For Our Guest and Visitors

Commencement is an exciting occasion for your graduating student, but it is an equally exciting time for you as a parent, family member, friend — and we’re looking forward to having you on campus to recognize this milestone.

  • Getting to Campus

    The University of Rhode Island’s Commencement is one of the biggest events held in the Ocean State each year. Anticipated attendance is about 15,000–20,000 undergraduate and graduate students with families and friends, University and state officials, faculty, staff, security and volunteers gathered for the celebrations.
    Please be sure to allow extra time for travel to and from campus when coming from anywhere in the region. Also, plan your travel to minimize the number of cars on campus and ensure that you are clear about the best strategies for parking and on-campus transportation—outlined in our Parking tab below.

    The main campus of the University of Rhode Island is located in Kingston, Rhode Island—30 miles south of Providence and 80 miles from Boston.

    Directions by Car to designated Ceremony Lots:

    • From the north, take I-95 South to Exit 9 (Route 4 South) in RHODE ISLAND, follow Route 4 to Route 1 South. Stay on Route 1 until the intersection of Route 138 West. Turn right onto Route 138 West and then turn right onto Old North Road. 
      • To Briar Lane lot: From Old North Road, turn left onto Briar Lane. Entrance to parking lot is on the right. 
      • To Fine Arts lot: From Old North Road, turn left onto Bills Road. Entrance to parking lot is on the right.
      • To Flagg Road and Plains Road lots: From Old North Road, turn left onto Flagg Road.  Proceed down the bottom of the hill. Entrance to the Flagg Road lot is on the right. For the Plains Road lot continue straight and entrance on the left side.
    • From the south, take I-95 North to Exit 3A (Route 138 East). Continue east on Route 138 to the University.
      • To Briar Lane lot: From Old North Road, turn left onto Briar Lane. Entrance to parking lot is on the right.
      • To Fine Arts lot: From Old North Road, turn left onto Bills Road. Entrance to parking lot is on the right.
      • To Flagg Road and Plains Road lots: From Route 138 turn left onto Plains Road. Entrance to the Plains Road lot is on the right side. For Flagg Road lot continue through intersection, entrance to lot is on the left side. 
    • From Newport, follow Route 138 West over the Newport and Jamestown bridges to Route 1. Take Route 1 South to Route 138 West. Follow Route 138 West to the University.
      • To Briar Lane lot: From Old North Road, turn left onto Briar Lane. Entrance to parking lot is on the right.
      • To Fine Arts lot: From Old North Road, turn left onto Bills Road. Entrance to parking lot is on the right.
      • To Flagg Road and Plains Road lots: From Old North Road, turn left onto Flagg Road.  Proceed down the bottom of the hill. Entrance to the Flagg Road lot is on the right. For the Plains Road lot continue straight and entrance on the left side.

    Directions by Car to the Ryan Center Ceremonies:

    • From the north: Follow directions above to Route 4 South to Exit 5B, Route 102, towards Exeter. Turn left onto South County Trail (Route 2), and follow for approximately seven miles, then turn left onto Route 138. Follow Route 138 approximately 1.5 miles to the Route 110 intersection (Plains Road). Then turn left and follow parking signs to the Ryan Center.
    • From the south: Follow directions above to Route 138 East and follow Route 138 to traffic light at the Route 110 intersection (Plains Road). Turn left and follow parking signs to the Ryan Center.
    • Our maps and directions page will provide you with detailed directions.

    Additional Travel Options:

    • Amtrak 800.872.7245. The Kingston railroad station is less than a mile from URI.
    • T.F. Green International Airport, about 20 miles from URI, bus transportation and rental cars available.
    • R.I. Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) 401.781.9400, 800.244.0444.
    • Peter Pan Bus Lines (800.556.3815) connects Providence and Newport to many locations nationwide.

    Getting Around Campus

    Please plan to wear comfortable walking shoes as parking lots and individual events may be located up to a mile apart. 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 they will run until all guests have returned to their vehicles.

    Commencement Map

    Commencement Shuttle Map

    Leaving Campus

    At the end of the day, exit traffic patterns are based on the recommendation of public safety officials. Signs will be clearly posted for drivers coming onto campus and/or leaving.

  • Parking locations and designations are subject to change. Check back here often for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

    During Commencement Weekend, on campus transportation will be provided by means of RIPTA shuttles, wheelchair accessible vans, Rhody Van shuttles and golf carts to shuttle guests to and from parking and Commencement sites. Parking maps specifically designed for each individual college are linked below. These maps provide ceremony locations, suggested parking lots and transportation routes. Many of the regular routes that students, faculty and staff are familiar with will be altered or closed in order to manage the large volume of traffic.


    location, location, location

    To make parking as easy as possible for undergraduate commencement on Sunday, we strongly recommend that you choose your parking lot based on the location of your individual college ceremony. View the maps below and you will find Rhody Van stops near all of the recommended parking lots for each of the college ceremonies:

    Saturday ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
    Sunday morning ceremonies
    Sunday afternoon ceremonies

    Commencement Shuttle Map

    disability & priority parking

    Disability parking spaces are located throughout the campus. These spaces are reserved for vehicles displaying a state-issued disability placard or license plate. Vehicles displaying a state-issued disability placard or plate will also be allowed to park in the Priority Parking areas.

    If you have a physical or medical condition, you may reserve a priority parking permit by registering here no later than May 9th. Priority parking permits are available to be picked up in advance at the Visitors Center, 45 Upper College Rd. If you have further questions please call the Visitors Center at 401.874.2133.

    Disability and Priority parking areas include lots at: Tucker House, East Alumni Avenue, Greenhouse Road, Boss Ice Arena, Keaney and the Ryan Center.

    Transportation assistance is available by means of RIPTA shuttles, wheelchair accessible vans, Rhody Van shuttles and golf carts. Please see the map for transportation routes.

    faculty & staff

    Display your hangtag for access to Faculty/Staff parking areas during Commencement. 

  • If you or someone else needs any emergency assistance (police/fire/medical) at URI, please call: URI EMERGENCY Public Safety Dispatch: 401.874.2121

    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 child care related reason; in such cases they may be subject to additional security. Best practice is to leave all bags in your vehicle(s).

    To prevent injuries the University recommends that students and guests wear proper footwear as parking lots and individual events may be located across campus. Many campus paths lead uphill; some are unpaved. Also, please remember to stay hydrated throughout the day, as some ceremonies will be taking place outside.

    In the event of an emergency, URI staff and emergency response officials may provide specific verbal guidance. For everyone’s safety, follow these instructions. Emergency messages may also be communicated by loudspeaker, emergency vehicle PA systems, the URI emergencyALERT system (sign up at uri.edu/emergency), and the Office of Emergency Management’s Twitter account @RHODYREADY.

    Many campus buildings will be closed during Commencement weekend including: Washburn, Bliss, East Hall, Lippitt, Ballentine, Davis, Taft, Quinn, and Ranger.  

    Drones are not allowed above or around any Commencement events.

  • Disability Services

    Commencement Weekend transportation is available on campus by means of RIPTA shuttles, wheelchair accessible vans, Rhody Van shuttles and golf carts. Please see the map for transportation routes.

    There are no fees for the use of the following services or for the use of materials such as FM listening devices or wheelchairs. A driver’s license is required as a deposit and will be returned when the items are brought back to the Disability Station.

    Guests who have a disability or who have difficulty walking long distances are invited to make their requests known by completing this request form by May 14thAfter that date, we will make every effort to fulfill but cannot guarantee requests.

    • Transportation. For those who are ambulatory but cannot walk long distances, transportation from the parking lots to all graduation ceremony sites will be available. RIPTA shuttles, wheelchair accessible vans, Rhody Van shuttles and golf carts will be circling campus parking lots, as well as the various ceremony locations. There may be a short wait, depending upon the number of people requesting this service. A wheelchair-lift equipped van will also be available and may be reserved through this request form by May 14th.
    • Disability Assistance will be available on Saturday for the Graduate and CELS ceremonies at the north entrance of the Ryan Center and on Sunday for the Main Ceremony next to East Hall at the northeast corner of the quadrangle. Each ceremony site will also have a person available with Assistive Listening Devices and for other disability-related concerns. 
    • Sign language interpreters. ASL Interpreters will be at both the Graduate Ceremony on Saturday and the Main Undergraduate Ceremony on Sunday in the reserved seating area at both locations. Interpreters for individual college ceremonies on Saturday or Sunday must be requested by May 14th through this request form. Reserved seating will be provided for the person requiring the interpreter and one companion.
    • Assisted listening devices are available at Disability Stations both days and at each college ceremony site. Reservation required by May 14th through this request form.
    • Wheelchairs. For those requesting additional mobility assistance, a limited number of wheelchairs will be available at the Disability Station at the Ryan Center on Saturday and on Upper College Road on Sunday. Please reserve through this request form by May 14th. Reservations will be held until 12:30 on Saturday, and until 11:45 a.m. on Sunday. 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 through this request form by May 14th.
      • Ryan Center: Disability seating is located at various levels of the Ryan Center ceremonies; please visit the Ryan Center guest services page for information. Seating is limited to the person with a disability and one guest; seating for other members of the party is close-by.
      • Main Commencement Ceremony on the quad: Reserved seating for people using wheelchairs and others with limited mobility is 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 only.
      • Individual College Ceremonies: Reserved seating for person with disability and one guest.
    • Please review the college ceremony locations and schedule to determine the most convenient parking location for you and your guests. Spaces for vehicles displaying state-issued disability placards or license plates are available in all lots. If you have a physical or medical condition, you may reserve a priority parking permit by registering here no later than May 9th. Priority parking permits are available to be picked up in advance and allow parking in disability parking spaces on campus during the weekend. If you have further questions please call the Visitors Center at 401.874.2133.

    If you have questions regarding Disability Services for Commencement Weekend, please call the Disability Services office at 401.874.2098. For TTY assistance, please call the Rhode Island Relay Service at 711.

    Commencement Map

    Recommended parking and venue location maps for the individual college ceremonies can be viewed here.

  • Food and Refreshments

    For your convenience, refreshments and snacks will be available at these locations on the following days:

    Saturday, May 21:

    • Ronzio’s Pizza, Memorial Union and various stands around campus between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    • Ryan Center Concessions will be open before and during both the graduate school commencement ceremony and the CELS undergraduate commencement ceremony.

    Sunday, May 22:

    • Ram’s Den, Memorial Union, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
    • Ronzio’s Pizza, Memorial Union and various stands around campus between  10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
    • Del’s Lemonade, various stands around campus (payments with cash only)
    • Dining Services, various stands around campus (payments with cash only)
    • In front of the Keaney/Mackal complex and around the Quad. (payments with cash only)

    (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.)

    For other dining options the URI Emporium, located adjacent to the Quadrangle, has a variety of restaurants and convenience stores that will be open during commencement weekend.

     

  • are pets allowed?

    Only Certified Service Animals are permitted on campus during Commencement exercises. Pets and Emotional Support Animals are not allowed. For the safety of all guests and your pet, please leave your pet at home.

Think Big We Do

Copyright © 2016 University of Rhode Island.