Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where are the various venues located?
A: Koessler Athletic Center, the site of the Graduate Ceremony and the Baccalaureate Mass, is situated at the corner of Main Street and Delavan Avenue. The assembly area for graduate students is located in the Patrick E. Lee Center which is directly behind this building.
Alumni Arena is located on the grounds of SUNY Buffalo (North Campus). From the NYS Thruway (I-90), take Exit 50 to the Youngmann Highway (I-290) and exit at Millersport Highway North (Exit 5B - Route 263). Proceed to the SUNY exit (SUNYAB Coventry Entrance), which is located in front of the Amherst Pepsi Arena. Turn left onto the campus grounds, and follow the signs.
Q: What about parking facilities at the venues?
A: All the lots near the Koessler Athletic Center (including a parking ramp) are available for those attending the Graduate Ceremony and the Baccalaureate Mass. At SUNY Buffalo, there are large parking lots adjacent to Alumni Arena where there is parking for our guests at the undergraduate ceremony (follow the directions of the parking attendants when you arrive on campus). There is no shuttle service for parking: feel free to drop off those guests who may have difficulty walking at the front door of the venues before parking your vehicle.
Q. How many guests am I allowed to bring to the ceremonies? Do we need to have tickets?
A: At the graduate ceremony and the Baccalaureate Mass in the Koessler Athletic Center, no tickets are needed and you may bring as many guests as you wish. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.
For the undergraduate ceremony, each graduating student in attendance is entitled to invite 6 guests for general admission seating, determined by first-come, first-seated arrival at Alumni Arena (graduating seniors do not need tickets). This ticket policy is due to regulations imposed by the State University of New York (the location of the undergraduate ceremony) based upon the size of the class and the number of available seats in the Arena. Any person of any age occupying a seat must have a ticket. (Strollers are not allowed in the main hall of the Arena: we do not recommend that young children be brought to the ceremonies, as they may distract others in attendance and will find the ceremonies much too long for their comfort!).
During Graduation Checkout beginning Monday, April 8th at the Office of Student Records, when seniors pick up other important information, they will be able to claim their 6 tickets. Seniors will be allowed to pick up the full number available to them even if they don’t think they will use all of them, and they are then encouraged to share unneeded tickets with others. They may also drop off surplus tickets at the Campus Programming & Leadership Development Office (Student Center, lower level) and other graduates may inquire about any available tickets there.
Q. What if some friends or family members are not able to attend due to the limited number of tickets?
A: Canisius is able to provide a live webcast of the undergraduate ceremony at no charge to you. To access it, you must have RealPlayer (Version 11) software downloaded and operable on your home/office computer. Additional broadcast information and important tips for advance preparation will be made available to you on this website later in the semester. Additionally, the video of the undergraduate ceremony may be downloaded from Canisius College iTunes at no charge after June 7, 2013.
Q. Are there areas for handicapped seating at the graduation ceremonies?
A: There are areas reserved for those in wheelchairs at both Koessler Athletic Center and at Alumni Arena. In order to accommodate as many people as possible, we ask that only one other family member remain in this area with the special-needs individual. There is very limited seating for those with difficulty climbing stairs in rows directly off the entrances into the main hall at both locations.
Please be aware that Alumni Arena in particular has many stairs and can be extremely difficult to navigate. It is a huge venue seating 5000 guests, with many bleacher seats without backs. Even though elevators are available, there is still a great deal of walking and stair-climbing necessary to locate a seat in most sections of the venue. No wheelchairs will be available on-site for use during the events, so please bring your own if you know you will be in need of one.
Remember that the ceremony is available for viewing in real time on the Web or may be downloaded from Canisius College iTunes, so some family members and friends may be more comfortable remaining at home for the event and watching the ceremony from there.
Q: What time do my guests and I need to arrive for the ceremonies?
A: As noted on the schedule, graduate students are to report to the Patrick Lee Center (behind Koessler Athletic Center) by 6:00 PM on Wednesday, May 15 and seating for our guests will begin at the same hour. At the Baccalaureate Mass in Koessler on Friday, May 17, students are seated with their families and we ask that you be in attendance by 4:45 PM that day (remember that graduates are to wear gowns but NOT hoods or caps to the Mass). Undergraduates are to report by 8:45 AM on Saturday, May 18 to Alumni Arena on the grounds of SUNY Buffalo, and doors will open for our guests at 9:00 AM for general admission seating on a first-come, first-seated basis. Guests should be in their seats NO LATER THAN 9:45 AM so that they may view the Academic Procession which begins precisely at that time.
There are no rehearsals for any of the ceremonies: any necessary instructions will be given to students at their reporting times.
Q: How long is the commencement ceremony?
A: The graduate ceremony usually lasts approximately 1-1/2 hours, the Baccalaureate Mass about 1 hour, and the undergraduate ceremony approximately 2-1/2 hours. Knowing this time frame may assist you in making reservations for dinner or other festivities.
Q: I’m not a Catholic; may I attend the Baccalaureate Mass? May graduate students attend?
A: Absolutely yes to both questions! We invite you to join with us to honor all members of the Class of 2013 regardless of their religious background and their degree. The Mass is a prayerful, inclusive liturgy of celebration and includes an opportunity for graduates to thank and bless their families. Richard J. Malone, DD, Bishop of Buffalo, will be the main celebrant at the Mass; he will be joined members of the Jesuit community as con-celebrants as the college family gathers to express gratitude for all the blessings bestowed upon our graduating students.
Q: Is there a list of hotels that give a reduced rate to guests who may be coming in from out of town?
A: From the Commencement 2013 web page there is a link to a list of accommodations that are quoting reduced rates for guests attending the Canisius events. Remember to identify yourself as such in making reservations.
Q: Any good ideas of where to visit while in the Buffalo area?
A: To check other points of interest in the area, go to the website for the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors’ Bureau: http://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/.