Rhode Island School of Design
Saturday, June 1Rhode Island Convention Center
One Sabin Street
Family members and friends are invited to join the entire RISD community in celebrating the Class of 2019 at this joyous event.
Bookmark this page for more in the coming weeks about this year’s ceremony, related events and other helpful information.
If you’re coming to RISD from out of state or out of the country, you’ll need to consider various transportation options from those that are listed 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.
Information for international families + friends
If you are coming from outside the US and require a visa, you will need an official letter of invitation from RISD. Graduating students should contact the Office of International Student Services (OISS) to initiate the invitation process.
Hotels in Providence
Homesharing + other options
Providence is about a 15-minute cab ride from Green Airport (PVD) in Warwick, RI. You can find information on flights at pvdairport.com or by calling +1 401 737-8222. 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-airport and +1 800 23-LOGAN (+1 800 235-6426). 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 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 +1 401 751-8800.
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.
Ride- and car-sharing
Restaurants in Providence feature a wide variety of cuisines and dining experiences, many within a short walk of RISD’s College Hill campus and the downtown area surrounding the Commencement venue. Just a short drive away, the historic Federal Hill and eclectic West End neighborhoods offer even more popular dining options. Tables fill up fast throughout the city during Commencement week, so be sure to plan ahead as soon as possible.
About 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.
The procession, speeches, awards presentations and other pomp and circumstance generally take more than two hours. Even though the Class of 2019 now numbers more than 650, 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.
Paid parking is available in a garage attached to the Rhode Island Convention Center. For other options visit parkdowntownprovidence.com. For guests with mobility needs, accessible parking spots are available in the Convention Center garage.
Accessibility + accommodations
The Convention Center is an accessible building, and the ceremony takes place in a single-level convention hall without stairs. Graduating students can let us know about the special seating needs of their families when reserving tickets for Commencement, and you may email us at email@example.com or call +1 401 454-6776 well in advance for information on entry and seating arrangements.
An ASL translator will be on stage during the Graduate Hooding Ceremony as well as at Commencement. In addition, Commencement programs will include an insert with ceremony information translated into more than 20 languages.
After the ceremony there will be a brief gathering on campus at Market Square to welcome the Class of 2019 into RISD's global community of alumni.
GradImages is the official photographer for RISD Commencement. Please go to their preregistration page to receive commencement proofs via email. Proofs may be ready to view and shared electronically as soon as 48 hours after the ceremony. GradImages also mails paper proofs and provides optional text message notifications. GradImages guarantees your privacy and will keep your information confidential.If you have any questions about ordering photos, please email
the GradImages Customer Service Department or call them at +1 800 261-2576.
More than 700 of you—487 undergraduates and 216 graduate students—are expected to accept degrees at our exceptionally festive and colorful ceremony. 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.
Tickets + seating
In March you received an email about reserving tickets for Commencement. Complete the Commencement 2019 ticket order form by April 29 to reserve up to six (6) free tickets for your guests and to request additional tickets if desired. Based on demand, extra tickets will be allocated closer to the time of the event. Only requests by graduating students will be processed.
Students who place an order by the deadline will receive an email in early May with more information about picking up tickets, which will be available May 22–24 and May 28–30, between 9 am–4 pm.
Seating is open and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests for special seating (for elderly, disabled or hearing-impaired guests, etc.) can be made at the time of the reservation. Guests can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about accessibility concerns for your family.
Caps + gowns
You will need to reserve your cap and gown online. A link with instructions and reservation deadline will be sent out in mid March.
Caps and gowns will be available for pickup at risd:store on May 22–24 between 8:30 am–4 pm and May 25 from 10 am–4 pm. 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, email email@example.com.
Rehearsal + student lineup
Rehearsal for Commencement is Friday, May 31 in the Convention Center at 10 am. All graduating students who wish to participate in the ceremony must attend rehearsal in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly on Saturday. After rehearsal students will receive their design diploma and many also pick up their RISD alumni card.
On the day of Commencement students need to arrive at the Dunkin Donuts Center at 9:30 am in order to line up for the ceremony.
Every graduating student receives an academic diploma designed by the late John Howard Benson, a distinguished sculptor and calligrapher who taught at RISD from 1931-56. Each spring Experimental and Foundation Studies faculty member Alba Corrado BFA 60 PT handwrites the names in calligraphy on each student’s graduate diploma. At the commencement ceremony, you will be handed a scroll of paper in lieu of your official Benson Diploma, which will be available for pickup immediately following the ceremony at the registrar’s table in Exhibition Hall D and at the Registrar’s Office on June 3–5 during regular business hours. Any remaining diplomas will be mailed to students on Thursday, June 6 following an email notification.
Each year graduating seniors create an original design for the RISD Yearbook. If you pre-ordered a yearbook, you will receive an email your copy arrives in May.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Commencement @ risd:store
Undergraduate + graduate student speakers
Each year two students—one undergraduate and one graduate—share their message with the RISD community by delivering speeches at Commencement. In mid March you will receive an email inviting you to propose a speech.
Running May 27–30, CommenceFEST is a series of events that brings graduating students together in celebrating one another and the collective success of the Class of 2019. These social gatherings also help students discover resources that will aid them in achieving their goals as RISD’s newest alumni.
Brown|RISD Dual Degree Class of 2019
In concluding their unique academic experience, all Brown|RISD Dual Degree (BRDD) graduates give capstone presentations demonstrating the connections they’ve made between different fields of study and how the pursuit of a dual degree has advanced their work and learning.
Presentations will be held from noon to 5 pm on Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29 at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts’ Martinos Auditorium located on the nearby Brown University campus. All presentations are free and open to families, the Brown and RISD communities and the general public.
The two days of presentations will be followed by a recognition dinner at the Brown Faculty Club on Thursday, May 30 at 6 pm. Graduating BRDD students are asked to RSVP through an email to be sent to both their Brown and RISD email addresses and can reserve up to three (3) tickets for family and guests to attend.
Commencement week housing
If you live on campus, your housing will automatically be extended through Commencement week. All graduating students must move out by noon on Sunday, June 2.
If you live off campus and your lease ends on June 1, you can sign up to stay in the first-year quad through Commencement. Housing will be available from May 31–June 2 and must be reserved by May 1. For more information and to sign up, please log in to the RISD housing portal and navigate to “Off-Campus Applications” to find the Commencement Housing 2019 form.
Questions about housing? Contact Residence Life at email@example.com.