Commencement 2021

Celebrate with us on June 5, 2021

This year RISD will host a Commencement event that includes both an online speaking program and an in-person processional and degree conferral, so that the Class of 2021 can safely celebrate their accomplishments together. This is made possible by Rhode Island’s recent expansion of outdoor event capacity to 500, with a potential further increase to 1,000 people in May. We are finalizing details for the in-person event and will announce them soon, contingent upon approval by the State of Rhode Island.

For families and friends, attendance of both the speaking program and processional will be online. While we wish we could welcome guests to attend the processional in person, we have determined that it is not safe to do so. None of this is how we wish it to be, but at the center of our planning is the celebration of this year’s graduating students in ways that are meaningful and safe given current circumstances.

We encourage you to visit for information and updates about our Commencement plans. To stay informed of RISD’s response to COVID-19, please visit

Additional information

  • Graduating students who wish to participate in the in-person processional must have a recent negative test from surveillance testing offered by RISD and follow all health and safety protocols throughout the event.
  • Those who are currently studying remotely and graduate students who completed degree programs in fall 2020 need to quarantine in Providence for at least 10 days prior to the ceremony and participate in RISD COVID testing in order to attend the event.
  • In lieu of a graduate hooding ceremony, remarks for graduate students will be included in the virtual speaking program. Hoods will be included with cap and gown orders and may be worn at the processional.
  • Academic departments and programs will not be able to host in-person celebrations due to the challenges of meeting health and safety requirements. We are encouraging departments and programs to hold virtual celebrations with students, to take place during the week preceding Commencement.