Commencement day at Brown University is a time of great ceremony, pageantry, and rejoicing, much of it representing traditions that are centuries old.
The day begins with a procession during which the candidates for degrees march across the College Green, led by the chief marshal party, Brown band, presidential party, Corporation, senior administration, and faculty. In addition, alumni who have returned for reunions march with their classes. Once the last person is through the Van Wickle Gates on the front green, the procession inverts and continues down College Street with each participant applauding the others.
The Medical School adjourns to the First Unitarian Church on Benefit and Benevolent streets. The Graduate School continues its procession to two locations, holding the Doctoral Convocation on Simmons Quadrangle and the Master's Convocation on Pembroke Field. The procession begins at 9:45 a.m.
The senior class marches down College, Benefit, and Waterman streets to the First Baptist Church in America and assembles on the lawn. Family and friends wait on the College Green, where large screens afford a continuous view of the proceedings. Afterward, the seniors walk up the hill and take seats on the College Green for the University ceremony.
Parents, relatives, and friends of seniors are advised to find seats on the College Green during the opening procession. The best opportunity to take photographs of graduating seniors is at the diploma ceremonies in the afternoon. In addition, the Van Wickle Gates will remain open for photographs until 6:00 p.m. on Monday.
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