Commencement 2014: Answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions by media covering URI’s commencement weekend:

Posted on
May 14, 2014

First, the basics:

Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Saturday, May 17, 2014, 1 p.m.

Ryan Center, Kingston Campus

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Sunday, May 18, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

Quadrangle (Rain site Ryan Center)

Kingston Campus

Fast Facts:

Graduate Ceremonies

684 graduate students will receive degrees, (67 percent, 457 Rhode Islanders)

Undergraduate Ceremonies:

3,114 undergraduates will earn degrees, (66 percent, 2,060 Rhode Islanders)

1. Do I need a media pass?

Yes. Members of the media must register for the ceremonies and must have a URI Media Pass. There will be eight checkpoints to gain entry to the Quadrangle for the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony. Your standard press pass will not grant you access through any of the checkpoints. The URI Media 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 Marketing & Communications now located on the second floor of the URI Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Road, after 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 18th. Please contact our office this week (401-874-2116) to let us know who will be attending.

2. Where do I park?

Graduate Ceremony Parking: Ceremony will be held in the Ryan Center on Saturday, May 17, 2014. 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 18. 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?

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 Marketing & Communications 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 URI Live!. The webcast will begin at noon 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, 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?

• About 51 percent (1,706) of the students to receive undergraduate degrees are women and 42 percent (1,395) are men.

• Graduate degrees will be awarded to 55 percent (379) women and 44 percent (299) men.

• About 66 percent (2,060) of the undergraduate and 67 percent (457) of the graduate degrees will be awarded to students who are from Rhode Island.

• The oldest graduate student is 66 and the youngest is 21. The oldest undergraduate student is 64, and the youngest is 20.

• 68 Veterans and nine sets of twins will receive undergraduate degrees

7. Who is this year’s commencement speaker?

The person whose transformative words were a part of the ceremony to inaugurate President Barack Obama, the Poet Richard Blanco, has been invited as the undergraduate commencement speaker to share his words and join the University in celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2014. The fifth inaugural poet in this nation’s history, Blanco is the first Latino, first openly gay man, first immigrant and youngest person bestowed the honor of reading at an American president’s inauguration. Blanco will receive the honorary Doctor of Letters.

8. Will someone speak at the Graduate Commencement?

J. Kent Morrison, a past-president of Walden University, Minneapolis, Minn. and former dean of URI’s Graduate School will share his insights into the state of graduate education worldwide. Morrison is a leading international scholar with specialized research interest in Chinese politics and political thought.

9. Who will receive honorary degrees this year?

In addition to Blanco, the University will confer honorary degrees upon LTG Michael T. Flynn, director of Intelligence, United States Defense Intelligence Agency who graduated from URI in 1981, Bernard LaFayette Jr., Civil Rights leader, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and Anne Nolan, president and chief executive officer of Crossroads Rhode Island.

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

Paul Knott of Saunderstown was chosen to address his peers at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. A marketing major and leadership minor, Knott was also named as this year’s Homecoming King.

All commencement information is available at