Sights, sounds, sentiments of URI’s Commencement ceremonies

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KINGSTON, R.I. — May 19, 2016 — With the wail of a single bagpipe from the front of the procession, the calls of the University’s Color Guard, the triumphant trumpets and roll of the drums, the soft sounds of thousands of footsteps encircling and crossing the quadrangle, all ringed by the resonant cheers and applause of families and friends; The University of Rhode Island’s 130th Commencement will soon be under way.

The grand procession, like none other that occurs throughout the year, signifies the day for thousands of undergraduates to commence their next stage in life. It is an opportunity to celebrate the success and accomplishments of students and the University as a whole.

With a crowd of about 15,000 people gathered on the quad, URI’s annual commencement is one of the biggest events held in the State of Rhode Island. Commencement weekend is May 21-22, 2016. Find more information about the ceremonies at

Procession pageantry prevails

• 12:15 p.m. Bagpiper begins, escorts 50th reunion class

• Class of 1966 is seated

• University Color Guard presents colors and leads Academic Procession

• Grand Marshal follows carrying the University Mace

• Platform group, including the president, honorary degree recipients, and government and university representatives

• Faculty Marshal

• University Excellence Award Winners

• Arts and Sciences Faculty

• Professional School Faculty

• Graduate degree candidates

• Undergraduate degree candidates escorted by a student carrying their college gonfalon

• The Grand Marshal then introduces President David M. Dooley to preside over the ceremony.

Colors mark degrees

The sounds of commencement are coupled with the splendid swirl of colors. Whether you’re a student strutting in your first, a family member or friend eagerly eyeing a loved one in your fifth, or a faculty member promenading in your 10th, color is crucial on commencement.

Bright gonfalons wave from staging to represent each of the University’s nine colleges, and encircling the quad are flags associated with Rhode Island’s early history, many of its towns, and many of the nations with which the University has developed relationships.

Faculty members are regaled in robes and colored hoods distinctive to their colleges and degrees, as the sea of black-cloaked graduating seniors is splashed with the colors of tassels signifying the different degrees to be awarded:

• Arts and Sciences: B.A., white; B.S., golden yellow; B.M., pink; B.F.A., brown

• Business Administration: drab (light brown)

• Continuing Education: B.G.S., black and white

• Engineering: orange

• Environment and Life Sciences: maize

• Human Science and Services: red

• Nursing: apricot

• Pharmacy: olive