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FAQs

I am a student. Where can I pick up my cap and gown? Do I need to pay for them?

Caps and gowns must be worn by all graduating students and may be picked up on the second floor of the college bookstore, Barnes & Noble @ RIT (100 Park Point Drive).

Starting Monday, April 27, 2015, regalia will be distributed during normal store hours:

Monday - Saturday - 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday - 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Please note:

  • Oak Hall, our supplier of academic regalia, has created earth-friendly gowns and caps made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and made in the USA.
  • There is no charge for the caps and gowns. Undergraduate and graduate students, other than Ph.D. students, may keep their caps and gowns.
  • Ph.D. students may keep their hoods; however, Ph.D. gowns and tams are on loan for the day and must be returned to Barnes & Noble @ RIT after the ceremony or ceremonies.
  • You do not need to place an order or be measured.
  • If you cannot pick up your regalia, a friend or relative may do so for you -- be sure that person knows your height and approximate weight, the college you are graduating from (i.e. CAST, CLA, GCCIS, etc.), and the type of degree you are receiving (i.e. associate, bachelor’s, masters or doctorate) and if you are graduating with honors.
  • If you are not in the Rochester area during the above dates, please contact Linda Marsden at lmsbks@rit.edu to arrange shipping (She will e-mail you an order form). There is no charge for the regalia; however, there is a shipping fee of $7.56 to ship to the lower 48 states. (Shipping outside the lower 48 will need a price quote.). Also note that we do not ship the Ph.D. gowns and tams.
Will the Academic Convocation or college ceremonies be available via webcast?

The Academic Convocation and the college ceremonies hosted in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center will be live streamed over the internet. A link will be available from the Commencement home page.

Where can I purchase DVDs of Academic Convocation and College Ceremonies?

DVDs of each college ceremony and the Academic Convocation are available for purchase. The DVD for the Academic Convocation will include the official conferral of degrees as well as all platform speeches. The DVD for each college ceremony will include all platform speeches and the individual recognition of graduates.

DVDs of a college ceremony and the Academic Convocation are $26.00 each or you can purchase both together for $42.00, a savings of $10.00. All prices include tax and shipping.

Click here to purchase RIT Convocation and College Ceremony DVDs.  DVDs may also be ordered by calling 585-475-2516 or by completing an order form and submitting it via mail or fax. DVDs can also be purchased at ceremony locations during Commencement Weekend. Orders received and postmarked prior to June 1st will ship by the end of June. All orders received after June 1st must be submitted online and will be charged a late production fee of $3.00

Where can family members of international students obtain invitation letters for visitor’s visas to attend Commencement Weekend?

The International Student Services Office is happy to assist students who need invitation letters in support of obtaining Visitor’s visas for their family members to attend commencement activities.  Please complete and submit the Invitation Letter Request Form.  Students can pick up their letters in the International Student Services Office one week from submission of the request.  The International Student Services Office is located in the Student Alumni Union, mezzanine level, room 2330.  The office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Safety and Security

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure a safe and enjoyable event, all bags will be checked prior to entering the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center. 

As always, the following items are prohibited:

  • Air horns, balls, balloons, beach balls, laser pointers, noise makers, inflatables, alcohol.
  • Firearms, explosives, fireworks, sparklers

Service dogs are the only animals permitted inside of Commencement Weekend venues.

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted in any of RIT’s facilities.

Lost and found locations will be available in both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center.  At the end of each day, all items will be turned over to RIT Public Safety.  If you lose an item, please call (585) 475-2853.  The Public Safety Dispatcher will take your information and contact you if the item is found.

Call boxes indicated by blue lights are located across the campus.  If you need assistance of any type, please open the box and push the red box.  You will be immediately connected with an RIT Public Safety dispatcher. 

First aid stations will be located in in both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center.  Please contact an usher if you need assistance. 

What is the difference between the Academic Convocation and the college commencement ceremonies?

Kicking off Commencement Weekend, the Academic Convocation recognizes graduates from all of the colleges at RIT with a focus on the graduating class as a group. Graduates process and recess with their college and during the ceremony, they will be recognized as a group by college (i.e. would all the graduates from the College of Liberal Arts please stand and be recognized, etc.). RIT's president officially confers degrees and addresses the graduates.  The ceremony includes a keynote speaker, as well as student speakers.

Each college then hosts its own commencement ceremony for its graduates. At this ceremony, the focus is on the individual as each graduate crosses the stage and is personally introduced and recognized for his or her accomplishments. Graduating students should plan to wear their caps and gowns at both the Academic Convocation and their individual college commencement ceremony.

How many tickets can I have for the ceremonies?

Tickets are not needed for any of the college commencement ceremonies and there is no limit to the number of guests who may attend. Details about seating for the Academic Convocation will be announced when the speaker is confirmed. Seating for all ceremonies is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Some departments may request an RSVP for their receptions; you will be contacted directly by the department if that is the case. 

Will professional photographs be available?

GradImages is the official photographer for Commencement.  Pre-register with GradImages by visiting www.gradimages.com and clicking on the Pre-Event Registration at the top of the page.  You may register your e-mail and up to 6 e-mails of loved ones who would like to view and order photos.  Proofs will be available after each ceremony and may be viewed online.  Photos may be ordered online, by phone, or by mail. If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service at 800-261-2576 or by email at giservice@gradimages.net.

What about guests who need special seating?

Both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center are accessible to those with special needs. Please check in with an usher upon your arrival and he or she will work with you and your guests to accommodate your needs. Please note, however, that there is no reserved special needs seating sections in either facility.

Will the ceremonies be interpreted?

The Academic Convocation and the college commencement ceremonies are sign-language interpreted and real-time captioned.  Both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center are equipped with an FM hearing assistance system.  Receivers will be available at the ticket office in the main lobby of each building.

Is WiFi available?

People without an RIT username can connect to the new "rit_guest" wireless network, open a Web browser, and follow the on-screen prompts to get Internet access. Please note the following about this new service:

  • Guests must have a phone number capable of receiving text messages in order to register (carrier text message rates may apply).
  • Students, employees, and others with RIT computer accounts should continue to use the encrypted ritwpa2 wireless network.
  • RIT guest access prohibits access to some internal RIT network resources.

If you have any questions about guest wireless at RIT, please contact the ITS Service Desk at servicedesk@rit.edu or 585-475-4357.

What if I have a question or need information?

Prior to Commencement Weekend, you can e-mail us at academicaffairs@rit.edu or call (585)475-5334 with questions. 

During Commencement Weekend, ushers will be posted at each ceremony and information booths will be located around campus for your assistance. You also can get information at any time by asking individuals wearing yellow ribbons.

How early should we plan to arrive?

For the Academic Convocation, you should plan to arrive on campus at least 90 minutes before the program begins.  Doors will open at 8 a.m. for the Convocation.

For the college commencement ceremonies:

If you are a graduate, you should consult the line-up information included on the ceremony schedule.

Guests should know that we have ceremonies occurring all day on both Friday and Saturday, so you may have to wait if there is a ceremony in progress when you arrive. There is ample seating for all guests; seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Plan to arrive on campus about an hour prior to the start of each ceremony to allow ample time for parking and shuttling to the ceremony sites. If you have special seating needs, you should plan to arrive ninety (90) minutes in advance of the start of the ceremony. The campus is large and there is a lot of walking involved.

How do I get to campus?

For directions to campus, as well as an interactive campus map, please visit the maps page on our admissions website

I have a disabled parking permit, where should I park?

For a disabled parking permit please fill out this form at RIT Parking and Transportation Services even if you have a disabled parking permit from your home state. As noted above, we offer shuttle service from all of the parking lots to the college ceremony locations and various points throughout campus. In addition, we have a limited number of golf carts operated by RIT staff volunteers to help transport elderly guests or those who have mobility difficulties. Carts can be requested from any of the information booths, ceremony locations, or the main shuttle drop-off at Parking Lot D. Please be aware that you may have to wait for a golf cart immediately prior to and after the Academic Convocation and college ceremonies when demand is at its highest.

How much walking is involved in getting around campus?

Please note that our campus is large and that there is considerable walking involved from all locations to shuttle stops. We encourage you to consider the distances you may have to walk and to wear comfortable shoes. A limited number of people movers (golf carts operated by staff) will be available to help elderly guests or guests with special needs. Carts can be requested from any of the information booths, ceremony locations, or the main shuttle drop-off at Parking Lot D. Please be aware that you may have to wait for a golf cart immediately prior to and after the Academic Convocation and college ceremonies when demand is at its highest.

Do you have wheelchairs available on campus?

We do not have wheelchairs available on campus. You may rent wheelchairs from Monroe Wheelchair, (888)546-8595, Fonte Surgical Supply, (585)338-1000, or Westside Medical  Supply, (585)227-8750.

Will food be available on campus?

Yes, a variety of dining options will be available at several locations across campus.  Many colleges or departments host commencement receptions that include refreshments.

What should I wear?

Dress for your comfort – business casual is most common.  Both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center are air-conditioned.  Our best advice? Wear comfortable walking shoes!

Who is eligible to participate in the Academic Convocation and college commencement ceremonies?

Students who will complete their degree requirements within the academic year of 2014-2015 are eligible to graduate. Please see your advisor to confirm your eligibility.

What is Honors Designation?

Undergraduate students graduating with honors are indicated with an * in the Commencement Book.  The designations that appear in the Commencement Book are based on a student’s GPA at the end of the preceding fall semester.  Final honors designations will be posted to the undergraduate’s academic record and reflected on his/her transcript based upon the cumulative GPA upon certification of the completion of degree requirements.  Because the final honors designations include all degree requirements, they may be different from those indicated in the Commencement Book.

The numerical criteria for graduation with honors are as follows:

  • Cum Laude is equal to a cumulative GPA of 3.40-3.59 (*)
  • Magna Cum Laude is equal to a cumulative GPA of 3.60-3.79 (**)
  • Summa Cum Laude is equal to a cumulative GPA of 3.80-4.0 (***)

To graduate from the RIT Honors Program, the undergraduate student must fulfill all degree program requirements and Honors Program requirements as outlined below:

  • 3.6 or higher GPA
  • Successful completion of 12 honors points, either Honors Courses or other activities
  • Successful participation in 20 hours of Complementary Learning activities annually

Undergraduate students graduating from the RIT Honors Program are designated in the Commencement Book with the § symbol.  The designations that appear in the Commencement Book are based on the undergraduate student’s progress in the RIT Honors Program as of the end of the preceding fall semester.  Final RIT Honors Program designations will be noted on the student’s transcript and may be different than the designations in the Commencement Book. 

When will I receive my degree?

Approximately 10 weeks after graduation, you will receive your degree in the mail from the Registrar's Office. Please be sure your mailing information is correct on SIS.