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

doors open at 9:30 am

livestream begins at 10:15 am

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. We ask that guests be seated by 10:15 am to allow for doors to be closed for processional.

Where should we park?

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

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.

Guests with mobility issues needing shuttle service to receptions on Friday, June 3 or Commencement on Saturday, June 4 should call RISD Rides at 401 427-6915. RISD Rides drivers are professionally licensed chauffeurs who have had their backgrounds checked by First Transit. RISD Rides drivers wear a First Transit uniform and a photo badge which 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 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 PT, 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.

Will there be translation services available at Commencement?

During the Graduate Hooding Ceremony on Friday, June 3, as well as during our Commencement ceremony, we will have an ASL translator on stage.

To welcome all of our guests we are offering translations of the commencement program. These will be available at the information desk before and during the ceremony.

What other events in Providence are taking place Commencement weekend?

Providence will be hosting the PVDFest from June 2-5. For information regarding PVDFest, street closures and parking, please visit PVDFest.com | parkdowntownprovidence.com

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.

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.

If you have questions or need to adjust your ticket order contact commencement@risd.edu.

We will do our best to accommodate your family members' accessibility needs. An ASL interpreter will be on stage during the event, and the convention center is accessible. Please contact us with any questions, concerns, or to request special seating.


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

Class of 2016 Senior Gift

The Senior Class Gift this year is the Class of 2016 Scholarship Fund. The class has already raised more than $3600 for this scholarship, which will make another RISD student's life a little bit easier next year.

Please make a gift of $20.16 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. 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 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.

Are there any special events planned for seniors leading up to Commencement?

Senior Week, a series of gatherings to celebrate the transition from student to alumni status, runs from Monday, May 30 through Thursday, June 2. You can find all the details in your RISD email.

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

Graduate Hooding Ceremony

First Baptist Church | 75 North Main Street

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

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.

History of Art + Visual Culture Concentrators Reception

RISD Museum | Danforth Room

History, Philosophy + The Social Sciences Concentrators Reception

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

Literary Arts + Studies Concentrators Reception

College Building | Room 521

Nature - Culture - Sustainability Studies Concentrators Reception

Fleet Library | Picture Room, Room 207

Architecture + Landscape Architecture Reception

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

Fine Arts Reception

Woods-Gerry | 62 Prospect Street

Graphic Design Reception

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

Interior Architecture Reception

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

Digital + Media Reception

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

Furniture Design Reception

Market Square under the tent (inclement weather location: Memorial Hall | Tap Room)

Industrial Design Reception

ID Building | 161 South Main Street, Room 400

Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Reception

TLAD / POD Studio | 355 South Water Street

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

Film/Animation/Video Senior Film Festival

RISD Auditorium

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2016

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

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street, Providence

Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Rhode Island Convention Center | One Sabin Street, Hall A

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2016

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery | 169 Weybosset Street (open until 8 pm 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

Throughout the weekend


various locations throughout downtown Providence

In conjunction with Commencement, Rhode Island's signature arts festival, PVDFest, runs from Thursday, June 2 through Sunday, June 5. Live music, dance, food and visual art installations transform the heart of the city during the four-day arts infusion of public spaces, parks and other venues.

As part of the festival, RISD is presenting a sound installation called Acknowledgement Field that will emanate from the trees outside the Rhode Island Convention Center between 12 and 2 pm on Saturday (during Commencement).

Selections: Graduate Work from the Class of 2016

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery | 169 Weybosset Street (open until 8 pm 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

Speakers + Honorees

HILTON ALS — keynote address / honorary degree recipient

Best known for his incisive theater reviews for The New Yorker, Hilton Als has been chief theater critic since 2013 and a contributor to the magazine since 1989. As an author, he has written about race, gender and identity for more than a decade, with his most recent book, White Girls, nominated for a 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.

Als also maintains a site called Et Als: My Life in Culture and presents talks on everything from the role of the critic to “bravery in poetry.” He often collaborates with artists, and in 2009 worked with the performer Justin Bond on Cold Water, an exhibition of paintings, drawings and videos at La MaMa Gallery, before co-curating Self-Consciousness the following year at the Veneklasen Werner Gallery in Berlin.

Prior to working at The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for The Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. He has taught at Wesleyan, Wellesley, Smith and the Yale School of Drama, collaborated on film scripts and written for The Nation, The Believer and The New York Review of Books, among others.

MARTHA ROSLER — graduate hooding speaker / honorary degree recipient

Through her work in photo-montage, video, installation and performance art, Martha Rosler has long focused on the public sphere and issues of everyday life. Her pioneering work dates back to the mid 1960s when she first began conveying strong feminist and anti-war messages by contrasting domestic life with global politics, national security issues and depictions of conflict. Her diverse projects – from a traveling library and a community garden in Singapore to visual studies of airports – have been well received throughout the world.

Rosler has earned numerous awards, including the inaugural prize from the New Foundation Seattle in 2015, which led to a multifaceted public project on homelessness and housing in that city. Her solo installation Meta-Monumental Garage Sale ran at the Museum of Modern Art in 2012 and the following year her book Culture Class offered critical thoughts on gentrification. In 1989 Rosler organized If You Lived Here..., a project in which artists, architects, activists and people experiencing homelessness addressed questions of who owns “the right to the city.” Her current exhibition If you can’t afford to live here, m-o-o-v-e! continues these efforts.

ESTHER WOJCICKI — honorary degree recipient

A leader in educational reform, Esther Wojcicki is passionate in her belief that young people respond best to learning from each other and through a smart use of digital resources. Her 2015 book Moonshots in Education: Launching Blended Learning in the Classroom focuses on digital and online learning in K–12 schools and what it takes for motivated teachers to achieve a successful “moonshot.”

As the founder of the Palo Alto [CA] High School Media Arts Program, Wojcicki has inspired thousands of students to learn about themselves and the world by pushing the possibilities of producing content-rich newspapers, magazines, websites, videos and radio and television programs. She helped lead the Google Teacher Academy, was named California Teacher of the Year in 2002 and is actively involved in educational reform as both a consultant and board member.

For many years, Wojcicki served as chair and then vice chair of the Board of Creative Commons and is now on the boards of the Center for the Collaborative Classroom and the Developmental Studies Center, among many other educational organizations.

BUNNY HARVEY — Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

As someone who reads the dictionary and the Encyclopedia Britannica as if they’re novels, Bunny Harvey 67 PT / MAT 71 / MFA 72 has spent her life exploring a broad range of interests that eventually find their way into her lush paintings. The large body of work she has made in the past half century follows the twists and turns of her intellectual curiosity over the decades as she explored aspects of archaeology, particle physics, biology, sound and the intricacies of nature, among other passions.

To culminate her 40 years of teaching at Wellesley College, Harvey helped organize a comprehensive retrospective of her work, which was on view last fall at the college’s Davis Museum. She also earned the Rome Prize in Painting in the early 1970s and has since been a frequent visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.

Through both her practice and her ongoing mentoring of young artists, Harvey has found the ideal match for her peripatetic mind.

TIMOTHY PLUMMER — undergraduate speaker / BFA Graphic Design 2016

Tim Plummer 16 GD was born and raised in San Jose, CA, where the weather is nice and the recycling cans read “Capital of the Silicon Valley.” In receiving a degree from RISD, the graphic designer is fulfilling a personal goal that dates back to the sixth grade, when he learned that people sometimes pay other people to draw on the computer. He loves glossy magazines, outer space, musical theater, non-musical theater, accents, zip-up jackets, audiobooks, Chewy Chips Ahoy, non-slip rulers, spacious dance floors and a good game of pool. After graduating, Plummer will join Yelp in San Francisco as a UI Designer.

LISA MAIONE — graduate speaker / MFA Graphic Design 2016

Lisa Maione 05 GD/MFA 16 returned to RISD in 2014 after receiving a BFA in Graphic Design here in 2005. Since then, the graphic designer has served on the Graduate Student Alliance, the Social Equity Action steering committee and as a peer tutor in the Writing Center. Her graduate thesis, Casting Forward, investigates the mechanics and poetics of projection. She previously lived in NYC, working as a designer and as a part-time faculty member in various design programs. This fall she will join Oklahoma State University as an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design.


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