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  • Information for Graduate Students - Commencement

We have compiled the following important information for graduate students and their families. Please note that only graduate students who have applied for and have been authorized to appear on the graduation list can participate in the Commencement Ceremony. This requires all students to have received financial clearance from the Bursar’s Office and confirmation of graduation status from the Registrar’s Office. Students whose name does not appear on the list cannot participate in the ceremony under any circumstances. No exceptions will be made.

To see if your name is on the graduation list, visit the tentative graduation list which will be posted the first week in February on the Registrar’s website. This list is updated every Friday. Should you have any questions regarding your status, please contact Anabela in the Registrar’s Office at 401-254-3151.

The Graduate Hooding Ceremony

Graduate students are also invited to participate in a special Graduate Hooding Ceremony on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 6pm in the Campus Recreation Center Gymnasium. Graduate students will receive their graduate "hoods" from their Program Director and Academic Dean. Following the ceremony, there is a reception for graduates and their guests. Graduates are allowed 6 guests for this ceremony. To RSVP to participate, please go to Graduate Hooding RSVP.

Please arrive by 5:00 PM and go to the Field House in the Campus Recreation Center. We have asked you to arrive by 5:00 PM so we will have ample time for instructions and for you to take a picture with your Dean, Director and fellow students in your program.

You are requested to wear your cap and gown, but carry your hood. Your hood will be placed on you by your Dean and Director during the Ceremony. Please be sure to get your gown ahead of time so that you can steam it.  

Parking has been made available for you in Lots 11 (just past the Campus Recreation Center and the mail-room on your left). These are the lots to the right of the mail-room building. Parking for guest(s) is available in Lots H and I (guests should enter through the North Entrance Gate). These are the lots to the right of the New Residence Hall. A Shuttle will be running continuously from Lots H and I to the Recreation Center. If you or your guest(s) have any special needs, contact Kate Tobin in the Office of Public Safety at (401) 254-3703 or

If you have any questions, contact the Office of Conferences at (401) 254-3067 or

Graduate Hooding Speaker

Each year graduate students are invited to apply for the opportunity to give the Student Address at the Graduate Hooding Ceremony.  All graduate students who are eligible to participate in Commencement 2015 and meet the requirements outlined in the application are invited to become candidates for this honor. 

Speech Guidelines:

The following information is provided to assist in the development of an appropriate speech. 

  1. The speech should mark the Graduate Hooding Ceremony as a special occasion.  Your words will represent the entire graduating class of master’s degree students.
  2. The goal of your speech is to reflect the sentiments of your class, your experiences, and what you look forward to in the future.  It should reflect the intellectual development your master’s program has afforded you.
  3. Strong essays will include a focus on your educational experience, the importance of graduate education, and things unique to your education here at RWU.
  4. Be creative!  This involves taking some appropriate risks.  Think of what you would like to hear someone say if you were listening from the audience.  It is perfectly alright to infuse your own personality into the speech itself and/or the delivery.  Do not be reluctant to talk about your personal experience or those of your peers while graduate students at RWU.
  5. Be brief. Remember your time constraint.  You must be able to deliver the speech in 5 minutes or less.  In type written form, 5 minutes is equal to about two and a half pages typed and double-spaced. 
  6. Typically, these types of addresses may include the following:
    • Offers congratulations. Besides your classmates, spouses, significant others, faculty members/advisors, families and friends have been an important part of your success and this is a chance to thank them for their support.
    • Reviews accomplishments. As members of the Class of 2015, what obstacles did you overcome? What special characteristics have you exhibited? What are your significant accomplishments?  These should be in sweeping terms with specifics that could apply to members of the graduating class.
    • Something to think about. What does the class look forward to now that you have earned your degree?  Are there words of inspiration you would like to offer as you embark on new opportunities and challenges? Is there something you learned while a graduate student that has had a profound impact on you/your class?  Is there something you want those in the audience to take with them from your remarks?
  7. If you are selected as a semi-finalist, you may be expected to deliver the speech before the Committee.  You will be judged on delivery as well as content, so please come to the audition fully prepared.

Your application package should include ALL of the following components:

  • On a separate sheet of paper, briefly describe why you would like to be the Graduate

Student Speaker

  • Attach a current resume
  • Attach one letter of recommendation which speaks specifically to your academic and leadership achievements and your ability to be a successful speaker.
  • Attach a written draft of your proposed commencement address, which should not exceed five minutes.
  • Submit a 5 minute video/CD of you giving your speech in a professional setting

If you have questions, please contact Allison Chase Padula, Associate Dean of Students, at or x3067.

Selection Process and Timeline


Notice to graduate seniors / Call for Applications February 13
Application / draft speech Deadline March 2 by 12noon
Application / draft speech review by Committee Week of March 16
Speeches to Committee Week of March 24
Final Speaker chosen / notified Week of March 30

Committee Information

The commencement committee designates a committee to assist in the selection process.  The Committee is comprised of faculty,  staff, and student representatives.   Total number of committee members is between 5-7 individuals.

Final Speaker Responsibilities 

The chosen finalist must be willing and available to revise and fine-tune the speech for time, content, word choice, clarity, speed, fact-checking, etc.  Speaker works with a team of staff/faculty designated to assist in this process.  Speaker must present an edited final version of the speech two weeks before the ceremony to Allison Chase Padula via email at