Grad Students Set Sail
At the Graduate Hooding Ceremony in the First Baptist Church in America, 215 students earning master’s degrees celebrated years of hard work.
At Friday’s Graduate Hooding Ceremony in the First Baptist Church in America, 215 students earning master’s degrees celebrated years of hard work. Taking place the day before Commencement 2016’s main event in the Convention Center, the ceremony was intimate, casual and mercifully cool for a June afternoon.
President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID, Provost Pradeep Sharma and a cadre of deans took their seats to strains of David Bowie’s Space Oddity played on accordion. Somerson welcomed the large crowd and urged graduates to use their “mastery of the arts to create a more interesting, just and equitable world.”
Guest speaker Martha Rosler – the pioneering anti-war artist who earned an honorary degree at Commencement the following day – spoke about the “truly democratic” nature of art. “Art cannot be contained in the boxes toward which it is perpetually thrust,” she declared. She wrapped up her talk by counseling students to “infuse [their] work with revolution.”
After the speeches, each graduating student’s name was read and the graduate program directors who helped them find their way as artists and designers bestowed hoods, handshakes and hugs.
Sharma closed the ceremony with his usual flair, quoting artist Chuck Close and adding his own advice to students. “Don’t wait around for inspiration,” he said. “The best ideas come out of the process, and one small idea leads to the next.”
Speakers at RISD’s 2016 Commencement ceremony urge this year’s graduating class to bring a sense of hope and possibility to a world in need of creative change.
Alumni Alexander Rosenberg 06 GL and Katherine Gray MFA 91 GL are both central to the cast of the glassblowing competition show Blown Away on Netflix.
Textiles students design custom jacquards for the RISD library’s collection of classic Knoll chairs.