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  • Commencement Information

Class of 2017

Seniors who have been cleared for graduation and whose names appear on the official graduation list from the Office of the Registrar, may begin to pick up their commencement tickets beginning on March 1st  in the Commencement Office/Office of Conferences, Suite 215A of the Campus Recreation Center. Tickets may be picked up with a student ID during the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday.  Tickets must be picked up by 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 18th.


This is a reminder to those intending to graduate in May 2017, that they must complete a degree application with the Registrar's Office.

Degree applications were due November 1. If you have not submitted your application, please do so immediately. Completing your application notifies us of your intention to graduate and places your name on the tentative graduation list. The degree application is available online at:

If you previously applied to graduate at the end of the Spring 2017 semester and find that your plans have changed, please notify the Registrar's Office immediately at 254-3151, or via email at, and they will correct your graduation date.

Students who complete degree requirements in the Winter Intersession graduate in May.

Please note: graduates who would like their name to appear in the commencement program must have all paperwork in to the Registrar's Office and be cleared for graduation by May 1, 2017. Anything received after that date may not be included in the printed program because of print deadlines.

All graduates should be sure that the Registrar’s Office has the most updated mailing address on record so that important information and your diploma will reach you. There is a form on the Registrar’s website to make these changes.

From Commencement Office (Department of Conferences) (401) 254-3067

Each graduate will receive 6 tickets for seating under the Commencement tent. Small children who will be sitting on a lap are not required to have a ticket. Fire regulations prohibit any guest to stand on the outskirts of the tent. Everyone must be seated and seating is on a first come, first served basis. Graduates may invite as many guests as they would like, but must realize that seating under the tent is limited to 6 tickets per graduate. There will be no extra tickets given. Additional guests beyond the 6 who receive tickets for seats under the tent, may view the ceremony via a live stream from the comfort of the Campus Recreation Center Gymnasium.

Tickets will be available to those graduates who have been cleared and appear on the graduation list beginning on Wednesday, March 8. Tickets may be picked up in the Conferences Office, Suite 215A of the Campus Recreation Center during the hours of 8:30am-4:00pm, Monday-Friday. Graduates must show a picture id and sign for their tickets when picking them up. Graduates must pick up their tickets in person unless they are out of state/live too far away to come to campus to pick them up. If this is the case, please contact Debbie Burgo at (401) 254-3067 to make arrangements. Graduates participating in the ceremony must pick up their tickets by Thursday, May 18th.  If there are any extra tickets, they will be given out at the rehearsal on Thursday, May 18th.

Simulcast of Ceremony
The ceremony will be simulcast in the Campus Recreation Center Gymnasium for additional guests. No tickets are needed at this location. Graduates may invite as many guests as they would like but realize that seating under the tent is limited to 6 tickets per graduate.

    We are happy to announce that this year's commencement will have Live Realtime Captioning available. Captions can be accessed on your personal device by visiting the link below:"


The Ceremony
The Commencement Ceremony will begin precisely at 10:00am on Saturday, May 20, 2017 under the tent on the main athletic field, rain or shine. Graduates must arrive at the Campus Recreation Center Fieldhouse at 8:15am. Instructions for lining up will begin at 8:30am and the procession for graduates will promptly leave the Campus Recreation Center at 9:00am.  Graduates who arrive late will not be allowed to join the ceremony. Graduate students will lead the procession in front of the undergraduates in their designated schools.

The gates to the field on which the commencement tents are located open at 8am and seating is on a first come, first serve basis.  Please, for the courtesy of others, there is no excessive seat saving.  Guests must present their ticket to be allowed access through the gates.  It is recommended that guests arrive before 9:00am and are in their seats no later than 9:15am if they would like to be seated before the processional enters the tent. 

Family members may ask how long the ceremony will last. To be safe, we estimate that you allow at least two and a half hours from the start of the ceremony (10am). An informal reception for each respective school follows the ceremony and we encourage graduates and their guests to attend these gatherings. The locations for these receptions will be listed in the commencement program you will receive at the ceremony.


A Commencement Luncheon is held in our Upper Commons Dining Room immediately following the commencement ceremony and is offered at various seating times from 12:30 - 2:30pm. This brunch is an all you can eat buffet with family and friends with a cash wine & beer bar. Avoid the hassle of making reservations at busy local restaurants and celebrate with fellow RWU graduates and families. Seating is limited and reservations are first come, first serve.  To register, please go to:   For more information, please call Stephanie Colliton-Keith at (401) 254-3217. 

Quick service meals will also be available at the Lower Commons from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m..  Coffee, tea, and breakfast sandwiches will be available in the morning.  The grill, pizza, deli, and salad bar complete with cold entrées will be available for lunch.  For more information, please call Stephanie Colliton-Keith at (401) 254-3217. 

For the safety of guests and pets themselves, pets are not allowed on campus for the ceremony.  In fact, the University prohibits bringing pets on campus grounds and in buildings.  The only exception is certfied service dogs accompanying their owner.  The dog must wear its credentials.  Guests bringing a service dog with them to the ceremony to aid them are invited to register the dog by completing the Assisted Parking & Seating Form.  This assists staff in ensuring that the guest and the service dog have appropriate seating.  Should you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact the Commencement Office.

Guest Seating
Guests should plan to be seated for 9am as that is the time the procession begins. While we encourage guests to arrive early, no one is allowed to take their seat before 8:00am and no one may reserve seats. Fire regulations prohibit any guest to stand on the outskirts of tent. Everyone must be seated. Strollers should be placed along the back of the tent to keep aisles open for egress.

Commencement Slide Show Pictures
Students are encouraged to submit pictures for our annual slide show prior to commencement. Due to privacy/permission issues, we can not accept pictures from sources other than th graduate themselves.  Pictures will be accepted via email to by May 1, 2016. The slide show provides some entertainment for the guests awaiting the start of the ceremony. Please keep in mind the audience when selecting pictures for the slide show. Also, the slide show may be posted to the web following the ceremony.  The Commencement Office reserves the right to not include pictures it deems inappropriate for the ceremony and to limit the number of pictures per student.


Island Photography will take the traditional picture as students receive their diploma as well as a still shot before students go on stage. Island Photography will contact graduates after commencement provided the student has given their contact information. For more information, please go to their website at: or call them at 516-767-1234.

Events & Receptions

President's Reception for Graduates
President Farish will host a special reception for graduates on Wednesday, May 17 from 5:30-7:30pm in GHH. Appetizers and beer and wine will be served. Please rsvp to by May 10th. Business attire requested. This reception is for graduates only- no guests please.

Rehearsal & Senior Social
There will be a rehearsal on Thursday, May 18th at 12:00 Noon  in the Campus Recreation Center Field house for all graduates who will be participating in the ceremony. All graduates must attend this rehearsal as instructions regarding the ceremony will be given at that time. Any extra tickets for the ceremony will be given out on a first come, first serve basis immediately following rehearsal. After rehearsal, members of the undergraduate class will enjoy a barbeque at North Campus Residence Hall (Field House is Rain Location). This event is free to all RWU undergraduates participating in commencement ceremony.  Given the large number of graduates, guests, family members and undergraduates who are not graduating may not attend.  Graduate students will have their own event hosted by their individual schools.  Graduate students will receive information from their respective school regarding their events.

The Intercultural Center Senior Reception will be held on the morning of Thursday, May 18. This reception, by invitation only, celebrates seniors who embrace diversity and have exemplified intercultural learning while at RWU. For more information, call Cynthia Carroll at 401-254-5422.

School Receptions
Informal reception for each respective school follows the ceremony and we encourage graduates and their guests to attend these gatherings. The locations for these receptions will be listed in the commencement program you will receive at the ceremony. Lemonade and festive cupcakes will be served.

From the Public Safety Office (401) 254-3611

Parking & Accommodations for Graduates & Guests with Disabilities or Special Needs
Due to the large number of graduates and guests participating in the ceremony, parking on campus will be difficult. Graduates living on campus must park in Lot Aor the parking garage only. Guests and graduates arriving from off campus must enter through the North Campus Road and park in the North Parking Lots (lots C & D). No parking will be allowed in the lots surrounding the Campus Recreation Center. Campus shuttles will run throughout the day to transport graduates and their guests to and from the ceremony and receptions. Please plan on arriving early.

Commencement Parking Map

Graduates or guests with disabilities or special needs should submit their request by completing the online form located below by May 1, 2017: Assisted Parking & Seating Form

University policy prohibits bringing pets on campus grounds and in buildings unless it is a certified service animal.

From the Bookstore (401) 254-3036

Bookstore Special Event
The Bookstore will hold its annual Countdown to Commencement 2017week- long event April 24-29. All graduating seniors are strongly encouraged to come into the Bookstore during this time to pick up their cap & gown and take advantage of the "in store" special offers, including: a drawing for a diploma frame of student's choice, class ring discounts, and a one time discount on clothing with a special coupon provided that day. 

Caps & Gowns
The Bookstore will continue to distribute caps and gowns EVERY day from the start of the Countdown to Commencement up until the day before Commencement- Friday, May 19.

Commencement Flowers Inc., a professional florist, will be on hand before and during the Commencement Ceremony. They will be located near the front entrance to the tent on the field. For your convenience, you can pre-purchase and reserve flowers ahead of time and have them available for pick-up at Commencement. Please visit their website at for more information.

Graduation Announcements
Celebrate the good news of your achievement with the following: personalized college announcements, which include the student’s name, degree and major, along with text for the school’s commencement ceremony. Inner and outer envelopes are included in various packages. We also offer envelope seals, with either a gold or silver foil applique, for sealing announcement outer envelopes in style, and personalized address labels to provide a more formal, finished look. The announcement display is located at the Bookstore and can be ordered with Balfour via telephone at 1.877.BALFOUR (225-3687), or online.

Diploma Frames
Choose from six (6) styles of diploma frames to display your degree. Diploma frames are displayed in the Bookstore and on their website.

The Bookstore displays an assortment of college rings from our ring vendor Balfour. Catalogs are available in the store or interested students can get in touch with Balfour via telephone at 1.877.BALFOUR (225-3687) or online.

From the Center for Career and Professional Development (401) 254-3224

The Center offers graduating seniors the opportunity to interview with organizations that come to campus during the career fair who have professional positions available. Students can see who is coming to campus by logging on to HAWKS HUNT.

If you are majoring in Accounting, Communications, Forensics, Graphic Design, Management, Marketing, Networking & Securities, Psychology, Security Assurance Studies or Web Development and have not fulfilled your internship requirement, please contact the Center immediately (401) 254-3224 or via email at

From the Office of Housing (401) 254-3161

Move out of Residence Halls
All graduates must move out of their residence hall room by 7:00pm on the day of Commencement, Saturday, May 20. Please plan accordingly. Questions regarding this may be directed to the Department of Housing and Residential Life at 401-254-3161.

From the Office of Student Programs & Leadership (401) 254-3088

Yearbook Information
Buy the 2017 Yearbook Package for $75 which includes the 2017 Yearbook & Portrait Sitting Fee- a savings of $30 AND you get a free t-shirt! Visit and place your order today.  Yearbook Senior Portraits will take place in March.  Call Student Programs & Leadership for more information at 401-254-3088.

Commencement Ball Information
Commencement Ball for the undergraduate members of the Class of 2017 will be held on Saturday, May 13th at the Rhode Island Convention Center.  Ticket sales will begin in April.  Information on tickets and hotel rooms will be sent out via email from the Senior Class.  Questions, please contact the Student Program & Leadership Office at (401) 254-3088.