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General Information for Commencement 2016

Additional Information

For information on commencement, call the associate vice president for Student Services office at 401-825-2179.

Arrival Information

Field house doors will open no earlier than 3:30 p.m. Guests should plan accordingly for inclement/warm weather. Guests must be seated in the field house by 4:15 p.m. to allow the graduation line of march to enter the field house gymnasium without disruption. Prime seating is available to those guests who plan their arrival accordingly.

The commencement ceremony will conclude about 7:30 p.m.


For the safety and security of those attending commencement, CCRI is restricting the size of bags that will be allowed into the Vincent A. Cullen Field House on Friday, May 20. Any item larger than 12 inches by 12 inches including, but not limited to, large bags, backpacks, packages and large purses, will not be permitted inside and should be left at home. Anyone carrying such an item will be asked to return it to his or her vehicle. These are precautionary measures and are not in response to a specific threat. Thank you for your cooperation.

Caps and Gowns

commencementGraduates do not need to order a cap and gown. The Bookstore receives a variety of sizes from its vendor. If you think that you may need a special size, please be sure to contact the Bookstore – 401-825-2134 in Warwick; 401-333-7011 in Lincoln, 401-455-6101 in Providence or 401-851-1610 in Newport – as soon as possible to give them time to order you one.

Lincoln, Newport and Providence students may pick up their caps and gowns at their respective bookstores from May 16 to 18. Bookstores are open from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. After May 18, all caps and gowns from these campuses will go to the Warwick Bookstore, which will be open in the evening on May 19 and 20. Warwick students may pick up their caps and gowns at the Warwick Bookstore May 16 to 20. If you plan to pick up your cap and gown before rehearsal, please be on campus by 3 p.m. to allow yourself time. All outstanding debts to CCRI must be paid in full before you can pick up your cap and gown. A student or comparable identification is needed to pick up your cap and gown.


Guests are encouraged to consider whether their young children will be able to sustain a long afternoon and evening at commencement. Doors open for guests at 3:30 p.m. and the ceremony should conclude around 7:30 p.m. This can be a lengthy period of time for children to sit quietly. All children except infants are required to have an admission ticket, and we encourage those with children to sit near the rear of the field house in case they need to step outside with an unhappy child. No baby carriages or strollers are allowed inside the field house.

Commencement Ceremony Etiquette

To show respect for and to honor all our graduates, we ask that all graduates and their guests remain in their seats throughout the entire ceremony, which is expected to conclude between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Administration and graduates will exit first. Guests will follow after the recessional ends.

Guests will not be allowed on the gymnasium floor during graduation. Security guards will be stationed at each bleacher aisle and next to the stage. They will ask guests to remain seated. Guests may take photographs from their seats; however, they will not be allowed in the stage area. A professional photographer will be near the stage to take photographs of all graduates as they approach the stage and as they receive their diploma covers.

Commencement Date

Commencement exercises will be held Friday, May 20, 2016, at the Knight Campus in Warwick. Graduates should report on campus no later than 3:30 p.m. The commencement procession will begin at 4:15 p.m.

Commencement Participation Policy

All students who need no more than six credit hours to complete their degree requirements may participate in the May commencement ceremony. Summer applicants who have six or fewer credit hours to complete and who wish to attend the preceding May ceremony must apply and indicate their preference to "walk through" in the appropriate section on their Intent to Graduate form.

Intent to Graduate form

Commencement Symbolism

Much of the symbolism found in academic ceremonies dates back to the Paris and Bologna universities of the 12th century, which were modeled on medieval craft guilds. Symbolism carried down through the intervening centuries continues to reflect the status and function of positions in academia and administration.


The banners behind the stage feature the colors representative of areas of study completed by the CCRI graduating class. Banner colors featured for CCRI graduates are:

Arts - White
Business - Drab
Dental Studies - Lilac
Education - Light Blue
Engineering - Orange
Fine Arts - Brown
Health and Rehabilitative Sciences - Sage Green
Law - Purple
Nursing - Apricot
Science - Gold
Social Service - Citron

You may notice a wider variety of colors represented in the hoods worn by faculty, staff, administration and distinguished guests. The color of the velvet edge represents their academic discipline, while the satin lining carries the colors of the institution granting the degree. Variation in the size and shape of the hoods represents the achievement of various advanced degrees. Doctoral hoods are the most elaborate and weighty.


The mace is carried by the grand marshal to symbolize the marshal’s authority in formal protocol. The CCRI mace was presented to the college at the 1965 inauguration of the first president, Dr. William F. Flanagan, by the Honorable Florence K. Murray, associate justice of the Superior Court. It was, from then on, known as the Judge Murray Mace. The mace itself was designed and crafted by local artisan Alfredo Sciarrotta of Newport.

Medallion (Chain of Office)

The president wears the presidential medallion on ceremonial occasions, symbolizing her civil position and responsibility for carrying out the mission and traditions of the college. The medallion was created, designed and donated by the talented employees at the Providence facility of Herff Jones Co. of Indiana Inc.

There are two components that make up the presidential medallion. The primary medallion depicts the college seal. The secondary medallion, a finely crafted combination of metal and gemstones, includes the title of “President” and six gemstones. Four crystals represent each of the four campuses, and two green stones symbolize "access and opportunity."

Delayed Broadcast

Public Access will air CCRI's commencement ceremony with a delayed broadcast from noon to 2 p.m. on May 28 and June 4 on Cox Channel 15 and Verizon Channel 34.


graduates with diplomaDiploma covers will be awarded to graduates at commencement. Diplomas will be mailed to all spring and summer graduates approximately eight weeks after grades have been certified.

Disability Assistance for Graduates

Graduates needing special accommodations for rehearsal day and commencement must identify themselves prior to rehearsal day by calling the Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Services at 401-825-2179 as soon as possible.

Disabled Guests

Ask attendants on duty to direct you to drop-off access to the field house.

View a map of the field house layout.

Dual Degrees

If you are receiving a dual degree, you will walk across the stage once; however, both degree accomplishments will be announced when the dean reads your name. Your name will appear in the commencement program under each degree/certificate awarded.

Extra Guest Admission Tickets

Because of the large number of graduates who have signed up to march at our commencement ceremony on May 20, we have reached capacity and are unable to provide extra white tickets for guest admission to the Vincent A. Cullen Field House.

Purple tickets for admission to the Bobby Hackett Theater, which will have live streaming video of the commencement ceremony, will be available starting Monday, May 16, in the Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Services at the Knight Campus in Warwick; in the Testing Center at the Flanagan Campus in Lincoln; and in Enrollment Services at the Liston Campus in Providence and the Newport County Campus. Graduates picking up purple tickets must show their student ID.

On commencement day, if seats become available in the field house after the graduates have entered and been seated, those with purple tickets may be invited over to the field house on a space-available basis.

Graduation Awards

Honors, High Honors and Highest Honors designations are determined based on students' GPAs as of Dec. 31, 2015. Academic achievement is recognized at graduation in the following manner:

Designated students have achieved at least a 3.25 grade point average.
High Honors:
Designated students have achieved at least a 3.50 grade point average.
Highest Honors:
Designated students have achieved at least a 3.75 grade point average.
Kappa Beta Delta:
Kappa Beta Delta is an international honor society for the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs accredited business programs. The purposes of this society are to encourage and recognize scholarship and accomplishment among students of business, management and administration pursuing associate degrees and to encourage and promote personal and professional improvement and a life distinguished by honorable service to humankind. To be considered for invitation, candidates must have completed 15 semester hours of credit with a minimum of six credit hours completed in business courses. The academic ranking of those considered must place them in the upper 20 percent of their class, with a minimum grade point average of 3.00.
Phi Theta Kappa:
Phi Theta Kappa is a national honor society for community and junior colleges throughout the United States. Its intent is to recognize the most outstanding students at two-year institutions. In order to be initiated into Phi Theta Kappa at the Community College of Rhode Island, a student must have applied for membership, achieved a 3.75 grade point average or above and be of good character.
Psi Beta:
Psi Beta is the national honor society in psychology for students at community and junior colleges. The requirements for admission include a 3.00 cumulative average, two courses in psychology (including general psychology) with a "B" or better and participation in volunteer community service or other psychology-related activities.
Honors Program:
Honors Program graduates must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.25 and complete at least four honors projects to earn this special recognition.
Student veterans:
Student veterans wear a red, white and blue cord to signify their service to their country.

Graduation Photographs

GradImages is the official photographer for commencement. Proofs will be be available to view online and can be ordered online, by phone or by mail. GradImages can be contacted at 1-800-261-2576 or by email.

Registering with GradImages provides the company with the information it needs to deliver your graduation proofs to you in a timely manner. You also may provide the company with email addresses of up to six friends and family members to allow them to celebrate in the accomplishment.

Guests with Hearing Loss

The event will be closed-captioned on large screens. Please call 401-825-2179 to arrange seating for guests needing this service.

Honor Cords

Beginning the week of May 16, honor cords will be awarded to students attaining highest honors (3.75 - 4.00), high honors (3.50 - 3.74) and honors (3.25 - 3.49). Honors are based on a student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) for the semester ending Dec. 31, 2015. Cords may be picked up in the associate vice president for Student Services Office in Warwick, Advising and Counseling in Lincoln, and Enrollment Services in Providence and Newport. Hours for pickup are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Evening hours for pickup will be from 5:30 to 6:30 on May 19 in the Commons area in Warwick.

I Am No Longer Planning to March ...

If you indicated on your Intent to Graduate form that you planned to march in the ceremony but have changed your mind, please contact the Office of Enrollment Services at 401-825-2003.

If I Am Receiving a Dual Degree, Can I March in Whatever Program I Want?

No, you should declare on your application for graduation the degree/program in which you want to march.

Late Arrival Seating

Late arrival seating for guests with tickets will be made available in the Bobby Hackett Theater for those with admission tickets.

Live Streaming

The commencement ceremony will be streamed live starting at 4 p.m.

Name in the Commencement Program

The commencement program will reflect the names of all graduates who have filed their Intent to Graduate form by 4 p.m. on the April 29 deadline.


Graduates attending the commencement will enter the Knight Campus at 400 East Ave., Warwick. Upon entering the main driveway, turn left at the top of the hill to the student parking lot to the east of the main building. Graduates entering from Commonwealth Avenue will enter the lot from the easterly end. Uniformed officers will assist with parking. [See driving directions]

Two marked police cruisers will be available for the transportation of graduates or guests unable to walk to the megastructure or field house. Guests driving a vehicle with a handicapped tag should advise the officers at the blocked area of B-Road of their need to park close to the building. They will be asked to proceed to the lower lot of the field house and park in the lot that is reserved for this purpose. This will allow easy access to the ground floor of the field house through the power handicap door located on this level. Cars parked at this location must display a state-issued certificate.

The north lot at the top of A-Road will be reserved for dignitaries and VIP guests. An officer will be stationed near this parking lot to assist in assigning spaces.

Faculty will be allowed to use the gated faculty parking lot. If transport is needed at that location, the officer on scene must be notified.

Guests arriving for the graduation will park in the student lot. All guests will walk to the front of the field house located to the rear of the main building. Officers will be stationed at that location for assistance.

Upon leaving commencement, vehicles will have the option of exiting via the main road, where Warwick police will assist in an orderly departure, or out C-Road to Commonwealth Avenue to Toll Gate Road.


Light refreshments will be available in the Commons area immediately following commencement exercises.


Rehearsal day will be held Thursday, May 19, 2016, at the Knight Campus in Warwick. Graduates should report on campus no later than 3:30 p.m. The rehearsal will begin at 4:15 p.m.

You should plan to attend rehearsal on Thursday. Report to your assigned robing room (TBD). Rehearsal will conclude about 6 p.m. Refreshments provided by the CCRI Alumni Association will be available immediately following.

Caps and gowns are not worn at rehearsal. Honor cords may be picked up from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Commons area.

Room Assignments for Rehearsal/Commencement

Graduates who are participating in the line of march at rehearsal, May 19, and at commencement, May 20, must report by 3:30 p.m. The commencement procession will begin at 4:15 p.m. sharp.

View robing classroom assignments.
View a map of robing classrooms.


Graduates may invite up to two guests to attend commencement exercises. Admission tickets are free and will be available at the CCRI Bookstore when picking up caps and gowns. They are required for admission to the field house and will be collected at the door. Please plan accordingly when inviting guests to your commencement; you can be guaranteed only two admission tickets. Fire marshal regulations require every guest, including children (except infants), to have a ticket. There is no re-entry to the field house.

Please be sure you will be able to attend the ceremony before you indicate that you will march, as we reserve seating for all gradates who sign up to march. When graduates are no-shows on the day of commencement, we have empty seats that other guests could have used. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. If you indicated that you planned to march in the ceremony but since have changed your mind, please contact the Office of Enrollment Services at 401-825-2003.

A limited number of additional admission tickets for the ceremony may be available beginning Monday, May 16. A maximum of two per marching graduate will be permitted. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. At that time, purple-colored tickets also will be available for guests to be seated in the Bobby Hackett Theater, which will have live streaming video of the commencement ceremony.

Graduates picking up extra tickets or tickets for seating in the Bobby Hackett Theater must show their student ID.

Guests who have purple tickets are guaranteed seating in the Bobby Hackett Theater. If seats become available in the field house after the graduates have entered and been seated, those with purple tickets may be invited over to the field house on a space-available basis.


Upon certification of grades, final transcripts should be available approximately two weeks after commencement. You will not be an official graduate until you have fulfilled all requirements.

What is Phi Theta Kappa (PTK)?


Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society organization for community and junior colleges throughout the United States and abroad. Its intent is to recognize the most successful students academically. To be eligible for entrance to PTK at the Community College of Rhode Island, one must have a 3.75 index or above with 24 to 48 earned credits, be a matriculating degree-seeking student and be of good character. Membership in Phi Theta Kappa is regarded as a high honor and is noted on a student's transcript. Students are invited to join Phi Theta Kappa each October and February based on their GPA and credits of the preceding semester. [Phi Theta Kappa website ]

What is the Dress Code for Commencement?

There is no formal dress code. Most people dress "smart, casual." Graduates should wear appropriate clothing. Footwear should be comfortable to accommodate the half-hour march from the main building to the field house. Please note that the commencement march includes stairs.

Wheelchair Guests

Ask attendants on duty to direct you to drop-off access to the field house. Designated seating is available in the field house for wheelchair guests and other guests traveling with them.

Contact Information

Dr.  Ronald SchertzDr. Ronald L. Schertz
Associate VP, Student Services
Marketing & Communications
Knight Campus
3rd Floor, main building
Tel: 401-825-2181
Fax: 401-825-2365

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Last Updated: 12/29/16