For Families & Friends

The Events:


Forums led by Brown faculty, alumni, medical professionals and honorary degree candidates at 9am, 11am and 12:30pm.


The procession: Doctoral and master’s students pass through the Van Wickle Gates on their way to Simmons Quadrangle, the site of the Doctoral Ceremony, and Pembroke Field, the site of the Master's Ceremony. The procession begins at 9:45 am.

Graduate School Ceremonies: The actual ceremonies run about 80 minutes. PhD and master’s students receive their actual diplomas at the ceremonies. Friends and family attending the doctoral ceremony should plan to enter Simmons Quad via the arch on Thayer Street, which is between Waterman and George Streets. The procession and Doctoral Ceremony will be available via livesteam.

University Ceremony: begins around 1:15 pm on the Main Green and is optional for graduate students and their families. The honorary and symbolic degrees are awarded here.

Departmental Ceremonies & Receptions: begin at 2:30 pm at various locations across campus. Undergraduates receive their diplomas at these ceremonies. Some ceremonies include graduate students. Please check with your department.

Storm Plan: the weather in New England in late May is varied and unpredictable. Dress appropriately for outside events. The storm plan will only go into effect in very severe conditions.  If in effect, there will be no University procession; instead, PhD candidates should report directly to the ground level of the Metcalf building by 9:15 a.m. and Master's candidates to Alumnae Hall by 9:15 a.m. If the Storm Plan is in effect, an announcement would be made on the Brown homepage. In all weather, the ceremony may be viewed by webstreaming at

Accommodations & Dining

  • Most Providence hotels have a 2-night minimum.
  • Make dinner reservations in advance.
  • Several “grab and go” locations open on campus over the weekend, including food trucks next to Pembroke Field.
  • Commencement Day is long – bring snacks and water!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle - several water stations available on campus.


  • Parking is a challenge – plan extra time to find a spot.
  • All University lots open beginning at 5 pm on Friday.
  • University “borrows” lots from local neighbors for Commencement Day.
  • Several street closures on both Saturday and Sunday.
  • For the doctoral ceremony: Look for parking in the Power Street garage, street parking in the vicinity, the lot at the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center (OMAC) or at the Hope High School lot.
  • For the master's ceremony: Look for parking at the conveniently located Olney-Margolies Athletic Center (OMAC). 

Guests with Special Needs
Handicapped parking is available by request in advance by filling out the Handicapped Parking Pass Form. The University does not rent wheelchairs, however most of campus is accessible. Student and Employee Accessibility Services office offers shuttles and assistance. There are sections for accessible/ADA seating at the Graduate School Ceremonies. See the Accessibility Accommodations page for additional information.