Frequently Asked Questions

What Day is Commencement?

What time does Commencement start?

What time does Commencement end?

When is the rehearsal?

Where else can I watch or listen to the Commencement ceremonies?

Where can I purchase official Graduation Announcements?

Is on-campus housing available to friends and family?

Do I need to apply to graduate?

What is appropriate guest attire?

What is Baccalaureate?

How do I get tickets for Campus Dance?

Where can my student purchase their cap & gown?

Will food be available during Commencement weekend?

Do my guests need a ticket for Commencement?

When will my student receive their Diploma?

How can I purchase a DVD of Commencement?

How can I request a formal invitation letter for visa purposes?

Who do I contact in case of emergency?

Where can I get more information throughout the weekend?

Do Mid-Year Completers participate in May Commencement?

Are pets welcome?

Where is the best place to take photos?

I am interested in participating in the Reunion. Where can I learn more?

What happens if it rains?

Where can yearbooks be purchased?

 

Do you have a question that is not listed here? Email us at universityevents@brown.edu

 

What Day is Commencement?
Sunday, May 28, 2017

What time does Commencement start?
The procession steps off promptly at 9:45 AM. Seniors must line up on Waterman Street no later than 9:30 AM. Graduate students must line up by 9:00 AM. Seniors, medical students, and graduate students process through the Van Wickle Gates and split off to their separate ceremony locations, with seniors proceeding down the hill to the First Baptist Church in America. During the senior ceremony in the church, families and friends are encouraged to find seats on the College Green, where large video screens will broadcast the proceedings. All degree recipients will return to the College Green for the University ceremony, which will begin at approximately 1:15 PM.

What time does Commencement end?
In general, the University Ceremony ends on the College Green around 2pm with individual departmental diploma ceremonies occurring afterward, from approximately 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM. These departmental ceremonies are a place for undergraduate students to not only get their diploma(s) but also to say farewell to their colleagues and professors.

What day/time is the rehearsal?
For undergraduate students, there is no formal rehearsal for Commencement. Please view our Understanding Commencement presentation to find answers to many frequently asked questions.

Graduate students will have a rehearsal on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 1:45 pm for master's students and 3:00 pm for doctoral students, both on Simmons Quad.

Where else can I watch or listen to the Commencement ceremonies?
There will be a live video broadcast to the College Green, Salomon Center, and Sayles Hall. Many ceremonies will also be live-streamed on the web.

Where can I purchase official Graduation Announcements?
Official graduation announcements can be purchased in the Brown Bookstore. Visit the store's website or call (401) 863-3168 for more information.

What accommodations are available to guests?
On-campus: Reservations for on-campus dormitory housing will be available for friends and family of students participating in commencement as well as alumni celebrating a reunion beginning in mid March. Please contact the Office of Residential Life at (401) 863-3500.
Off-campus:For information about off-campus hotels and other lodging, please refer to Brown's Travel Portal Page.

Do I need to apply to graduate?
Yes, all students need to apply to graduate via Banner web. Instructions for doing so can be found at each school's Commencement website.

What is appropriate guest attire?
Since the majority of events are outside, guests are strongly encouraged to dress according to the weather - layers are usually a good recommendation overall. While some guests enjoy getting dressed up for Campus Dance, there is no formal dress code. For Baccalaureate and the Commencement ceremonies, guests are welcome to wear what they would like, but the majority of guests often wear business casual attire. Comfortable shoes and flats are also recommended since guest seating is on the Main Green. 

What is Baccalaureate?
Baccalaureate is an optional multi-faith ceremony that takes place on Saturday, May 27, 2017. Please view the Baccalaureate page for more information.

What is Campus Dance and how do I get tickets?
One of Brown's best-loved Reunion and Commencement traditions, Campus Dance brings over 11,000 people to Brown to dance the night away under a sky lit with over 600 paper lanterns. The evening joins together graduating seniors and their families, alumni of all ages, and Brown faculty and staff. Everyone enjoys meeting old classmates, seeing favorite professors, and being with friends and family. Call (401) 863-7783 for more information, or visit the Campus Dance website.

Where can my student purchase their cap & gown?
These may be purchased from the Brown Bookstore. Visit the store's website or call (401) 863-3168 for more information. Academic regalia is made of Greenweave(TM) material, which is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Undergraduates may purchase cap and gown at the start of May; no pre-order required. Students should wear cap and gown for the Baccalaureate Service on Saturday, May 27, 2017, and the Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 28, 2017.
Graduate Students should refer to Academic Regalia instructions under Special Instructions for Graduate Students.
Medical Students should refer to Academic Regalia instructions under Special Instructions for Medical Students.

Will food be available during Commencement weekend?
Yes. For a complete list of locations and times of on-campus dining halls, please visit our Campus Eateries page. 

Do my guests need a ticket for Commencement?
Tickets are not required for Commencement Ceremonies. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.  The reserved sections of open seats in the center are for the seniors, graduate and medical students when they return for the University Ceremony. 

When will my student receive their Diploma?
Graduate School and Medical School students receive their diplomas at their school's ceremony. All degrees are symbolically conferred during the University Ceremony. Undergraduate students who have completed their degree requirements in Summer 2016 or after will receive their diplomas at their diploma ceremony, which immediately follows the University Ceremony (view a list of ceremony locations).

How can I purchase a DVD of Commencement?
Collegiate Video provides Brown undergraduates a chance to revisit the most important moments of Commencement weekend, from the eloquence of Baccalaureate, through the colorful tradition of the procession, to key moments in both the College and University Ceremonies.  The official Commencement video is approximately 120 minutes long and includes favorite campus landmarks as well as the entire graduating class marching through the Van Wickle Gates.  Copies of the Commencement video on either DVD or USB Flash Drive, can be ordered directly from Collegiate Video.

How can I request a formal invitation letter for visa purposes?International students in F1/J1 nonimmigrant status who wish to invite family members to attend Commencement may request a formal invitation letter from the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS).  

Who do I contact in case of emergency?
For emergencies or urgent medical care, call (401) 863-4111 (3-4111 from a campus phone-indicated around campus by blue lights; you may also choose to use the red emergency button at these phones). Emergency medical personnel (EMS) will be available at major campus functions throughout the weekend and will be happy to assist you.
Brown Health Services, located at Andrews House at 13 Brown Street, will be open Friday from 9-5, Saturday 9-4, and Sunday from 9 to noon. 24-hour nursing advice is available by calling (401) 863-1330. 
Brown's Department of Public Safety coordinates the lost and found desk. If you find an item, bring it to Department of Public Safety headquarters, 75 Charlesfield Street. Call (401) 863-3322 regarding any lost items.

Where can I get more information throughout the weekend?
You can visit the Commencement Welcome Center, located on the first floor of the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center.

Do Mid-Year Completers participate in May Commencement?
Undergraduate mid-year completers are welcome to "walk" in either the May ceremony preceding or following their December completion. All mid-year completers should check in with their concentration directors to learn about their concentrations' specific guidelines. Diplomas are issued the May following the December completion.

Are pets welcome?
If you must bring a pet to Commencement, please remember that the weather is unpredictable and the College Green is very crowded. All pets should be kept on leashes while on campus throughout the entire weekend. Pets are not allowed indoors, unless the pet is for medical assistance.

Where is the best place to take photos?
The best place to take a photograph of your graduating student is at the afternoon diploma ceremony following the University exercises on the College Green. In addition, the Van Wickle Gates will remain open through 6 p.m. on Monday, May 29,2017. The Brown bear statue, "Bruno," on the College Green near Faunce House Arch is another favorite location for photos.

I am interested in participating in the Reunion. Where can I learn more?
Brown's alumni reunion takes place during the same weekend as Commencement. The Maddock Alumni Center at 38 Brown Street (corner of George and Brown streets) is the official hospitality center for Reunion Weekend. Reunion student staff will be available throughout the weekend to offer assistance with event locations, directions on campus and in Providence, and any questions you may have concerning Reunion Weekend.
For additional reunion information, please see the Brown Alumni Association.

What happens if it rains?
View the Storm Plan page for more information.

Where can yearbooks be purchased?
Yearbooks will be on sale outside of Sayles Hall over Commencement weekend. Please check back for specific times. 
Liber Brunensis Website (http://students.brown.edu/liber-brunensis/)