ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The University at Albany (UAlbany) is gearing up to host a series of in-person commencement events to celebrate the class of 2022, including the return of the University-wide outdoor undergraduate ceremony for the first time since 2019. More than 4,200 students are set to receive their degrees during the festivities. All ceremonies will be live-streamed and recorded, and you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #UAlbanyGrad.

The festivities begin with a doctoral hooding and stage crossing at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 12, inside the new ETEC research and development complex. Ph.D. recipients will be individually recognized in front of family, friends, and faculty to honor their significant accomplishments.

On Saturday, May 14, the University-wide undergraduate ceremony will be held rain or shine at the Entry Plaza lawn on the Uptown campus. Graduates will be recognized together with peers by school and college.

Undergraduate and graduate students will also be individually recognized in small groups with their guests at school and college-based stage crossings from Thursday to Sunday. Graduates will cross one of three indoor stages in regalia in front of family, friends, and faculty. This concept was brought back by popular demand after last year’s Great Dane Graduation Experience, which offered a similar experience for the classes of 2020 and 2021 over seven days at Casey Stadium.

This year’s alumni commencement speaker is Tom Junod, who graduated in 1980. Junod is an award-winning journalist and a graduate of the university’s English program whose work in Esquire included the 9/11 story “The Falling Man” and a profile of Fred Rogers that inspired the 2019 Tom Hanks movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” The Class of 2022 student speaker is Ché Doni-Platt, a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major and recipient of the President’s Award for Leadership from Kingston, Jamaica.

UAlbany also is hosting a number of special recognition ceremonies during the week, including the Lavender Celebration honoring the achievements of graduating LGBTQ+ students and their supporters at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Campus Center Ballroom and an international celebration, hosted by International Student and Scholar Services, at 5 p.m. Friday in the Science Library atrium and Parent Fountain courtyard.

Consistent with current CDC and Albany County guidance, UAlbany is strongly recommending that graduates and guests wear a mask to any indoor event and welcome and encourage masks at outdoor events as well.