Saturday, June 4
Rhode Island
Convention Center
10:30 am

doors open at 9:30 am

livestream begins at 10:15 am


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

You 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 you don’t need a ticket for yourself.)

Graduating students 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 make sure to pick up reserved tickets ahead of time.

Seating is open and available on a first-come, first-served basis. If your guests require special seating (for the elderly, disabled or hearing impaired etc.), please make note of that on the ticket reservation form and let us know in advance so that we can plan accordingly.

For Families

RISD is located just off of I-95 and I-195 in the College Hill neighborhood on the East Side of Providence.

Featured Hotels

Providence Hilton

21 Atwells Avenue
Providence, RI 02903
401 709-0335

Book here and use the code RISD06 or RISD10 for a special rate.

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

Ramada Inn

213 Taunton Avenue
Seekonk, MA 02771
508 336-8700, x1535

Wyndham Garden Providence

220 India Street
Providence, RI 02903
401 272-5577

To book, call 401 272-5577 and reference RISD Parents’ Weekend 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

Additional Providence Hotels

The Hotel Providence

311 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903
401 861-8000

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.

The Providence Biltmore

11 Dorrance Street
Providence, RI 02903
401 421–0700

Book through Curio using the code RISD Commencement for special rates.



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 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: 888 268-7222; in Rhode Island: 401 737-8222.

Once you are at the airport, you can take the inexpensive T.F. Green 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 800 23-LOGAN. Logan is about an hour from Providence, depending on traffic.


Peter Pan/Bonanza bus line runs daily trips to Boston, Cape Cod, Newport, Albany, New York City and Logan and T.F. Green airports. Schedules can be found at peterpanbus.com and 401 751-8800; toll-free: 888 751-8800.

Greyhound schedules and fares can be found at greyhound.com and 800 229-9424 +1 402 330-8552 (International areas without toll-free access) 800 752-4841 (assistance for passengers with disabilities) 800 345-3109 (TDD).

For easy and inexpensive transportation within Rhode Island, including buses, trolleys and Providence/Newport ferries, consider using Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) at ripta.com.


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 | 800 327-9633
Avis | 800 831-2847
Budget | 800 527-7000
Dollar | 800 800-4000
Hertz | 800 654-3131
National | 800 227-7368

Thrifty | 800 847-4389

Frequently asked questions

What time should we plan to arrive for the ceremony?

The ceremony starts at 10:30 am, but graduating students need to begin lining up no later than 9:30. The seating area opens to family members and friends at 9:30 am, with seats available on a first-come, first-served basis. While there's plenty of seating for everyone, the best seats tend to fill up relatively fast.

Where should we park?

Paid parking is available in a garage attached to the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Do you make special accommodations for the elderly or disabled?

Yes. Graduating students will be able to provide this information when reserving tickets for the ceremony. You can also choose to contact the Office of 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 is all on one level (no stairs). Accessible parking spots are available in the Convention Center garage.

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 graduating class now numbers close to 700, RISD still prefers to read the name of each individual graduate as they walk across the stage.

Is there anything special about RISD's diploma?

Every RISD graduate receives an academic diploma designed by the late John Howard Benson, a distinguished sculptor and calligrapher who taught at RISD from 1931–44. Each diploma is hand-lettered by calligrapher and alumna Alba Corrado [’60 Painting], a member of the Experimental and Foundation Studies faculty. At the Friday morning rehearsal, students also receive a “design diploma” — a fun commemorative object designed by a member of the graduating class.

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

Each graduate is asked to stop by the Registrar's table immediately after the ceremony to pick up their official Benson diploma.

Do RISD students actually wear caps and gowns at Commencement?

Yes and no. Students are issued standard black caps and gowns in advance and encouraged to use their creative talents to make them their own. Some choose to wear the gowns and mortarboards as issued, while others go all out embellishing them or creating other eye-opening costumery. Some simply opt to wear their own clothing – whether fancy or casual. The result: RISD's ceremony is generally more festive, colorful and informal than most.

Are there any options for guests to stay on campus?

Families looking for affordable accommodations in traditional-style residence halls may be able to book a room, though we only have a limited number of on-campus housing accommodations available. For more information, please email housing@risd.edu.

Graduating Students

General Information


Each of your guests needs a physical ticket to get in, and tickets are free. Doors open at 9:30am and seating is available on a first come, first served basis. The ceremony begins at 10:30am.

Each student can reserve up to six guaranteed tickets, and be placed on the waitlist for additional tickets. We ask that you only reserve as many seats as you need as seating is limited. Waitlisted tickets will be released once all graduating students have had their initial order fulfilled. We do our best to accommodate requests for extra tickets. Tickets must be ordered by Monday, May 9.


Please plan on picking up your tickets from Carr House May 31- June 2 between 9 am and 4 pm. You must bring your RISD ID. Your guests must have physical tickets in order to get into the event. The email confirmation will not be accepted at the door in place of actual tickets the day of Commencement, so plan to pick them up in advance and distribute them to your guests.

Only students who are graduating this spring may fill out ticket requests. Please only place one order. If you need to adjust your ticket order contact commencement@risd.edu.


The RISD yearbook is designed each year by graduating seniors. All 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

Although there is no official class ring, here are some options via RISDworks.

Ring designed by Johan van Aswegen, a Jewelry + Metalsmithing faculty member. (You can view a short promo video about the ring here.)

Pearl Ng's RISD ROCKS Ring

Caps + Gowns

Plan to pick up your cap and gown at the RISD store May 31-June 3, 8:30 am and 6:30 pm. Once you pick up your cap and gown, we encourage you to personalize them by decorating, embellishing and changing them however you'd like.

The deadline for ordering your cap and gown has now passed. Students who did not place an order will have the opportunity to pick up a cap and gown the week prior to Commencement. Heights for these gowns are first come first served.

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

Commencement Photographer

GradImages is the official commencement photographer for our school. Your proofs will be ready to view online as soon as 48 hours of the ceremony. 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. Although there's never any obligation to order, you'll save $5 off any order of $25 or more for your participation. To pre-register for your commencement proofs, please visit http://GradImages.com/Preregistration

Brown RISD Dual Degree Class of 2016

All Brown|RISD Dual Degree graduates present 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.

Tuesday, May 31 and Wednesday, June 1, 2016; 12-5 pm
Specific presentation times and titles will be announced at a later date.
All presentations are open to families, the Brown and RISD communities, and the general public.

Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
Brown University
Martinos Auditorium
154 Angell Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906 USA

Following the Capstone Presentations, the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program will hold a celebratory dinner for all graduating BRDD students. These students can reserve up to three (3) tickets for family and guests to attend. Graduating BRDD students are asked to RSVP through an e-mail form sent to their Brown and RISD e-mail addresses.

Thursday, June 2, 2016; 6 pm
Metcalf Auditorium and Chace Center
RISD Campus
20 North Main Street
Providence, RI 02912


On campus graduating students: Housing will be extended through Senior week. All graduating students must move out by 12:00PM 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.

Questions? Contact us at housing@risd.edu or 401 454-6650.

Know Before You Go

Alumni Cards

We’ll be handing these out during Senior Week. Once you graduate, you cannot check books out of the library without this little beauty. Visit us on Dyer St. after Commencement to pick yours up!

Your card access to campus buildings will stop working a week after graduation, and your free RIPTA access ends. After that time you can contact Alumni Relations to get an access code for campus buildings, which changes weekly. Call us at 401.709.8585.

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 sign in to your account using the new address. Don’t fret! 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

On June 11th, files and websites stored on RISD’s network storage space will no longer be accessible. Log in to your network storage space to download these files. Contact the IT Service Desk 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 othercareer pursuits. Check risdcareers.com 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.



Get Social! Both RISD Alumni Association and RISD Careers have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts where we post helpful information. Follow us! RISD has over 48 clubs and contacts around the world, places like New York and NorCal as well as Korea, India and Tokyo. Connect with clubs to get help with jobs and housing, as well as general support. Visit alumni.risd.edu/connect. Connect with RISD’s giant LinkedIn group, Rhode Island School of Design Alumni. This is a valuable way to link up with other alumni as you search for jobs.



Want to participate in an Alumni Sale? Email alumnisale@risd.edu to get notified about future sale applications. Post your portfolio through our Behance site at porfolios.risd.edu.On Etsy? Join our RISD Etsy Team to be included on our curated page. Check it out at etsy.com/pages/risd. Trying to amp up your Kickstarter? Contact careers@risd.edu to get on RISD’s curated page at kickstarter.com/pages/risd .

Frequently asked questions

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

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

Who is responsible for coming up with the Design Diploma each year?

The Design Diploma tradition dates back to the early 1970s at RISD when students first began creating alternative diplomas 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. All seniors are invited to submit proposals for this year's Design Diploma. Cost-per-unit restrictions apply, along with the ability to fabricate more than 600 diplomas for the event.

How many students are expected to graduate with the Class of 2016?

At this point, we expect approximately 508 undergraduate and 190 graduate students to accept their degrees this year. Not everyone participates in the ceremony, but the vast majority of students do – meaning we anticipate a crowd of approximately 4,500 people the day of the event.

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

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

The Weekend

Afternoon Ceremonies, Receptions + Special Exhibitions

Family and friends are welcome to join graduating students at informal get-togethers and awards presentations hosted by various academic departments and divisions. Graduate students and guests are also invited to special hooding events with their departments.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Rehearsal for Graduating Students

Rhode Island Convention Center One Sabin Street

Special Ceremonies and Departmental Receptions

Various divisions and departments host celebratory gatherings open to students, family and friends. Graduate students and guests are invited to special hooding events with their departments.

Literary Arts + Studies Concentrators Reception

College Building | Room 521

Graduate Hooding Ceremony

First Baptist Church | 75 North Main Street

(students to be seated by 12:45 pm, doors open at 1 pm)

History, Philosophy + The Social Sciences Concentrators Reception

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

History of Art + Visual Culture Concentrators Reception

RISD Museum | Danforth Room

Nature - Culture - Sustainability Studies Concentrators Reception

Fleet Library | Picture Room, Room 207

Interior Architecture Reception

Center for Integrative Technologies (CIT) | 169 Weybosset Street, 6th Floor Studio

Fine Arts Reception

Woods-Gerry | 62 Prospect Street

Digital + Media Reception

Center for Integrative Technologies (CIT) | 169 Weybosset Street, 4th floor

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

Architecture + Landscape Architecture Reception

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

Furniture Design Reception

Market Square Under The Tent Inclement weather location: Memorial Hall | Tap Room

Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Reception

TLAD / POD Studio | 355 South Water Street

Honorary Degree Dinner

RISD Museum | By invitation only (Time subject to change)

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2016

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery | 169 Weybosset Street (Open until 8:00pm with RISD ID)

Senior Invitational

Woods-Gerry Gallery | 62 Prospect Street

Better Again | Curated by Julia Wright

Chace Center | Gelman Gallery | 20 North Main Street

Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street, Hall A

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street, Providence

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2016

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery | 169 Weybosset Street (Open until 8:00pm with RISD ID)

Senior Invitational

Woods-Gerry Gallery | 62 Prospect Street

Better Again | Curated by Julia Wright

Chace Center | Gelman Gallery | 20 North Main Street

Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street, Hall A

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2016

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery | 169 Weybosset Street (Open until 8:00pm with RISD ID)

Senior Invitational

Woods-Gerry Gallery | 62 Prospect Street

Better Again | Curated by Julia Wright

Chace Center | Gelman Gallery | 20 North Main Street


Registrar's Office

degree requirements / academic status

Diane Walker or Brianna Smith

401 454-6151​

Student Accounts

billing questions / financial matters

Financial Aid

RISD Switchboard

Alumni Relations

Student Affairs

general questions about Commencement