2019 Spring Commencement Ceremony

2019 Commencement Ceremony

Things to take care of right now:

✔️ Prep yourself!
Students, please arrive at the Apollo Theater by 1:30pm. Remember, there will be no place to store your belongings safely and you will have to leave your seat during the ceremony, so do not plan to bring anything other than yourself. Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be going up and down stairs.  Dress lightly under your regalia – it can get warm in the Apollo. Water and light snacks will be available to you before the ceremony.

✔️ Prep your guests
Doors open for guests at 2:00pm. Guests who arrive after 2:55 won’t be seated until an appropriate point in the ceremony. 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. Guests must have tickets in hand for both commencement and reception.

✔️ Review the orientation info
Whether you attended orientation or not, please make sure you review this info one last time before Commencement. There is a lot of useful information and it will help make your day go smoothly.

Check your CUNY SPH email regularly! Info on how to join the Alumni Network and other important post-graduation info will be shared in the coming weeks!

When and Where

This year’s commencement will take place on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, from 3pm – 5pm. We continue our tradition of holding CUNY SPH commencement at Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater at 253 West 125 Street. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the CUNY SPH Facebook page.

Students and faculty should arrive to the main entrance of the Apollo Theater by 1:30pm. 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.

A reception at the Alhambra Ballroom (2116 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.) will follow immediately after the ceremony and continue through 7pm.


Those eligible to participate in this year’s commencement are MPH, MS, and DPH graduates from Summer 2018 and Fall 2018, as well as Spring 2019 applicants for graduation.

This year’s keynote speaker and honorary Doctor of Science awardee will be Dr. David Nabarro, former Special Advisor to the UN and Professor of Global Health at Imperial College London.

The Champion of Public Health award will be presented to Dr. Lyndon Haviland, an international health consultant with more than 30 years public health experience.


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


The school will provide high quality gowns and hoods which will be loaned to students at no cost. The school will also purchase caps and tams which students may keep as a memento. Doctoral students may also keep their doctoral hoods. Master’s graduates will wear a black master’s gown, a master’s hood showing the colors of the school (blue) and of the field of public health (salmon), and four-cornered black mortarboard graduation cap. Doctoral graduates will wear a black doctoral gown with colored hood and black velvet tam. Students will be able to order regalia via the RSVP link in the official invitation that was sent to your CUNY SPH email.

  • Picking up:
    Regalia will be distributed at Commencement Orientation to be held on Thursday, May 23 from 6pm-8pm in the auditorium (room 708).
  • Returning:
    Regalia must be returned no later than 5pm on June 14, 2019. You may begin returning regalia as early as June 5, 2019. Your regalia should be returned to Velvet Brown on the 5th floor on weekdays between 10 am and 5pm. If you need to return your regalia after 5pm, please contact Velvet.Brown@sph.cuny.edu to arrange this. Make sure that the bag in which you return your regalia has your name and EMPL ID on it.

Special Accommodations

CUNY SPH is committed to accommodating graduates and guests with disabilities. If you or any of your guests will require special accommodations in order to attend the ceremony, please contact Disability Coordinator Jeanette Rodriguez (Jeanette.Rodriguez@sph.cuny.edu) to make arrangements.


Please review the information and instructions that were presented at Commencement Orientation. If you have questions, please contact commencement@sph.cuny.edu.


Each graduate may bring four guests (in addition to yourself) to the ceremony and reception. We have emailed those students who were on the waitlist for additional guest tickets to the ceremony. Please check your CUNY SPH email to see if we were able to accommodate your request. Due to space constraints, we will not be able to offer additional tickets (other than the maximum 5 per graduate) to the reception.


The Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) is sponsoring a professional portrait session and providing one 5×7 portrait for all 2019 graduates! Please check your CUNY SPH email for details on how to sign up. 

A photographer will also be present at the ceremony to take general photos of the event. No flash photography will be allowed inside the theater during the commencement ceremony.

What to bring with you to graduation

The Apollo Theater does NOT provide a secure space to store belongings and graduates will have to leave their seat during the ceremony, so graduates should not plan to bring anything other than your cap and gown. Water and light snacks will be available to graduates before the ceremony.


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.


Congratulate your fellow graduates, recount fond memories, or reflect on your time at CUNY SPH on social media using the hashtag #CUNYSPHgrad19.


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. 

Page last updated: 06/03/19