Commencement 2017: 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 20, 2017, 9 a.m.
Ryan Center, Kingston Campus

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
Sunday, May 21, 2017
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, come to Communications & Marketing located on the second floor of the Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Road, after 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 21.

  1. Where do I park?

Graduate Ceremony Parking: Ceremony will be held in the Ryan Center on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Use any nearby parking lot (Plains Road Lot, Lot 20 or Lot 35). The ceremony begins at 9 a.m.

Undergraduate Ceremony Press Parking: Sunday, May 21. 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. We strongly recommend early arrival for parking in this lot.

  1. 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). 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 Communications & Marketing staff on that day by calling 401.874.2116 or 401-862-0879.

  1. 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. On Saturday at 9 a.m., the graduate ceremony will be streamed at the same online address.

  1. 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.
  2. What are the simple facts about this year’s graduates?
  • This weekend, we will confer undergraduate and graduate degrees upon a total of 4,122 students, (749 graduate and 3,383 undergraduates). Many students will receive multiple degrees, so a total of 4,415 degrees will be awarded.
  • Undergraduate Degrees: On Sunday, May 21, Among the 3,383 students, 60 Veterans will receive undergraduate degrees
  • Also among the undergraduates there are nine sets of twins.
  • Our oldest student is 70 and our youngest is 20 years old.
  • Graduate Degrees: On Saturday, May 20, among the 749 students, 18 Veterans will receive graduate degrees.
  • Our oldest graduate student is 77 and the youngest is 21 years old
  • Men and Women: Consistent with national trends, 55 percent (1,874) of the undergraduates receiving degrees are women, and 44 percent (1,501) are men. Similarly, 60 percent (441) of the graduate students receiving degrees are women and 40 percent (290) are men
  • Residency: 58 percent (1920) of undergraduate degrees recipients are from Rhode Island, 14 percent (458) are from Massachusetts, 8 percent (285) are from Connecticut and about seven percent each are from New York and New Jersey.
  • Among the graduate degree recipients, 64 percent (472) of graduates are from Rhode Island, 11 percent (84) are from Massachusetts and the remainder are from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
  1. Who are this year’s commencement speakers?

Two esteemed, award-winning journalists will speak at their alma mater’s ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate students.

  • Vladimir Duthiers is an award-winning CBS News correspondent and an anchor for CBSN. As a leading broadcast journalist, he has been called upon to witness, synthesize and tell some of the most disturbing news. He says he reports the news “to give voice to the voiceless.”  The 1991 URI political science graduate will speak to the newest graduates on Sunday, May 21.
  • Thomas Farragher is a quintessential journalist. A columnist and associate editor at The Boston Globe he has spent nearly 40 years using his instinct, talent and dogged determination to find, research and share genuine stories. He was on the Globe’s Spotlight Team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their reports revealing a decades-long cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by priests within the Archdiocese of Boston and became the basis for the Academy Award winner Spotlight. Farragher will speak with fellow new alumni at the Graduate School ceremony on Saturday, May 20.
  1. Who will receive honorary degrees this year?
  • Vladimir Duthiers
  • Thomas Farragher
  • URI President Emeritus Dr. Robert L. Carothers
  • Lorén Spears, Executive Director of the State of Rhode Island’s Tomaquag Museum
  • Alfred J. Tella, national economist, educator, composer and fantasy fiction author
  1. Who are this year’s student commencement speakers?
  • Undergraduate: Colin Rumbel, Communication Studies major from Mansfield, Mass.
  • Graduate: Elizabeth Kohr, a member of the Graduate Student Association who will be earning her M.S. in Chemistry and an MBA. She is from Riverside, R.I.

All commencement information is available at