Undergraduate Students

Gather information about degree applications, cap and gowns, details about the day of commencement and more.

Those students intending to graduate in May 2020 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 on the Registrar's website HERE.

Students who complete degree requirements in the Winter Intersession graduate in May. If you previously applied to graduate at the end of the Spring 2019 semester and find that your plans have changed, please notify the Registrar's Office immediately at 254-3151, or via email at graduationcoordinator@rwu.edu, and they will correct your graduation date.

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, 2019. Anything received after that date may not be included in the printed program because of print deadlines.

All graduates should check Roger Central User Options-User Profile for 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.

Regalia Distribution

Graduates Caps & Gowns (Regalia) are distributed through the Bookstore in Lower Commons. The Bookstore will start to distribute regalia in April.  You must be on the approved graduation list from the Registrar’s office to pick up your regalia. Students who owe the University 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.  The Bookstore will then continue to distribute caps and gowns EVERY day from the start of the Countdown to Commencement Week (April 20-24) up until the day of Commencement, Friday, May 15.



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).

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.


Choose from seven (7) styles of diploma frames to display your degree. Diploma frames are displayed in the Bookstore and on their website HERE.

Rehearsal – Thursday, May 14, 2020

At 12:00 p.m., there will be a mandatory rehearsal in the Campus Recreation Center Fieldhouse for all graduates participating in the ceremony on Saturday. Important instructions will be given at this rehearsal, including how you will process on the field, and how you will proceed to your school ceremony afterwards. 

Commencement Day - Saturday, May 16, 2020

8:00 a.m. -- Graduates must be in the Fieldhouse
8:30 a.m. -- Instructions begin
8:50 a.m. -- The procession will begin out of the Fieldhouse. 
9:30 a.m. -- The Main Ceremony begins and will take approximately one hour.

Graduates who arrive late will not be allowed to join the ceremony.

Phase I - Main Ceremony

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

The RWU Undergraduate Main Ceremony includes all schools and will take place on the Main Athletic Field on the Bristol Campus.  The ceremony will include the Academic Procession, the awarding of honorary degrees, the Keynote Commencement address, student address and the granting of degrees. Tickets are not required.

For those that cannot attend in person, the ceremony will be live streamed HERE on Commencement day. 

Please note that the main 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. Comfortable shoes and flats are recommended.

Phase II - School Ceremonies

Phase II of Commencement consists of individual school ceremonies and lunch taking place in two waves immediately following the Main Ceremony. At these individual school ceremonies, the graduates' names are announced and students are individually recognized. Please note the time gaps between ceremonies allow for: processionals/recessionals at ceremony sites; navigating shuttles and foot traffic; eating lunch; graduates/faculty reporting for line-up 30 minutes prior to their individual school ceremonies; and friend/family/faculty meet-ups.

Phase II: Wave 1

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (followed by lunch):
(11:00 am – Students & Faculty report to their designated meet-up locations)

School of Social and Natural Sciences 
Location: Soccer Field tent

School of Humanities, Arts & Education
Location: Global Heritage Hall Tent

School of Architecture, Art & Historic Preservation 
Location: Quad Tent

University College 
Location: Gymnasium


Phase II: Wave 2

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (preceded by lunch)
(1:00 pm – Students & Faculty report to their designated meet-up locations)

Gabelli School of Business
Location: Soccer Field Tent

School of Justice Studies
Location: Global Heritage Hall Tent

School of Engineering, Computing & Construction Management
Location: Quad Tent



All students, faculty, and platform parties MUST report to their meetup location 30 minutes prior to their school ceremony.

Ceremony LocationMeetup Locations
Soccer Field TentSouth Soccer Field Green
Global Heritage Hall TentGHH Atrium
Quad TentLibrary Lobby
GymnasiumLaw School Bistro


Individual School Ceremonies:


Each student will receive instructions on their individual school ceremony prior to commencement. 

Graduates may invite as many guests as they would like to Commencement; no tickets are required. Please note that the Main Ceremony does take place outdoors on the main athletic field with no tent rain or shine.  We urge all guests to be prepared and dress accordingly for the weather. Comfortable shoes and flats are recommended.


We ask all students to complete a Commencement RSVP form HERE by May 1, 2020.  This form gives you the opportunity to tell us what ceremonies you will be attending, how you'd like your name pronounced, and if you need any other special needs for Commencement Day.

Lunch will be provided starting at 11:00 am through 2:30 pm at different locations on campus. Students and guests may choose to eat lunch at these locations, or take their lunch to go and eat anywhere on campus!  Each graduating student will receive three (3) complimentary lunch tickets upon completing their senior survey.  Additional lunch tickets ($9.00/per lunch ticket) will be available to purchase online for all guests on the website soon! Students will receive an email when ticket sales are open!

Coffee and Beverage stations will be located at the C-Store, Hawk's Nest, Lower Commons, and the Global cafe for anyone wishing to purchase a beverage throughout the day.

Out of respect for your fellow graduates and to make a memorable day for all, the University asks that graduates follow these guidelines:

  • Remain in your seats until the recessional begins.
  • Be considerate with your applause when names of classmates are read, so that all names are heard.
  • Refrain from bringing confetti, balloons and noisemakers.
  • Silence your phone or put it on vibrate.

Also, possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited during the Commencement Ceremonies. We appreciate your cooperation.


The Main Ceremony will take place, rain or shine, with no tent.  Please be prepared for what the weather may bring and dress accordingly. We highly encourage graduates and guests to wear flats, as you'll be walking on grass.  Heels are highly discouraged. Concerning the cap and gown:

  • After picking up your hood & gown from the Bookstore prior to Commencement, we suggest hanging it in your closet.  You may need to steam it prior to Commencement day.
  • The gown should be worn closed in front.
  • The cap should be worn flat or cocked slightly forward. The inside of the crown of the cap usually has a mark indicating which point is the front of the cap. That point should face forward when the cap is worn.
  • The tassel is worn on the right until the degree has been conferred, at which time it is flipped to the left side.

Tassels and Cords

Graduates who are receiving tassels or cords from their respective honor societies and other organizations should make sure they 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 enter the Fieldhouse. 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.

Professional Photography

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: www.islandphoto.com or call them at 800.869.0908. 

An additional professional photographer 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 as everyone wants to see their student graduate.

Yearbook photos will take place February 9-13.  Questions regarding the yearbook can be directed to crossingsyearbook@g.rwu.edu

We're here to help you on all Commencement related questions!   

DepartmentQuestion about...Email/WebsitePhone Number
Commencement Office (Special Events Dept.)General Commencement Information (Ceremony information, rehearsal, National Anthem Singer application process, etc.)events@rwu.edu401-254-3166
BookstoreCaps & Gowns, Rings, Frames, Graduation Announcements, Countdown to Commencement Weekwww.rwu.bncollege.com401-254-3036
BursarOutstanding Bills 401-254-3520
DiningCommencement Luncheon & Reservationsscolliton@rwu.edu401-254-3217
Intercultural CenterLavender Graduation, Lavender cordsgporcaro@rwu.edu401-254-3591
Public SafetyAccessibility & Parkingparking@rwu.edu401-254-3703
RegistrarDegree Applications, Eligibility, Graduation List, Name on Diploma, Address Change, Honors Tassels questionsgraduationcoordinator@rwu.edu401-254-3151
Student LifeStudent Commencement Speaker application processsbenevides@rwu.edu401-254-3042
Student Programs & LeadershipCommencement Ball, Commencement Fairclassof2020@g.rwu.edu401-254-3088
 Yearbooks & Senior Portraitscrossingsyearbook@g.rwu.edu