Class of 2023 Commencement

University Commencement Class of 2023 Schedule - Friday, May 19, 2023

Main Commencement Ceremony:  Main Athletic Field behind the Campus Recreation Center, Bristol Campus
7:00 AM – ALL gates open on the Athletic Field for guests to be seated.
8:00 AM – Students report to Fieldhouse in the Campus Recreation Center
8:15 AM – Instructions given to students in Fieldhouse

*Guests must be seated by 8:30 AM

8:30 AM – Processional begins from the Fieldhouse to Athletic Field (please note:  there is no tent.)
9:00 AM – Ceremony Begins
10:00 AM – Recessional

Individual School Ceremonies
Wave I
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (followed by lunch)
(11:00 AM – Students & Faculty report to their designated meet-up locations)
Wave 2
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM (preceded by lunch)
(1:30 PM – Students & Faculty report to their designated meet-up locations)

For those that cannot attend in person, the ceremony will be live streamed on the university website. The link will be provided in May. Individual ceremonies will be videotaped and published on the Commencement website at a later date.

Ceremony & Meetup Locations:
All students, faculty, and platform parties MUST report to their meetup location 30 minutes PRIOR to their school ceremony.

Ceremony SiteMeetup Location
Practice Soccer Field TentPractice Soccer Field - Back of Tent
Global Heritage Hall TentGHH Atrium
Quad TentOutside of Architecture Gallery
GymnasiumField House

Commencement Campus Map

Thursday, May 18th (following rehearsal, see information regarding rehearsal below) - Graduating students (including Graduate, School of Law, and University College students) will enjoy a barbecue at the North Campus Residents Hall Courtyard. This event is free to all students participating in the commencement ceremony. Given the large number of graduates, guests, family members and undergraduates who are not graduating may not attend.

Rain Location: Upper Commons.

This year we are going to have 8-10 food trucks as the food/lunch option during Commencement! We are excited to roll out this new addition and feel it will be a great way for guests and families to mingle and eat delicious local food between ceremonies. A list of food trucks will be posted at a later date!

  • Food Trucks will be parked in front of the Marine & Natural Sciences building 
  • There will be picnic tables in front of MNS for folks to enjoy their food, there are also numerous places to eat outside or inside throughout campus

On Thursday, May 18, 2023 at 12:00 PM, there will be a rehearsal in the Campus Recreation Center Fieldhouse for ALL graduates participating in the ceremony on Friday, this includes, School of Law, Graduate, and University College Students. Important instructions will be given at the rehearsal, including arrival time, procession and recession into the tents, and school ceremonies. 

Public Safety will allow curbside drop off for those needing special assistance to attend the main Commencement Ceremony. The drop off point will be located at the circle drive between the Law School and Performing Arts Center Guests should enter the campus through the north Campus entrance. Guests will be dropped off and then the driver will be directed to the general parking.  Every parking lot on campus has designated accessible parking spaces. 

This year we are excited to announce that we will have 6, 6 passenger golf carts dedicated to helping folks get around campus. 

Local Wheelchair Rental

New England Surgical

Mobility Equipment Recyclers

Liberty Mobility

Q: Will it be livestreamed? 

A: Yes, on the day of Commencement the link will become live. 

 

Q: When will I receive my diploma? 

A: Diplomas will be mailed to you during the summer. Please make sure your address is up to date with the Registrar’s Office.

 

Q: What is the Commencement Fair?  Do I have to attend?

A:  Commencement Fair is coordinated by your Class Officers to provide information regarding Commencement and Commencement Ball. Students will be emailed with the various offices and services that will be at the Fair. Students do not need to attend the fair

 

Q: What is the attire for Commencement?

A: All ceremonies will take place outside on fields. Please dress accordingly for the weather and be sure to wear appropriate shoes.

 

Q: How do I apply for graduation?

A: Students intending to graduate in May 2023 must complete a degree application on RogerCentral.

 

Q: I have two majors can I walk with both?

A: Graduates participating in Commencement will walk with the school their Primary major is assigned.

 

Q: Once my graduate's name is called and he/she crosses the stage, can we leave? 

A: No. Out of respect for the other graduates, all graduates and their guests are expected to stay until the ceremony is over.

 

Q: Is there a charge for the cap and gown?

A: No.

 

Q: Can I decorate my cap? 

A: YES!  Your cap is yours to keep. We kindly ask that you be mindful and respectful in your decorations.

 

Q: How will I be notified about Commencement happenings? 

A: You will receive Commencement information and updates on your RWU email. Please make sure to communicate this information to your families!

 

Q: If I cannot attend will my name still be listed in the program?

A: Yes. Graduates who would like their name to appear in the Commencement Program must have all paperwork required to update your graduation status in to the Registrar's Office and be cleared for graduation by April 1, 2023. Anything received after that date may not be included in the printed program because of print deadlines. 

 

Q: How long does the ceremony last?

A: The main ceremony will be 1 hour and the individual school ceremonies will be 1 hour.

 

Q: How do I know if I am eligible to graduate?

A: Students should check Roger Central on eligibility for graduation. Students can Participate in Commencement with no more than two remaining courses including Incompletes. Please discuss any questions you may have with your faculty advisor or Dean’s office.

 

Q: Will my picture be taken?  How will I get my pictures?

A: Please go to the expandable Photography section on this webpage for this information!

Students intending to graduate and/or participate in the May 2023 commencement ceremony must apply to graduate in RogerCentral in the Graduation Overview tab. Students may only participate in the commencement ceremony if they will complete all of their degree requirements by the end of the Spring 2023 semester or be 2 courses/8 credits short of completing their requirements (undergraduates) or 1 course short of completing their requirements (graduates).

May 2023 graduation applications were due on March 1, 2022. If you have not submitted your application, please do so immediately.

Completing your graduation application notifies the University of your intention to graduate which:

  • Gets your name on the official graduation list
  • Provides us with the name that will go on your diploma
  • Provides us with the address your diploma will be sent to
  • Allows the registrar’s office to evaluate your progress towards degree completion

Students who complete degree requirements in the Winter Intersession will have their degrees conferred in May. If you previously applied to graduate at the end of the Spring 2023 semester and find that your plans have changed, please email graduationcoordinator@rwu.edu so that your record can be updated.

Please note: graduates who would like their name to appear in the commencement program must apply to graduate and be cleared to participate in the commencement ceremony by March 1, 2023.  Students that apply to graduate after this date may not be included in the commencement program due to printing deadline dates.

The Commencement ceremonies have changed for 2023. All graduate students will participate in the Main Commencement Ceremony alongside undergraduate and law students. You will process for your master’s hood and degree in your respective school ceremony in Wave I or Wave II as indicated in the schedule above. 

Please note that you are eligible to apply as the Commencement National Anthem singer as well as the Graduate Student Speaker, see expandable sections for more details.

ALL eligible graduates are encouraged to apply to sing the National Anthem on their Commencement Day!  All students who have been cleared for graduation are eligible to apply. 

National Anthem Singer Applications are available HERE! 

Requirements and auditioning information are included on the applications. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 17, 2023 by 5:00 PM For questions regarding this application process, please call 401-254-3166 or email events@rwu.edu

Hotels

Please visit the University's Accommodations page for a full list of hotels and bed & breakfasts in the area.

Concessions on Campus

Hawk's Nest (Campus Recreation Center) and the Global Cafe (bottom floor of the Global Heritage Hall) will be open for anyone wishing to purchase a beverage or food throughout the day.

Florist

Commencement Flowers Inc., a professional florist, will be on hand before and during Commencement. 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 https://www.thecommencementgroup.com/rogerwilliams/

Island Photography will take the traditional picture as graduates are hooded and after they step off stage with their diploma. Island Photography will contact graduates after Commencement provided the student has given their contact information. For more information, please go to their website at www.islandphoto.com or at 800.869.0908. 

Additional professional photographers will also be on site during and after the ceremony to take photos of graduates. These photos will be shared on the website after Commencement for families to view and download.

Families are encouraged to take photos of their graduate before and after the ceremony.  No standing at seats and/or blocking aisles will be allowed during the ceremony.

All eligible graduating students, including University College, School of Law and Graduate student only (no guests) are invited to the Presidential Reception at the Global Heritage Hall, Atrium - the date and time will be announced at a later time.

If you cannot find your answer on this webpage or need further help, please see the departments below to contact:

QuestionDepartmentEmail/WebsitePhone
General Commencement InformationCommencement Office/Special Eventsevents@rwu.edu401-254-3166
Caps & Gowns, Rings, Frames, Graduation AnnouncementsBookstore

bksrw@bncollege.com

401-254-3036
Outstanding BillsBursar

bursar@rwu.edu

401-254-3520
Lavender GraduationIntercultural Centerzquezada@rwu.edu 401-254-3591
Degree Applications, Graduation eligibility, Diploma questions, Address Change, Honors TasselsRegistrargraduationcoordinator@rwu.edu401-254-3151
Student Commencement Speaker ApplicationStudent Lifencosta@rwu.edu401-254-3151
Senior Events, Commencement FairStudent Programs & Leadershipclassof2022@g.rwu.edu401-254-3042
Senior PortraitsStudent Programs & Leadershipstudentprograms@rwu.edu401-254-3088

Regalia
Only students eligible to graduate (confirmation by Registrar's office) and cleared by the Bursar's office to order and/or pick up their regalia. The bookstore will have a list of students that have been cleared for their regalia. Students who have outstanding bills with the Bursar's Office are considered "not cleared" and cannot pick up their regalia until they meet with the Bursar's Office and make amends.  Upon doing this, the Bursar's Office will give the student a "CLEARED" note to give to the Bookstore to pick up their regalia.
Please note - you do NOT need to order your regalia. 

TO PICK UP YOUR REGALIA FROM THE BRISTOL CAMPUS BOOKSTORE:  You will need to bring your RWU Student ID. The Bookstore Hours are Monday/Tuesday 9 AM -5 PM; Wednesday-Friday 9 AM - 4 PM; Saturday 10 AM -2 PM.

University College Students - please go to the UC Student drop down for additional cap & gown information!

If you have elected to learn remotely this year or have questions regarding caps and gowns, please contact the bookstore at  bksrw@bncollege.com.

 

Tassels and Cords

Tassels and cords are distributed by the graduates respective honor society or organization.  Graduates should make sure they contacted their respective supervisor or organization to secure their cords and have them prior to Commencement.

The only tassels given out on the morning of Commencement will be for high honors (summa cum laude -- 3.8 GPA, magna cum laude -- 3.6 GPA, and cum laude -- 3.4 GPA). Those graduates receiving high honors will have the honor listed on the name card they pick up when they check-in for their scheduled Grad Walk. These honors are based on fall semester cumulative averages. Students must have completed at least 54 credits at RWU to be eligible to receive these honors. 

Honors Tassels & Name Cards for Commencement 

  • Students’ name cards will be available for pickup in the Field House the morning of commencement, beginning at 8:00am.   
  • Students that have earned Latin Honors will be given an honors tassel when they pick up their name cards.   
  • It is extremely important that students that have earned Latin Honors pickup their name cards in the Field House prior to the start of the main commencement ceremony as honors tassels will not be available at any other location. 

Honors

Students’ honors will be calculated based on their cumulative GPAs at the end of their final semester.  Please see the “Graduation with Honors” section under Academic Regulations and Policies in the Academic Catalog (click HERE) for questions regarding the calculation of honors. Honors tassels will be distributed by the Registrar’s Office. 

Questions regarding Honors tassels? Contact the Registrar's Office HERE.

All School of Law graduates are invited to participate in the Main Roger Williams University Commencement Ceremony. This campus-wide celebration will be followed by a School of Law specific ceremony.

Law students are also invited to a special President’s Reception, more information to come.

Please note that you are eligible to apply as the Commencement National Anthem singer as well as the Graduate Student Speaker, see expandable sections for more details.

Fire Regulations

Fire regulations prohibit anyone from standing in the aisles under the tent. All egress paths must remain free and clear of obstructions.

Prohibited Items

Large bags, balloons, signs, noisemakers, confetti, bullhorns, alcohol, and any other object and/or substance that would prove disruptive to your fellow guests will NOT be allowed at any ceremony.

Pets

Only service animals specifically trained to assist a person with a disability are permitted at Commencement.  The service animal must wear its credentials.  No pets are allowed.

There will be 2 Commencement student speakers this year!

  • Undergraduate Student Speaker - undergrad & University College students can apply for this 
  • Graduate Student Speaker - Graduate and Law students can apply for this
  • Speeches should be no longer than 3 minutes 
  • An email with more information will come from Doctor Kings office early in the Spring Semester 

The gates to the Athletic Field where the Main Commencement Ceremony takes place open at 7:00 AM. It is recommended that guests are in their seats by 8:30 AM if they would like to be seated before the processional enters the field. While we encourage guests to arrive early, no one is allowed onto the field before 7:00 AM.

Please, for the courtesy of others, there is no excessive seat saving.

Please note that the ceremony does take place outdoors on the main athletic field with no tent.  We urge all guests to be prepared and dress accordingly for the weather.

Please plan to arrive early. Graduates living on campus must park in the parking garage only. Guests and graduates arriving from off campus must enter through the North Campus Access road and will be directed by Public Safety to appropriate parking lots. If you are entering campus via Metacom Ave you will be directed to park at Mt. Hope Farm. Public Safety will be present to direct guests to the appropriate lot. 

Handicapped Parking

Every parking lot on campus has designated accessible parking spaces.  Public Safety will allow curbside drop off for those needing special assistance to attend the main Commencement Ceremony. The drop off point will be located at the circle drive between the Law School and Performing Arts Center. Guests should enter the campus through the north Campus entrance. Guests will be dropped off and then the driver will be directed to the general parking.   

There are ample handicap parking spots in every parking lot on campus for guests requiring those needs. 

This year we are excited to announce that we will have 6, 6 passenger golf carts dedicated to helping folks get around campus. 

Please reference the Campus Parking map HERE.

All University College students will participate in the Main Commencement Ceremony alongside undergraduate, graduate and law students. You will process for your degree in your respective school ceremony - location and time to be announced.

Be sure to check your contact information in Roger Central to ensure your diploma is mailed to the correct address!

University College students are invited to a reception with President Miaoulis and his wife, Heidi Maes - more information to come.

Please note that you are eligible to apply as the Commencement National Anthem singer as well as the Undergraduate Student Speaker, see expandable sections for more details.