University Commencement

RWU's 2019 Commencement Ceremony for Undergraduate students took place on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Congratulations to all of our graduates!! 

To view the ceremony from Saturday, May 18, please click HERE.

Ceremony Location: Tent on the Main Athletic Field, Bristol, RI 02809

Ceremony Time: 10 a.m.

Graduates must be in the Fieldhouse at 8:15 a.m.  Instructions will begin at 8:30 a.m. The procession will begin at 9 a.m. out of the Fieldhouse. Graduates who arrive late will not be allowed to join the ceremony. Commencement exercises will begin at 10 a.m. and will take approximately two and half-hours.

For those that cannot attend in person, the ceremony will be live streamed on the university website via this link:


Attending Commencement

Transportation & Parking

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Please plan to arrive early.  Graduates living on campus must park in Lot A or the parking garage only. Guests and graduates arriving from off campus must enter through the North Campus road and park in the North Parking Lots (Lots C & D). No parking will be allowed in the lots surrounding the Campus Recreation Center.

Campus shuttles will run throughout the day to transport graduates and their guests to and from the ceremony and receptions.

Commencement Parking Map


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Ceremony Tent Seating

Graduates may invite as many guests as they would like to Commencement, but they must realize seating under the tent is limited to 6 tickets per graduate.  You must have a ticket to sit under the tent. (Babies and children 2 years & younger do not need a ticket. Please visit the Student page for more information on tickets.)

The gates to the field on which the commencement tents are located open at 8:00 a.m. and seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Guests must present their ticket to be allowed access through the gates. It is recommended that guests arrive before 9:00 a.m. and are in their seats no later than 9:15 a.m. if they would like to be seated before the processional enters the tent. While we encourage guests to arrive early, no one is allowed to enter the tent before 8:00 a.m.

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

Overflow Seating

There will be overflow seating in the Campus Recreation Center Gymnasium where the ceremony will be simulcast. Guests may choose to watch the ceremony from here rather than the tent for comfort. No tickets are required for Gymnasium seating.

Security Notice

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Fire Regulations

Fire regulations prohibit any guest to stand on the outskirts of tent. Everyone must be seated. Strollers should be placed along the back of the tent to keep aisles open for egress.

Prohibited Items

No large bags, balloons, signs, noisemakers, confetti, bullhorns, alcohol, and any other object and/or substance that would prove disruptive to your fellow guests will be allowed under the tent.


University policy prohibits bringing pets on campus grounds and in buildings unless it is a certified service animal accompanying their owner. The service animal must wear its credentials.

    School Receptions

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    Informal receptions for each respective school follows the ceremony and we encourage graduates and their guests to attend these gatherings. It is a great opportunity to celebrate with your fellow graduates, faculty and staff. Cupcakes will be served.

    The locations for these receptions will be listed in the commencement program you will receive at the ceremony.


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    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: 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.

    Parent & Family Resources

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    Dining on Campus

    A Jazz Luncheon buffet is held in the Upper Commons following the commencement ceremony and is offered at various seating times from 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. This is a wonderful way to celebrate with fellow RWU graduates and families. Reservations are required and seating is limited; first come, first serve. To reserve a table, and to view pricing information and menus, visit the Dining website HERE. For questions, please contact Stephanie Keith at or 401-254-3217.


    Commencement Flowers Inc., a professional florist, will be on hand before and during the Commencement Ceremony. 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 for more information.


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


    After commencement, it will take time for guests to get to their cars and traffic will be heavy. If making a reservation at a restaurant, we suggest you make your reservation from 2:00 p.m. on to allow ample time for travel. Please feel free to browse a list of recommended local area restaurants HERE.

    Special Accommodations

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    Accommodations for Graduates & Guests with Disabilities or Special Needs

    We offer assisted parking and seating for those graduates or guests with disabilities or special needs.  We will have golf carts to transport guests to and from these reserved lots to the tent, if they choose.  Under the tent, there will be a reserved seating section for those requesting special assistance.  Keep in mind, this section is limited to 2 seats per guest, as we have limited space. Those needing these accommodations must submit their request by completing the online form below by May 1, 2019.  

    Assisted Parking & Seating Request Form

    ASL Interpreting and Real-Time Captioning

    The Commencement ceremony will have ASL Interpreters on stage for duration of the ceremony.  RWU will also have Live Real-time Captioning available. Captions can be accessed on your personal device by visiting the link provided here on the day of commencement.