Upper College Road, Kingston, R.I.

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For Guests

Information Checklist

Commencement  is an exciting occasion for your graduating student, but it is an equally exciting time for you as a parent, friend, family member — and we’re looking forward to having you on campus to recognize this milestone. Here’s a checklist with linked information to help you prepare for the events.

Getting Around Campus

Please plan to wear comfortable walking shoes as parking lots and individual events may be located up to a mile apart. (View map.) Many campus paths lead uphill; some are unpaved. Commencement Rhody Van shuttles operate every 8–15 minutes. For transportation from parking lots to ceremonies, walk to the nearest shuttle stop. There is no fare for use of the shuttles and these will run until all guests have returned to their cars.

Where Did You Park?

We recommend that guests download and use their cell phone car-finder app or write down where you parked and let others know where to meet you after the ceremonies. Please view Parking & Campus Transport for lot locations and details.

Ceremony Etiquette

We ask that our graduates and guests respect the ceremony and all of the people involved by behaving in a dignified manner. In keeping with decorum and tradition, we ask that guests adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Please remain in your seats until the recessional begins
  • When names of students are read, please be considerate with applause so that all names are clearly heard
  • Confetti, balloons and noisemakers are not permitted at any ceremonies
  • The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited during the Commencement Ceremonies and related activities. We appreciate your cooperation.

Public Safety

Community members are asked to adhere to security procedures that are very similar to those at other big events. The University recommends that students and guests evaluate the contents of their bags and pockets as they may be subject to search, as needed. Guests are prohibited from bringing balloons, backpacks, coolers and duffel bags.

Bags larger than 1 cubic foot (12” x 12” x12”) will not be permitted unless there is a medical or childcare related reason; in such cases they may be subject to additional security. People with these special needs should plan on arriving early to accommodate any potential delay. Best practice is to leave all bags in your car(s).

Disability Assistance

If you have a disability and need an accommodation please call 401.874.2098 by the dates listed below. For TTY assistance, please call the Rhode Island Relay Service at 711. There are no fees for the use of these services or for the use of materials such as FM listening devices or wheelchairs, but a driver’s license is required as a deposit and will be returned when the items are brought back to the Disability Station.

  • Disability Stations will be available on Saturday for the Graduate Ceremony at the north entrance of the Ryan Center and on Sunday for the University-wide Ceremony in front of Bliss Hall.
  • Sign language interpreters will be at both the Undergraduate and Graduate Ceremonies. Interpreters for individual college ceremonies on Sunday must be requested by May 12. Reserved seating will be provided for the person requiring the interpreter and one companion.
  • FM listening devices are available at Disability Stations both days and at each college ceremony site. Reservation required by May 12.
  • Wheelchairs are available; quantities are limited; reservations are required by May 12. Reserved wheelchairs will be held only until noon on Saturday for the Graduate Ceremony, and until 11:30 a.m. on Sunday for the Main Ceremony. After those times, wheelchairs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you own a wheelchair, we recommend bringing it with you.
  • Disability seating is available. For the Graduate Ceremony, seating is limited to the individual requiring disability seating and one companion; other companions may sit close by. For the University-wide Ceremony, reservations are required by May 12 and are limited to groups of no more than four people (the individual requiring disability seating with three companions, or a couple with two companions). Reservations will be held until noon.
  • Transportation assistance is available at Disability Stations.
  • Parking. If you have a physical or medical condition, you may reserve a priority parking permit by calling the Visitors Center at 401.874.2133 no later than May 9. Please view Parking & Campus Transport for disability parking details.


Only certified service animals are permitted on campus during Commencement exercises. For the safety of all guests and your pet, please leave your pet at home.

Food & Refreshments

It is highly recommended that graduates and guests eat prior to arrival on campus. For your convenience, refreshments will be available at these locations (payment with cash only) on the following days:

Saturday, May 21: Memorial Union: Ram’s Den, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Ronzio’s Pizza, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Ryan Center Concessions will be open before and during graduate school commencement ceremonies.

Sunday, May 22: Memorial Union: Ram’s Den, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Ronzio’s Pizza, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and in front of the Keaney/Mackal complex. If the rain plan is put into effect, the Ryan Center Concessions will be open. Only ticketed guests will have access to the building and concession stands.

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