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URI Graduation Ceremonies This Weekend

Graduation commencement is Saturday, followed by the undergraduate commencement on Sunday.

With the wail of a single bagpipe from the front of the procession, the calls of the University’s Color Guard, the triumphant trumpets and roll of the drums, the soft sounds of thousands of footsteps encircling and crossing the quadrangle, all ringed by the resonant cheers and applause of families and friends, the University of Rhode Island’s 126th Commencement will soon be under way.

The grand procession, like none other that occurs throughout the year, signifies the day for thousands of undergraduates to commence their next stage in life. It is an opportunity to celebrate the success and accomplishments of students and the University as a whole.

With a crowd of about 15,000 people gathered on the quad, URI's annual commencement is one of the biggest events held in the State of Rhode Island. Commencement weekend is May 19 and 20, 2012. Find more information about the ceremonies here.

Procession pageantry prevails

  • 12:20 p.m. Bagpiper begins, escorts 50th reunion class
  • Class of 1962 is seated
  • University Color Guard presents colors and leads Academic Procession
  • Grand Marshal follows carrying the University Mace
  • Platform group, including the president, honorary degree recipients, and government and university representatives
  • Faculty Marshal
  • University Excellence Award Winners
  • Arts and Sciences Faculty
  • Professional School Faculty
  • Graduate degree candidates
  • Undergraduate degree candidates escorted by student carrying their college banner
  • The Grand Marshal then introduces President David M. Dooley to preside over the ceremony.

Colors mark degrees
The sounds of commencement are coupled with the splendid swirl of colors. Whether you’re a student strutting in your first, a family member or friend eagerly eyeing a loved one in your fifth, or a faculty member promenading in your 10th, color is crucial on commencement.

Bright gonfalons wave from staging to represent each of the University’s nine colleges, and encircling the quad are flags associated with Rhode Island’s early history, many of its towns, and many of the nations with which the University has developed relationships.

Faculty members are regaled in robes and colored hoods distinctive to their colleges and degrees, as the sea of black-cloaked graduating seniors is splashed with the colors of tassels signifying the different degrees to be awarded:

  • Arts and Sciences: B.A., white; B.S., golden yellow; B.M., pink; B.F.A., brown
  • Business Administration: drab (light brown)
  • Continuing Education: B.G.S., black and white
  • Engineering: orange
  • Environment and Life Sciences: maize
  • Human Science and Services: red
  • Nursing: apricot
  • Pharmacy: olive

Miscellaneous Facts

  • About 58 percent (1,720) of the students to receive undergraduate degrees are women and 42 percent (1,243) are men.
  • Graduate degrees will be awarded to 57 percent (414) women and 43 percent (318) men.
  • About 63 percent (1,866) of the undergraduate and 64 percent (522) of the graduate degrees will be awarded to students who are from Rhode Island.
  • The oldest graduate student is 70 and the youngest is 22. The oldest undergraduate student is 67, and the youngest is 19.
  • Sixteen Veterans and eight sets of twins will receive undergraduate degrees.

Undergraduate Commencement Speaker

Acclaimed author and human rights attorney with a passion for justice and defense of the disenfranchised, Marlen Suyapa Bodden will speak at the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

In recognition of her unflinching support of those whose voices are rarely heard, for sharing researched stories of the past to reflect on the present and for her unique contributions to the nation, she will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws.

Graduate School Commencement Speaker

University of Rhode Island Psychology Professor Lisa Harlow will address the graduate students at commencement ceremonies. Harlow is well known for her scholarship, leadership, and teaching related to increasing interest, retention, performance, and diversity in quantitative science.

Student Undergraduate Commencement Speaker

Classical Studies major and stellar student Mary McGunigal of Warwick, was chosen to address her peers at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Three months later, she will enter the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Release courtesy of the University of Rhode Island Department of Communications and Marketing.

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