Frequently Asked Questions

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The procession steps off promptly at 9:45 a.m. Seniors must line up on Waterman Street no later than 9:30 a.m. Graduate students must line up by 9 a.m. 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 p.m.

In general, the University ceremony ends on the College Green around 2 p.m., with individual departmental diploma ceremonies occurring afterward, from approximately 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 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.

For undergraduate students, there is no formal rehearsal for Commencement. 

There will be a live video broadcast of the Procession, College ceremony and University ceremony to the College Green, Salomon Center and Sayles Hall. Many other ceremonies will also be livestreamed on the web.

Official graduation announcements can be purchased at the Brown Bookstore. Visit the store's website or call 401-863-3168 for more information.

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 Reunion. Room reservations are now being accepted online. 

Off-campus: For information about off-campus hotels and other lodgings, please refer to Brown's Travel Portal Page.

Yes, all students need to apply to graduate via Banner web. Instructions for doing so can be found on the For Students page.

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 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. 

Baccalaureate is an optional multifaith ceremony for undergraduates only that takes place on Saturday. Please view the Baccalaureate page for more information.

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.

Academic regalia should be worn for the Baccalaureate Service on Saturday and the Commencement ceremonies on Sunday. Commissioning students and those with military service have the option to wear formal military attire in place of the cap and gown if they so choose and if permitted according to their status with the military. 

You can purchase your academic regalia (cap and gown) at the Grad Fair on April 22 from 11-2 or at the Brown Bookstore. Visit the store's website or contact Michelle Mare at michelle_mare(at) if you have any questions.

Tickets are not required for any of the Commencement ceremonies. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The reserved sections of open seats in the center at the University Ceremony are for the seniors and graduate and medical students. 

All degrees are symbolically conferred during the University ceremony. Undergraduate students who have completed their degree requirements in Summer 2019 or later will receive their diplomas at their diploma ceremony, which immediately follows the University ceremony.

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.

International students in F1/J1 nonimmigrant status who wish to invite family members to attend Commencement should contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) for more information. Visitor may also request a letter by filling out the tourist visa letter request form.

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 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 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon. Twenty-four-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 at 75 Charlesfield St. Call 401-863-3322 regarding any lost items.

You can visit our Welcome Kiosk located on the College Green. 

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.

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.

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. The Brown bear statue, "Bruno," on the College Green near Faunce House Arch is another favorite location for photos.

Brown's alumni Reunion takes place during the same weekend as Commencement. The Maddock Alumni Center at 38 Brown Street (at the 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.

View the Storm Plan page for more information.

Yearbooks will be on sale outside of Sayles Hall over Commencement weekend. Please check back for specific times. 
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