Class of 2021 Commencement Celebrations

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 on your Commencement! We are proud of your achievements and recognize your hard work, dedication and patience during the past year.  Commencement is a day our RWU community looks forward to every year. It is a day we celebrate our students’ accomplishments and share the joy as we mark the closure of their RWU journey and wish them well as they venture into their new endeavors.

On Saturday, May 22, RWU invites all undergraduate and graduate students matriculating this year to participate in the in-person Grad Walk. To maintain the health and safety of our graduates, faculty, staff and community, the Commencement ceremony will take place virtually. The virtual ceremony will highlight the Keynote Speaker, student National Anthem Singer and Student Commencement Speaker. Regardless of whether you will be able to join us in person or remotely, every undergraduate and graduate student from the Class of 2021 will have their name read and be honored as they “process” across the stage. All undergraduate and graduate students matriculating this year are invited to participate in the in-person Grad Walk. 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. Family and friends will be invited to watch a live broadcast of the Grad Walk.

We understand these plans are not ideal for students and their families, but we are determined to give our students a day that is theirs; a day that is purely student focused as we mark their achievement individually and still include family and friends virtually.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Grad Walk

  • The RWU Class of 2021 commencement ceremony will include a livestream of their Grad Walk on Saturday, May 22, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Eligible graduates and undergraduates will be invited to participate in a Grad Walk across a celebratory stage at a scheduled time in the Campus Recreation Center on the Bristol Campus.
  • Pre-registration will be required. Eligible students will receive an email to register them and their two (2) guests.
  • The graduate will receive a diploma cover, a printed Commencement Program, have their name read, and an individual professional photograph taken.

Grad Walk Schedule

2021 Grad Walk Schedule

Grad Walk Registration:

  • Eligible graduates will receive an email from Marching Order to register for a 15 minute grad walk time slot in their school's scheduled time slot.  Please keep an eye on your inbox!
  • Eligible graduates MUST register by May 6 through Marching Order to confirm your slot.  If you don't meet eligibility requirements until AFTER May 6, the Commencement Office will assist with assigning you a slot.
  • After you register via Marching Order, you will receive a unique QR code that will act as your ticket and name card for Commencement Day.
  • On the day of the Commencement Grad Walk students and their two (2) guests MUST check-in TOGETHER 15 minutes prior to their scheduled grad walk time slot.  This allows staff to check you and your two guests in, confirm negative test results of you and your guests, and line you up at your Grad Walk location.

Safety Measures

Under the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and the 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.
  • Students, guests and staff will be socially distanced at all times.
  • Students, guests and staff will be required to wear masks at all times.
  • Please view the COVID policy below regarding testing for students, guests and staff.

Please be advised that RWU will continue to monitor the State of Rhode Island COVID-19 restrictions, and be prepared to tighten protocols if necessary. Any updates will be communicated to students via email and posted on this website.

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.  If you cannot show proof of a negative COVID test, you may not enter the building and you cannot participate. 

Vaccination cards are NOT accepted in lieu of a negative COVID test, per the State of Rhode Island.  If you are vaccinated, you still must have proof of a negative COVID test taken 72 hours prior. 

Please reference your group below for further testing details:

STUDENTS:

Graduating students should continue their twice weekly COVID testing on campus. All seniors who are in our twice a week testing plan will be covered if they test on Tuesday (for the President’s Graduation reception Wednesday) and on Thursday (before the Saturday ceremony).  Graduates that test positive will NOT be allowed to participate in the Grad Walk and will need to enter quarantine, per University policies.

REMOTE STUDENTS: 

Students that are remote this semester and would like to test on campus, will need to enter the campus testing program two (2) weeks prior to Commencement and have a COVID test taken72 hours prior. If you are a remote senior and would like this option, you must notify events@rwu.edu by May 3 (with your name, student ID, and contact info) so you can be entered into the system.

If testing off site, you need to test 72 hours prior to the day and show proof of a negative COVID test result before participating in the Grad Walk.  

GUESTS:

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.

STAFF:

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.

MASKS

All staff, students, guests, and vendors MUST wear a mask at all times when on campus. 

SOCIAL DISTANCING

All staff, students and guests MUST practice social distancing directed by the State of Rhode Island.  Stay at least six (6) feet from people outside the same household.  There can be no gathering of groups

RWU must adhere to all rules set forth by the State of Rhode Island regarding COVID.  All of the above COVID protocols and procedures above will be strictly enforced.

Graduates

  • Please use the this website as your main resource for information, as it will be updated with all the necessary information you need on an ongoing basis.
  • Eligible graduates will always receive an email from the Commencement Office when there are any updates or new information to share.
  • Eligible graduates will have an opportunity to create an individual frame and slide for the grad walk live-stream and final video when they register for the Grad Walk via Marching Order. Graduates will receive an email directly from Marching Order to register themselves and two (2) guests for their grad walk.*
  • Eligible graduates MUST register by May 6 through Marching Order to secure your slot.  If you don't meet eligibility requirements until AFTER May 6, the Commencement Office will assist with assigning you a slot.
  • Graduates who are unable or choose not to participate in the Grad Walk will still need to register online as we need to account for all those who will be on campus that day. These graduates who do not participate physically in the Grad Walk will have an opportunity to provide information for the final Commencement video.

*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.

IMPORTANT:  DAY-OF GRAD WALK

  • Graduates, with their two (2) guests, must check-in TOGETHER 15-minutes prior to their scheduled time slot.
  • If graduates arrive late for their time slot, staff will work them in at the end of their school's scheduled time. 

Special Accommodations

Eligible graduates that require special accommodations to participate in the Grad Walk on Saturday should email events@rwu.edu prior to May 1st, 2021.

  • If students are eligible to graduate, they will receive an official email from the Registrar's Office confirming their eligibility.  
  • Only students eligible to graduate per the Registrar's office will be able to register for the Grad Walk.

Questions regarding graduation eligibility should be directed to the Registrar's Office HERE.

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.  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 in order to pick up their regalia. 

TO ORDER YOUR CAP & GOWN TO BE SHIPPED TO YOUR HOME ADDRESS CLICK HERE.

TO PICK UP YOUR REGALIA FROM THE BRISTOL CAMPUS BOOKSTORE:  You will need to bring your RWU Student ID. Please be sure to wear your mask while in the store. Additionally, we are still limited to 15 people in the store at once.

Bookstore Hours: Monday/Tuesday 9a-5p; Wednesday-Friday 9a-4p; Saturday 10a-2p.

Questions regarding Caps & Gowns?  Contact the Bookstore HERE.

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

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.

During the Grad Walk, graduates will receive their diploma cover. They do not receive their actual diploma at Commencement. The physical diploma is mailed to the graduate after commencement via the Registrar’s Office.

Questions regarding your diploma?  Please contact the Registrar's Office HERE.

Graduating students are encouraged to apply to sing the National Anthem for their Commencement Day! 

Requirements:

  • Applicants must be cleared to graduate by the Registrar's Office to be eligible for selection. 
  • Attach your current resume, including prior singing/performance experience 
  • Be available the last week of April to audition via Zoom for the selection committee.
  • The selected singer will record the National Anthem on campus to be a part of the virtual Commencement Program.

NATIONAL ANTHEM SINGER APPLICATION

The deadline to submit applications is Monday, April 19, 2021 by 4:30 p.m.  

Questions?  Contact events@rwu.edu

  • 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.
  • 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 view.
  • There will be opportunities for family to zoom-in for their graduates' specific scheduled walk on stage, in addition to the live-stream.  More details to come soon.
  • After Commencement, a final, polished video will be posted on our website that will include all pre-recorded segments and the live recordings.

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 students and their 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.

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 AnnouncementsBookstorewww.rwu.bncollege.com401-254-3036
Outstanding BillsBursar 401-254-3520
Lavender GraduationIntercultural Centergporcaro@rwu.edu401-254-3591
Degree Applications, Graduation eligibility, Diploma questions, Address Change, Honors TasselsRegistrargraduationcoordinator@rwu.edu401-254-3151
Student Commencement Speaker ApplicationStudent Lifesbenevides@rwu.edu401-254-3042
Senior Events, Commencement Fair, Senior PortraitsStudent Programs & Leadershipclassof2021@g.rwu.edu401-254-3088