Class of 2020 Commencement Celebrations
The RWU community is thrilled at the chance to bring our 2020 graduates back to campus for their very own Commencement celebration! We have worked very hard to design the special event that you so deserve and we weren’t able to provide for you last year. This return-to-campus weekend of celebration and ceremony will honor your accomplishments and bring us all together in the spirit of community.
Class of 2020 Celebration Schedule*
|Saturday, May 22, 2021|
President's Class of 2020 Reception
(Graduates only. No guests. Registration required.)
|Upper Commons||6:00- 8:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, May 23, 2021|
Class of 2020 Grad Walk
Recreation Center, Bristol Campus
Class of 2020 Brunch: Co-Sponsored by the Commencement Office and Alumni Association
|Upper Commons||10:00 a.m.|
Sunday, May 23, 2021
The pre-recorded 2021 Commencement Speaking program will be shared on the website Saturday, May 22 for all to view at their leisure.
Grad Walk Schedule
GRAD WALK LIVE STREAM LINK:
The live stream link will go live at 8:30 a.m. on the day-of Commencement, Sunday, May 23.
2020 Grad Walk Live Stream CLICK HERE
- If graduates made a slide and are NOT attending the Grad Walk, those slides will be shown on the live stream link after the last in-person walk. Only graduates who made a slide will be shown.
Grad Walk Information Guide
All information regarding the grad walk, what to expect for you and your guests and how to prepare is in a helpful guide HERE. This was also emailed to the Class of 2020.
Under the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and Rhode Island Department of Health, all safety protocols will be followed:
- Surfaces will be sanitized between each school grad walk.
- Hand sanitizers will be available throughout the building.
- Graduates, guests, and staff will always be socially distanced.
- Graduates, guests, and staff will be required to wear masks. Even though the CDC has announced new mask guidelines, masks are required on the RWU campus, per University policy.
- Graduates who plan to participate in any activities for the Class of 2020 on Saturday, May 22 or Sunday May 23, 2021 will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID test result 72 hours prior to arrival. Guests who plan to join their graduate for the Grad Walk must also provide proof of a negative COVID test result taken 72 hours prior to arrival. Those graduates and guests unable to provide proof of a negative test result will not be allowed on campus or in the residence halls. (See full COVID testing policies below.)
Please see further detailed information below:
COVID TESTING POLICY:
Every person stepping foot on campus must be tested 72 hours prior to arrival and have proof of a negative COVID test to enter the building and participate in the Grad Walk. BOTH PCR and Rapid test results are acceptable. If you cannot show proof of a negative COVID test, you may not enter the building and you cannot participate.
Please click HERE to go to the Rhode Island COVID website for testing locations.
Vaccination cards are NOT accepted in lieu of a negative COVID test, per the State of Rhode Island. All attendees for commencement, event those that have received a vaccination, must provide a negative test result of a recent COVID test taken 72 hours prior in order to participate in the event. This is a requirement from the State of Rhode Island for our event.
Please reference your group below for further testing details:
ALL GRADUATES & GUESTS:
ALL graduates and guests are required to have a COVID test taken 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus and MUST show proof of a negative test result before entering the Grad Walk. Any graduate or guest who cannot show proof of a negative test result will be refused entry. Guests who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 still have to take a test and show proof of a negative result, per the State of Rhode Island.
Any graduate attending the Presidential event on Saturday, May 22, must show proof a negative COVID test prior to that event.
ALL staff working and volunteering for Commencement Saturday and Sunday must continue in the campus testing program, testing twice a week. We remind staff to schedule their second weekly test Wednesday/Thursday of Commencement week. If an employee tests positive, they cannot come to work/campus and we ask they let us know they cannot work their shift in advance. If any employee that is scheduled to work commencement day and does not feel well the day of, they will be asked NOT to come to campus and notify us in advance.
All staff, students, guests, and vendors MUST wear a mask at all times when on campus. Even though the CDC has announced new mask guidelines, masks are still required on the RWU Campus, per University policy.
All staff, students and guests MUST practice social distancing directed by the State of Rhode Island. Stay at least three (3) feet from people outside the same household. There can be no gathering of groups
GRAD WALK ARRIVAL
- Please follow signage to enter campus from the North entrance (by the athletic fields). Bristol Police Department and RWU Public Safety will be directing traffic.
- All graduates and guests should park in Lot D, by the North Campus Residence Halls. Handicap guests can park in any handicap spot on campus.
- If you arrive to campus extremely early to avoid traffic, we understand. We just ask that you remain in your car until it’s time to report for your check-in.
- PROHIBITED ITEMS: Balloons, air horns, noise makers, weapons, obstructive signs, or any other obtrusive items are NOT allowed at or during the Grad Walk and will be confiscated at the door. Please be respectful of all graduates and guests.
- MOBILE PHONES: During the Grad Walk, we ask all graduates, guests, and staff to silence their mobile phones so every Graduate’s name can be heard.
GRAD WALK CHECK-IN
Location: Rec Center Vestibule (main entrance)
- There is only ONE entrance for the Grad Walk, the Rec Center main entrance.. Any person needing the handicap entrance should use the ramp into the Rec Center.
- Graduates should arrive on campus dressed in their regalia and ready to go.
- Graduates and their 2 guests MUST check-in together. Please plan accordingly.
- Graduates and their 2 guests need to check-in together at the Grad Walk Check-in table 15-minutes prior to the graduate’s schedule time slot.
- Ex. If you signed up for a 9:45 a.m. time slot, you should be checking in at 9:30 a.m. in the Rec Center.
- Please don’t bring anything to the Grad Walk that you are not willing to carry throughout your Grad Walk. There will be no place to store or place bags, purses, personal belongings, etc.
GRAD WALK PROCESS
- The Graduate and their 2 guests must remain in their pod throughout the Grad Walk, with the exception of the stage cross.
- After check-in, the graduate and their 2 guests will stay in their pod and proceed down the main ramp inside the Rec Center.
- At the end of the ramp, to the Fieldhouse.
- In the Fieldhouse, volunteers will keep each pod in a socially distanced line.
- As you approach the staging area, the graduate and their 2 guests will be separated into two lines, (Graduate line and a Guest line) staying parallel with each other.
- The guest line and the graduate line will move forward as directed by staff/volunteers.
- When it’s time, the graduate will be directed by staff to the right of the stage, and their two guests will be directed to the left of the stage.
- The Graduate will pick up a diploma cover from the Registrar’s table.
- The Graduate will hand their Grad Pass to a staff member to be scanned.
- The Graduate will wait for a cue from staff to step up on stage.
- The Graduate’s name will be read as they walk to a marked spot on stage.
- The Graduate will stand on the mark, remove their mask, hold their diploma cover for their official graduation photo.
- After the photo, the graduate will be directed to exit the stage for another photo in front of the green screen off-stage.
- After the second photo, the graduate will put their mask back on, hand the diploma cover back to a staff member, and be congratulated by their Dean, and rejoin their 2 guests.
- The graduate and their 2 guests will exit the Grad Walk location, either out the back ramp of the Fieldhouse.
- During the graduate’s cross and photo op on stage, their two guests will be directed to a mark on the left side of the stage to stand so they can have optimal view of the stage to take photos and see their graduate have their celebratory moment.
- Friends and family viewing the livestream of the stage cross, will see their graduate in live view framed with a lower third banner on the screen, including their name, degree and honors. They will hear the graduate’s name read, as well.
- The guests will reunite with their graduate after their second photo op off stage.
- The Graduate and their two guests will be given two official Commencement program books before they leave as a keepsake.
- The Grad Walk location will have a livestream link on the RWU website for all to view. The links will be go live on the DAY OF COMMENCEMENT.
- We ask graduates and their two guests to exit the building after their grad walk so we can make sure each graduate gets their time on stage for their registered time slot.
Graduates from the Class of 2020 should have already received their diploma and diploma cover in the mail. If you did not, please contact the Registrar’s OfficeHERE.
- To maintain the health and safety of our community, and to meet the restrictions of the State of Rhode Island, graduates will be allowed to bring no more than two guests to watch their processional, and then will immediately depart campus to view the remainder of the ceremony remotely.
- For the health and safety of our campus community, graduates, family and friends, everyone must wear a mask at all times on campus (indoors and outside) and provide proof of a negative Covid test taken 72 hours prior to the day. All guests are required to have a COVID test taken 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus and MUST show proof of a negative test result before entering the Grad Walk. Any guest who cannot show proof of a negative test result will be refused entry. Guests who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 still have to take a test and show proof of a negative result, per the State of Rhode Island. (Please reference COVID protocol section above.)
- The virtual commencement ceremony, which will highlight the Keynote speaker, the student commencement speaker and the student National Anthem singer will be pre-recorded and posted on the Commencement website to view.
- The Grad Walk will be live-streamed on RWU’s Commencement website for family and friends to have a front row view of their student on stage.
- After Commencement, a final, polished video will be posted on our website that will include all pre-recorded segments and the live recordings.
All information regarding the grad walk, what to expect for you and your guests and how to prepare is in a helpful guide HERE.
GRAD WALK PREPARATION
- Print out your Grad Pass and bring it with you to the Grad Walk for check-in.
- Please arrive dressed in your regalia, ready to go for your Grad Walk.
- Masks are required of all graduates, guests, staff, and volunteers. (The State of Rhode Island still mandates masks.)
- Check-in with your 2 guests 15 minutes prior to your scheduled Grad Walk time slot. YOU MUST CHECK-IN WITH YOUR 2 GUESTS.
- Please don’t bring anything to the Grad Walk with you that you are not willing to carry throughout your Grad Walk. There will be no place to store or place bags, purses, etc.
- Bags will be checked by security before entering the building.
- Don’t worry if you lost or forgot a piece of your regalia on that day. The Bookstore will be on-site, outside the Rec Center to assist any graduate with last minute needs before they enter the Rec Center.
- Yes, you can decorate your cap for your Grad Walk! It is yours to keep. Please be mindful and respectful in your decorations.
*Graduates are allowed to bring two (2) guests ONLY. There are NO exceptions to this rule. Please review COVID testing policies for you and your guests.
VIRTUAL GRADUATES (Graduates NOT participating in the Grad Walk):
- Graduates who are unable or who have chosen notto participate in the Grad Walk, will be featured on the live stream on Sunday, May 23, 2021 IF they created a slide via Marching Order.
- All Graduates had an opportunity to create a slide via Marching Order. If you forgot to make a slide, you have one last chance! Send an email to email@example.com FRIDAY, MAY 14TH4:00 P.M.
- Graduates not participating in the Grad Walk will be mailed two official Commencement Program books after Commencement.
- The Virtual Commencement Speaking Program, the live stream of the Grad Walks, and the graduate slides will be stitched into a complete video after Commencement and shared on the website in June.
- All graduates, whether remote or in-person, can share their personal Grad Slide (if they created one) on social media to celebrate their Commencement.
Graduates Special Accommodations
Eligible graduates that require special accommodations to participate in the Grad Walk on Saturday should email firstname.lastname@example.org prior to May 1st, 2021.
Graduates and guests should park in Lot D of campus. Public Safety will be present to direct guests to the appropriate lot.
There are ample handicap parking spots in every parking lot on campus for guests requiring those needs.
Please reference the Campus Parking map HERE.
We ask guests to arrive for their time slot accordingly. We understand guests want to beat the traffic and may arrive too early for their time slot. If you arrive to campus too far in advance of your scheduled time slot, please stay in your car until it's time to check-in. We cannot have groups and gatherings outside the Recreation Center. We appreciate your cooperation.
Graduates who participate in the Grad Walk will have their official stage photo taken by Island Photography, as well a second photo off stage.
The photo op after stepping off stage is in front of a green screen, which allows the graduate to choose the image from campus behind them. This will be done all via Island Photography.
Graduates will receive communications directly from Island Photography AFTER Commencement with instructions on how graduates can order prints of their photos.
Other professional photographers will be on site for the Grad Walk and those photos will be shared on the Commencement website after Commencement for graduates and families to view and save. Please allow a few weeks for these to be posted.
If you did not obtain your regalia last spring, you will have an opportunity to order your regalia online and have shipped directly to you. If you lost your regalia from last spring, and/or it is damaged, the graduate is responsible for purchasing their own replacement.
- Graduates participating in the Grad Walk will need to arrive for their grad walk dressed and ready to go in their regalia.
- ONLINE ORDERING IS NOW CLOSED DUE TO SHIPPING TIMES. You'll need to pick-up your regalia in person at the Bookstore or make arrangements with them. (Email link at the bottom of this section.)
Bookstore Hours: Monday/Tuesday 9a-5p; Wednesday-Friday 9a-4p; Saturday 10a-2p.
FAQ: Can I decorate my cap? YES! Your cap is yours to keep. We kindly ask that you be mindful and respectful in your decorations.
Questions regarding cap & gown? Contact the Bookstore HERE.
Cords and/or stoles are distributed by the respective program or department. Please contact your advisor for details on specific cords if you did not receive them last spring.
Honor tassels were mailed with the diploma cover to the graduates homes this past fall. If you did not receive yours, please contact the Registrar's office HERE.
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED FOR THE RESIDENCE HALLS.
The Department of Residential Life and Conferences are able to offer limited housing at Baypoint to graduates who are in need of a place to stay Saturday night. Those interested in staying at Baypoint on Saturday (May 22, 2021) night MUST request this in the Grad Walk registration from Marching Order.
IMPORTANT: Due to occupancy limitations in an effort to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19, the amount of beds available for the Class of 2020 will be limited. ONLY RWU alumni from the Class of 2020 can register to stay in the residence halls. No outside guests are allowed due to spacing limitations. All requests must be made on or before May 6th. Requests made on or before May 6th will receive a housing questionnaire from the Department of Conferences which will be due on May 4th. Requests will be processed at a first come, first serve basis- additional priorities will be given to students who have a confirmed roommate also staying for the night. Students will be notified no later than May 19th if they have housing for the night.”
Please take note of the accommodations: The Department of Conferences will only be able to provide the following for your overnight stay and ask alumni to bring the following:
RWU Housing will provide: soap, toilet paper and trash receptacle.
Alumni must bring: sheets (size full or twin), pillow, blankets and towels.
Please visit the University's Accommodations page for a full list of hotels and bed & breakfasts in the area.
Available Hotel Room Blocks under Roger Williams University Commencement:
Bristol Harbor Inn
259 Thames Street, Bristol RI, 02809
213 Taunton Ave, Seekonk MA, 02771
The 2020 Commencement Speaking program is pre-recorded and will be posted on the Commencement website on Sunday, May 23, 2021 for all to view. The Commencement Speaking program can be viewed at anytime the viewer wishes.
The virtual Commencement Speaking Program will include:
- President Miaoulis
- Chairman Tim Baxter
- Honorary Degree Recipients
- RWU Alumni Association President Greeting
- Special remarks from the Dean’s
- A Grad Walk is a constant, moving line of graduates processing across a celebratory stage.
- The Grad Walk allows each graduate to step on stage, have their name read, and an official graduation photo be taken.
- There is no sit down ceremony or speaking portion during the Grad Walk.
- The Grad Walk allows thousands of students and their guests to each have their celebratory moment in-person to mark this special occasion.
- The Grad Walk must continue to move to stay on schedule for each graduate.
- Out of respect for your fellow graduating Hawks, please be prepared for your Grad Walk, check-in 15 minutes prior to your time slot, and be dressed and ready to go before you enter the Rec Center.