Answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions by media covering URI’s commencement weekend:

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First, the basics:

Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 1 p.m.

Ryan Center, Kingston Campus

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Procession beings at 12:15 p.m., Ceremony starts at 12:30 p.m.

Quadrangle (Rain site Ryan Center)

Kingston Campus

1. Do I need a media pass?

Yes. The pass allows you access to podium guests, provides for seating at the press table, and access to any a/v hookups or other materials as needed. To receive a pass, stop at the Department of Communications and Marketing located on the second floor of the Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Road, after 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 22.

2. Where do I park?

Graduate Ceremony Parking: Ceremony will be held in the Ryan Center on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Use any nearby parking lot (Plains Road Lot, Lot 20 or Lot 35). The ceremony begins at 1 p.m.

Undergraduate Ceremony Press Parking: Sunday, May 22. Take Old North Road or Upper College Road from Route 138. Turn onto Briar Lane for the parking lot that is closest to our office in the Alumni Center. This is just a short walk to the quadrangle. The procession beings promptly at 12:15 p.m. and the ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m.

3. What happens if it rains Sunday?

In the event of rain, the main commencement ceremony will be held at the Ryan Center. If the rain plan is implemented, the decision will be made in the early morning and information will be posted on the URI homepage,, and on our automated phone lines (401.874.7669, and 401.874.1000). If this happens, media should go directly to the Ryan Center’s main entrance and present press credentials including a business card and photo ID. Media will then be escorted to room 117 for a URI Media Pass and seating instructions. Parking will be available in the lot opposite Meade Stadium. Staff from our office will be at the Ryan Center. If you have any questions, you can reach the Department of Communications and Marketing staff on that day by calling 401.874.5426 or 401-862-0879.

4. Can I watch commencement virtually?

If you can’t see or hear the undergraduate ceremony, you can watch it online at The webcast will begin at noon and ends at the conclusion of the formal ceremony on the quadrangle.

5. Is there any place to use a phone during Sunday’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies? You are welcome to use facilities in our office at 73 Upper College Road, second floor from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In the event of rain, you can use phones located in the Ryan Center’s media room. We will have snacks for members of the media at either location.

6. What are the simple facts about this year’s graduates?

• This weekend, we will confer 4,258 (669 graduate and 3,589 undergraduate) degrees upon 4,026 students.

• Undergraduate Degrees: On Sunday, May 22, among the 3,319 students, 55 Veterans will receive undergraduate degrees.

• Also among the undergraduates are four sets of twins and one set of triplets.

• Our oldest student is 64 and our youngest is 18 years old.

• Graduate Degrees: On Saturday, May 21, among the 707 students, 13 Veterans will receive graduate degrees.

• Our oldest graduate student is 76 and the youngest is 22 years old.

• Men and Women: Consistent with national trends, 57 percent (1,894) of the undergraduates receiving degrees are women, and 43 percent (1421) are men. Similarly, 60 percent (416) of the graduate students receiving degrees are women and 40 percent (283) are men. Twelve students did not identify gender preferences.

• Residency: In the graduating classes, 62 percent of undergraduate degree recipients are from Rhode Island, 12 percent are from Massachusetts, 17 percent are from Connecticut and 6 percent each are from New York and New Jersey.

• Among the graduate degree recipients, 67 percent of graduate are from Rhode Island, 9 percent are from Massachusetts, 6 percent are from Connecticut and 3 percent each are from New York and New Jersey.

7. Who is this year’s commencement speaker?

• The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will address URI’s Class of 2016 and receive the Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa. Justice Sotomayor is the 111th Justice to serve on the Supreme Court, and the first Hispanic and third woman to ascend to the nation’s highest judicial body.

8. Will someone speak at the Graduate Commencement?

• Dr. Richard Tapia, a mathematician and professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University. Internationally known for his mathematics research, Tapia is also an acclaimed champion of diversity in higher education. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Business Degree and will speak at the Graduate Commencement on May 21.

9. Who will receive honorary degrees this year?

• Justice Sonia Sotomayor

• Dr. Richard Tapia

• The Honorable Judge Frank Caprio of Providence.

• Dr. Christopher M. DiMaio ’62 of Aptos, Calif.

• Melanie Will-Cole of Albuquerque, N.M.

10. Who is this year’s student commencement speaker?

• Caitlin Runyon, Communication Studies major from Clifton, N.Y., with minors in Leadership Studies and International Relations

All commencement information is available at