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RISD 2017

Saturday, June 3 | 10:30 am
Rhode Island Convention Center
One Sabin Street
Providence, RI

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Caps + Gowns

Students need to reserve their caps and gowns online. A link was sent out in early March, with a reservation deadline of April 28. During the week leading up to Commencement, students can pick up their cap and gown at the RISD Store.


Graduating students received an email in early March with information about reserving tickets for Commencement.

Students can reserve up to six tickets, with the option of requesting more. Based on demand, extra tickets will be allocated closer to the time of the event. (Note that graduating students do not need tickets for themselves.)

Graduates may pick up tickets at Carr Haus the week leading up to Commencement. Each guest must have a ticket to get into the ceremony, so tickets must be picked up ahead of time.

Seating is open and available on a first-come, first-served basis. If guests require special seating (for the elderly, disabled or hearing impaired, for example), it can be requested at the time of the reservation. Guests can also contact us at commencement@risd.edu to arrange for special seating.

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For Families

If you’re coming to RISD from out of state or out of the country, you’ll need to consider various transportation options, which are spelled out below. It’s also important to book a place to stay as early as possible since hotels in and around Providence tend to fill quickly.

For those unfamiliar with campus, RISD is located just off of I‑95 and I‑195 in the College Hill neighborhood of Providence. Our official address is Two College Street.

Featured Hotels

Providence Hilton

21 Atwells Avenue
Providence, RI 02903
401 709-0335

Call 1 800 HILTONS and reference RISD Commencement for a special group rate. Rooms are limited and must be booked prior to April 3.

Renaissance Providence Downtown

5 Avenue of the Arts
Providence, RI 02903
866 630-0704

Book here or call 866 630-0704 for a special rate. Please use RISD Graduation Block when booking your stay.

The Dean Hotel

122 Fountain Street
Providence, RI 02903
401 455-DEAN

The Hotel Providence

311 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903
401 861-8000

To book, call 401 861-8000 and reference RISD Commencement Room Block for a special rate.

The Marriott—Providence Downtown

One Orms Street
Providence, RI 02904
866 807-2171

Providence Courtyard by Marriott

32 Exchange Terrace
Providence, RI 02903
401 272-1191

The Hampton Inn & Suites

58 Weybosset Street
Providence, RI 02903
401 608-3500

Omni Providence Hotel

One West Exchange Street
Providence, RI 02903
800 843-6664

To book, call 800 THE-OMNI and reference RISD Commencement Room Block for a special rate.

Additional Providence Hotels

Ramada Inn

213 Taunton Avenue
Seekonk, MA 02771
508 336-8700

Wyndham Garden Providence

220 India Street
Providence, RI 02903
877 999-3223

The Providence Biltmore

11 Dorrance Street
Providence, RI 02903
401 421–0700



If you are planning to arrive in Providence by train, you can find schedules and fares at amtrak.com or 1 800 USA-RAIL (1 800 872-7245). Information concerning service between Providence and Boston on the Attleboro/Stoughton Line can be found at mbta.com and 1 800 392-6100.


Providence is about a 15-minute cab ride from T.F. Green Airport (PVD) in Warwick, RI. You can find information on flights at pvdairport.com. Airport information: 1 888 268-7222; in Rhode Island: 401 737-8222.

Once you are at the airport, you can take the shuttle to your hotel.

If you are flying into Logan International Airport in Boston, MA (BOS), you can find flight information at massport.com/logan and 1 800 23-LOGAN. Logan is about an hour’s drive from Providence, depending on traffic.


Peter Pan bus company offers daily express service to Logan Airport in Boston and T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, RI, as well as to major metro areas such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Schedules are available online or by calling 1 888 751-8800 (toll-free) or locally, 401 751-8800.

Greyhound bus schedules and fares are available online or by calling 1 800 229-9424, +1 402 330-8552 (if you’re calling from abroad without toll-free access), 1 800 752-4841 (for assistance for passengers with disabilities) or 1 800 345-3109 (TDD).

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) offers local bus service for easy and inexpensive transportation within Rhode Island, including Providence/Newport ferries.


For information and schedules for Block Island ferry service from Point Judith and Newport, RI and New London, CT, follow this link: blockislandferry.com. Schedules vary seasonally.

For Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island ferry service from Woods Hole, MA; Hyannis, MA; and New Bedford, MA, follow this link: islandferry.com. Schedules vary seasonally.

Rental cars

Alamo | 800 651-1223

Avis | 800 633-3469

Budget | 800 218-7992


Dollar | 800 800-4000

Hertz | 800 704-4473

National | 800 222-9058

Thrifty | 800 847-4389

Frequently asked questions

What time should guests arrive for the ceremony?

Doors open at 9:30 am, and we anticipate a crowd of 4,500 people on the day of the event. Guests will need general admission tickets to enter the convention hall. Seating will be available solely on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will close at 10:15 am for approximately 15 minutes as the stage party and graduating students proceed into the hall. Guests should plan to arrive prior to 10:15 am or prepare to wait until the doors reopen at approximately 10:30 am.

Where should they park?

Paid parking is available in a garage attached to the Rhode Island Convention Center. For other options visit parkdowntownprovidence.com.

Will accommodations be made for elderly and disabled guests?

Yes. Graduating students can provide information about the needs of their guests when reserving tickets for the ceremony. People planning to attend may also contact Student Affairs at commencement@risd.edu or 401 454–6600 well in advance for information on entry and seating arrangements. The Convention Center is an accessible building, and the ceremony takes place in a single-level convention hall (no stairs). Accessible parking spots are available in the Convention Center garage.

Guests with mobility needs requiring shuttle service from campus to receptions on Friday, June 2 or the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 3 should call RISD Rides at 401 427-6915. RISD Rides drivers are professionally licensed chauffeurs who have undergone background checks by First Transit. RISD Rides drivers wear a First Transit uniform and a photo badge that you may ask to see at any time.

How long does the ceremony usually last?

The procession, speeches, awards presentations and other pomp and circumstance generally take more than two hours. Even though the Class of 2017 now numbers more than 700, RISD still prefers to read the name of each individual graduate as they walk across the stage. Graduates receive their official diplomas immediately after the ceremony (see below).

Since official diplomas aren't given out during the ceremony, when do students receive them?

Graduates will be directed to the Registrar’s table immediately after the ceremony to collect their official diploma.

Will on-campus housing be available for families?

There will be limited accommodations available in traditional-style residence halls during Commencement weekend. For families seeking an affordable space on campus, please email housing@risd.edu.

Will translation services be available at the ceremony?

An ASL translator will be on stage during the Graduate Hooding Ceremony on Friday, June 2, as well as at Commencement. In addition, translated programs in Mandarin, Korean and Spanish will be available available at Will Call.

What other events take place in Providence over Commencement weekend?

The annual PVDFest arts celebration will take place in Providence from June 1-4. Please visit PVDFest.com to find out more about the event and parkdowntownprovidence.com for street closure and parking information.

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Graduating Students

More than 700 of you—490 undergraduates and 240 graduate students—are expected to accept degrees at this year’s ceremony, which is more festive, informal and colorful than most. With that in mind, please feel free to embellish your cap and gown however you’d like or wear whatever feels most appropriate for celebrating this major milestone.


Each year graduating seniors create an original design for the RISD Yearbook. Students who pre-ordered a yearbook will receive an email when their copy arrives in May.

Please email csi@risd.edu with any questions.

Class rings

RISD does not offer an official class ring, but several alternative options are available at RISD WORKS.

Jewelry + Metalsmithing faculty member Johan Van Aswegen has designed an adjustable ring featuring the original RISD emblem. (See a short promo video about the ring here.) In addition, alumna Pearl Ng 98 ID created the RISD ROCKS Ring, which can be ordered online through RISD WORKS.

Caps + gowns

Plan to pick up your cap and gown at the RISD Store between May 30 and June 1 from 8:30 am–6:30 pm, or on June 2 from 8:30 am-1 pm. You’re encouraged to personalize and embellish your cap and gown in any way you’d like. If you have not already placed an order, you may still be able to pick up a cap and gown the week before Commencement on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you have questions about your cap and gown, contact the RISD Store at risdstore@risd.edu.

Benson + design diplomas

Every graduating student receives an academic diploma designed by the late John Howard Benson, a distinguished sculptor and calligrapher who taught at RISD from 1931-44. Alumna Alba Corrado 60 PT, a longtime faculty member in Experimental and Foundation Studies, meticulously hand-letters each diploma.

At the Friday morning rehearsal, you’ll also receive a “design diploma”—a unique commemorative object designed by a member of the graduating class. And when you walk across the stage on Saturday, you’ll receive a scroll of paper in lieu of your actual Benson diploma, which you need to pick up from the Registrar's table after the ceremony.

Commencement photographer

GradImages is the official photographer for your school. Your roofs may be ready to view as 48 hours after the ceremony. If you have any questions about ordering your photos, please contact the GradImages Customer Service Department at 800 261-2576 or via email at giservice@gradimages.net.

In order to notify you when your images are available, GradImages sends emails and mails paper proofs, along with optional text message notifications. Your information is never shared and privacy is guaranteed. Pre-registering is simply a way to make sure your contact information is up-to-date with GradImages, so they can provide your complimentary proofs as quickly as possible. It is also a way to share your proofs with your family and friends as soon as they are ready to view! Although there's never any obligation to order, you'll save 20% off any order of $50 or more for your participation. To pre-register for your commencement proofs, please visit http://GradImages.com/Preregistration

Also, when you pre-register with GradImages, you will automatically be entered into our Sweepstakes for a chance to win $5,000!

Class of 2017 Senior Gift

The Senior Gift this year is the Class of 2017 Scholarship Fund. The class has already raised more than $1,000 for this scholarship, which will make another RISD student's life a little bit easier next year.

If you wish to help with this scholarship fund, please make a gift of $20.17 in honor of our graduation year—or give whatever dollar amount is meaningful for you. Every contribution makes a difference, no matter the size. Donations can be made using RISD Bucks, cash or credit card. Donations can be made online by visiting support.risd.edu. All graduating students who contribute to the Senior Class Gift will receive a special tassel to wear at Commencement.

Brown | RISD Dual Degree Class of 2017

All Brown | RISD Dual Degree graduates give a Capstone Presentation that draws upon their experiences at both institutions, describing the connections they've made between different fields of study and how the pursuit of a dual degree has advanced their work and learning. All presentations are open to families, the Brown and RISD communities and the general public.

Brown University | Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts | Martinos Auditorium | 154 Angell Street (date and time tbd)

Following the Capstone Presentations, the Brown | RISD Dual Degree Program will hold a celebratory dinner at RISD's Metcalf Auditorium and Chace Center for all graduating BRDD students. Graduating BRDD students are asked to RSVP through an email form sent to their Brown and RISD email addresses. Degree recipients can reserve up to three (3) tickets for family and guests to attend.

Chace Center | Metcalf Auditorium | 20 North Main Street (date and time tbd)

Housing needs

On-campus graduating students: housing will be extended through Senior Week. All graduating students must move out by 12 pm on June 5.

Off-campus graduating students: students who are unable to extend their leases past June 1 can reserve a temporary space from June 1 to June 5 by completing the Commencement Housing Form by May 1.

Please contact Residence Life with further questions at housing@risd.edu or 401 454-6650.

Know before you go

Alumni Cards

We’ll hand these out during Senior Week. Once you graduate, you cannot borrow books from the library without this little beauty. After Commencement, visit Alumni Relations on Dyer St to pick up your card.

Your RISD ID access to campus buildings will end one week after graduation, as will free RIPTA bus access. After that time contact Alumni Relations at 401 709-8585 for a campus building access code, which changes weekly.

Your RISD Alumni Email Account

One week after Commencement your RISD email account will be renamed to username@alumni.risd.edu. Your password will not change but you will need to use your new address to log into your account. Emails sent to your old email address will be delivered to your new email address. Additional information may be found on alumni.risd.edu.

Your Student Network Storage / Web Space

As of June 11, files and websites stored by graduating students on the RISD network will no longer be accessible. Log in to your network storage space to download all files you wish to keep. Contact the Office of Information Technology at servicedesk@risd.edu for more information.



Even after graduation, career advisors are glad to meet with you in person or by phone to talk about next professional steps. They can help you with your search for jobs, freelance, exhibition opportunities, grants, residencies, fellowships and other career pursuits. Visit RISD Careers for resources like ArtWorks, RISD’s exclusive online job and opportunity board for up-to-date postings.

Feeling nervous about loans? Use SALT, RISD’s easy, online loan counseling service. Visit saltmoney.org to learn how to pay off your loans more quickly and get a better handle on your finances.



We encourage you to follow RISD Alumni Association and RISD Careers on Facebook and Twitter, where we frequently post helpful information for alumni. RISD has over 48 clubs and contacts around the world, in places like New York and NorCal as well as Korea, India and Tokyo. RISD's alumni network helps connect graduates with clubs for help with jobs and housing, as well as general support. A growing number of graduates also stay connected through RISD’s giant LinkedIn group, Rhode Island School of Design Alumni—a valuable way to link up with other alumni while searching for jobs.



Want to participate in an Alumni Sale? Email alumnisale@risd.edu to get notified about future sale applications. Share your work on RISD Portfolios, join our RISD Etsy Team or careers@risd.edu to get on RISD’s curated Kickstarter page.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if I have enough credits to graduate?

If you haven't already received official confirmation that you're cleared to graduate, please confirm your status with the Registrar's Office.

Who comes up with the Design Diploma each year?

All seniors are invited to submit proposals for this year's Design Diploma, a tradition that dates back to the early 1970s when students began creating alternatives to the official hand-lettered paper diplomas issued by the Registrar. Previous classes have received everything from a giant cookie baked in the Foundry to a “FRISD" (a RISD frisbee), a snow globe, a skywritten congratulatory message and more. Cost-per-unit restrictions apply, along with the means to fabricate more than 600 diplomas for the event.

What special events are planned for graduating students leading up to Commencement?

Graduating Students Week, a series of gatherings celebrating the transition from student to alumni status, runs from Monday, May 29 through Thursday, June 2.

Who do I contact if I have other questions about Commencement?

Please email commencement@risd.edu or call Student Affairs at 401-454-6600. Veronica Hallisey will be happy to respond.

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The Weekend

Graduates, family members and friends begin celebrating with departmental receptions on Friday afternoon, when a Graduate Hooding Ceremony for those earning master’s degrees also takes place. The festivities continue on Saturday morning with the Commencement ceremony itself. Throughout the weekend, exhibitions of student work offer visitors a view into the amazing output of this year’s graduates.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Special ceremonies + departmental receptions

Various divisions and departments host celebratory gatherings and awards presentations open to graduating students, family members and friends.

Rehearsal for graduating undergraduate + graduate students

Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street

All graduating students who wish to take part in the ceremony need to attend this rehearsal so that everything goes smoothly on Saturday.

History of Art + Visual Culture Concentration Reception

RISD Museum | Danforth Room

History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Concentrators Reception

Fleet Library at RISD | Graham Visual and Material Resource Center, Room 204, 2nd floor

Literary Arts + Studies Concentration Reception

College Building | Room 521

Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies Concentration Reception

Fleet Library at RISD | Picture Collection, Room 207, 2nd floor

Graduate Hooding Ceremony

First Baptist Church | 75 North Main Street

Graduate students will have a special hooding ceremony in the First Baptist Church in America as part of Commencement celebrations. (Students should be seated by 12:45 pm, and doors will open for guests at 1 pm.)

Fine Arts Reception

Woods-Gerry Gallery | 62 Prospect Street

Architecture + Landscape Architecture Reception

Bayard Ewing Building (BEB) | BEB Gallery | 231 South Main Street

Interior Architecture Reception

Center for Integrative Technologies (CIT) | 169 Weybosset Street, 6th floor studio

Furniture Design Reception

Market Square (under the tent) | inclement weather location: RISD Auditorium | 7 Canal Walk

Graphic Design Reception

Design Center on the Waterfront | 31 Canal Street at the Pavillion

Industrial Design Reception

ID Building | 161 South Main Street, Room 400

Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Reception

TLAD + POD Studio Lab | 355 South Water Street

Digital + Media Reception

The Eddy | 95 Eddy Street

Illustration Reception

Illustration Studies Building (ISB) | ISB Gallery | 55 Canal Walk

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2017

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery | 169 Weybosset Street

Senior Invitational Exhibition

Woods-Gerry Gallery | 62 Prospect Street

Our America, Critical Perspectives on Americana | curated by Aaron Simmons MID 18 + Anna McNeary MFA 18 PR

Chace Center | Gelman Student Exhibitions Gallery | 20 North Main Street

Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Opening reception May 24 from 6-8 pm Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street

Saturday, June 3, 2017


Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street, Providence

Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street

Senior Invitational Exhibition

Woods-Gerry Gallery | 62 Prospect Street

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2017

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery | 169 Weybosset Street

Our America, Critical Perspectives on Americana | curated by Aaron Simmons MID 18 + Anna McNeary MFA 18 PR

Chace Center | Gelman Student Exhibitions Gallery | 20 North Main Street

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2017

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery | 169 Weybosset Street

Our America, Critical Perspectives on Americana | curated by Aaron Simmons MID 18 and Anna McNeary MFA 18 PR

Chace Center | Gelman Student Exhibitions Gallery | 20 North Main Street

Throughout the weekend

PVD Fest

various locations throughout downtown Providence

In conjunction with Commencement, Rhode Island’s signature arts festival, PVDFest, runs from Thursday, June 1 through Sunday, June 4. Live music, dance, food and visual art installations transform the heart of the city during the four-day celebration in Providence's public spaces, parks and other venues.

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