Skip to main content

A vibrant celebration, Commencement offers a joyous opportunity for family and friends to mark this significant milestone with graduates of both our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Graduating students are encouraged to have fun and transform their caps and gowns in idiosyncratic ways to make a more personal artistic statement.

Commencement 2020

May 30
Rhode Island Convention Center
One Sabin Street
Providence, RI

Commencement weekend

Each spring RISD hosts a two-day celebration for family and friends to join approximately 700 graduates on campus for receptions, exhibitions and the Saturday morning ceremony itself.

A separate hooding ceremony takes place on Friday afternoon for graduates earning master’s degrees, but these students also participate in the full Commencement ceremony the following day.

Each year RISD presents honorary degrees to several outstanding cultural leaders who come to campus to participate in the ceremony. One of these honored guests also delivers a short keynote address to impart their wit and wisdom. Recent commencement speakers have ranged from filmmaker John Waters to writer and critic Hilton Als to artist Maira Kalman.

Two student speakers—one undergraduate and one graduate student—also address the crowd of approximately 3,500 guests. As each graduate’s name is called, he or she walks across the stage and is greeted by the president, provost, deans and department heads.

Check the Commencement website for emerging details about this year’s ceremony and related events, and find coverage and video excerpts from recent Commencement ceremonies via the links below:

A Call to Change the Narrative

Looking Ahead at Commencement

Class of 2017 Set to Shape the Future

Reserve your accommodations

Guests attending Commencement are advised to reserve accommodations well in advance since hotels, motels and B+Bs in the area fill up fast. Visit our new campus travel portal to book your stay at special rates.