25, 2pm-7:30pm, in Room 717
  • Tuesday, May 30, 2pm-8pm, in Room 708

You will need to bring another form of photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) and your EMPL ID number.

If you cannot make it to one of these sessions, please email public safety officer Sergeant Joyner at desiree.joyner@sph.cuny.edu to make an appointment ASAP. Students will not be able to participate in Commencement without and SPH ID card.


Correct Pronunciation of Your Name

Graduates, please take a moment to complete our Grad Name Pronunciation Google Form. Please help us to ensure your name is pronounced correctly at Commencement!


Commencement Instructions for Graduates

Please click here to see instructions for graduates regarding the commencement ceremony.



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 SPH email address. Please note the RSVP date has 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 can join the waitlist by completing this form.  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) approximately 2 weeks before the event.



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.  Conferral dates are January 13, 2017 for Fall 2016 grads and June 15, 2017 for Spring 2017 grads. Graduation applications are now being processed and audited. Students will be contacted via email to their SPH email account regarding the status of the audit and if there are any problems.


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


Additional details will be posted as they are available. Please check this page often. Relevant information will be sent to your SPH email, so please check your SPH email regularly for important information and updates.