Commencement 2012: Answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions by media

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… Who are covering URI’s commencement weekend!

First, the basics:

Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Saturday, May 19, 2012, 1 p.m.

Ryan Center, Kingston Campus

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Sunday, May 20, 2012, 12:30 p.m.

Quadrangle (Rain site Ryan Center)

Kingston Campus

Fast Facts:

Graduate Ceremonies

738 graduate students will receive degrees, (64 percent, 522 Rhode Islanders)

Undergraduate Ceremonies:

2,963 undergraduates will earn degrees, (63 percent, 1,866 Rhode Islanders)

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 that may be needed for audio feed. To receive a pass, come to the Department of Communications and Marketing located at the URI Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Road, after 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 20th. We’re on the first floor, room 100.

2. Where do I park?
Graduate Ceremony Parking: Ceremony will be held in the Ryan Center on Saturday, May 19, 2012. Use any nearby parking lot (Plains Road Lot, Lot 20 or Lot 35). The ceremony begins at 1:00 PM.

Undergraduate Ceremony Press Parking: Sunday, May 20. Enter the University on Upper College Road from Route 138. Turn right at first stop sign onto Briar Lane. Turn left into the parking lot after the campus police station. The lot is closest to our office in the Alumni Center (natural shingled) and just a short walk to the undergraduate commencement exercises on the quadrangle. The ceremony begins promptly 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 a message will be placed on our automated phone lines (401.874.7669, and 401.874.1000). Members of the media should go to the Ryan Center’s media room (room 117, first left after entering the Center via the North Lobby) to receive a media pass and seating instructions. If you have any questions, you can reach the Department of Communications & Marketing staff that day by calling 401.874.2116 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 12:20 p.m. and ends at the conclusion of the formal ceremonies 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 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. Any facts about this year’s graduates?

• About 58 percent (1,720) of the students to receive undergraduate degrees are women and 42 percent (1,243) are men.

• Graduate degrees will be awarded to 57 percent (414) women and 43 percent (318) men.

• About 63 percent (1,866) of the undergraduate and 64 percent (522) of the graduate degrees will be awarded to students who are from Rhode Island.

• The oldest graduate student is 70 and the youngest is 22. The oldest undergraduate student is 67, and the youngest is 19.

• Sixteen Veterans and eight sets of twins will receive undergraduate degrees

7. Who is this year’s commencement speaker?

Acclaimed author and human rights attorney with a passion for justice and defense of the disenfranchised, Marlen Suyapa Bodden will speak at the undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 20. In recognition of her unflinching support of those whose voices are rarely heard, for sharing researched stories of the past to reflect on the present and for her unique contributions to the nation, she will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws.

8. Will someone speak at the Graduate Commencement?

University of Rhode Island Psychology Professor Lisa Harlow will address the graduate students at commencement ceremonies. Harlow is well known for her scholarship, leadership, and teaching related to increasing interest, retention, performance, and diversity in quantitative science.

9. Who will receive honorary degrees this year?

In addition to Bodden, the University will confer honorary degrees upon: Amy DeVaudreuil ’97, a noted attorney working in areas related to affordable housing; Colonel Philip J. Saulnier ’62, a U.S. Army veteran honored for decades of post-retirement service to our veterans; and Shivan Subramaniam, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, FM Global

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

Classical Studies major and stellar student Mary McGunigal of Warwick, was chosen to address her peers at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Three months later, she will enter the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

All commencement information is available at