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FAQs

Are tickets needed for RIT Commencement ceremonies?

No, tickets are not needed for any of our ceremonies. However for the Academic Convocation, seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Overflow seating will be available in the Gene Polisseni Center, where the ceremony will be streamed live. All other ceremonies have ample guest seating.

What is the difference between Academic Convocation and the individual college ceremonies? Do I need to go to both?

Graduates from ALL colleges attend the Academic Convocation (Friday, May 11) and this is the ceremony with the Commencement Speaker and where students will move their tassels.  However, only candidates receiving Ph.D. degrees are INDIVIDUALLY recognized on stage at this ceremony.  Please see https://www.rit.edu/academicaffairs/commencement/academic-convocation for more information about Academic Convocation.

 

At the individual college ceremonies, ALL students are individually recognized as they cross the stage and receive their diploma. Your attendance at either ceremony is not required, but we hope you will join us.

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 7:30 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.
Who needs a cap & gown?

Caps & gowns (i.e. regalia) must be worn by all graduating students participating in Convocation & Commencement ceremonies.

How much will my regalia cost?

There is NO CHARGE for your regalia.

However, Ph.D. Candidates will be financially responsible for all rented regalia that is returned damaged or not returned at all.

Do I need to be measured or place an order for my regalia?

You DO NOT need to be measured or place an order for your regalia. Gowns will be available for you to try on at the store or you can check out the size chart.

Where do I pick up my regalia?

Regalia will be distributed from the Textbook Information desk on the 2nd floor of the Barnes & Noble @ RIT bookstore. See the Caps & Gowns page for more information.

  • Please bring any form of photo ID to make the process faster & easier.
What if I cannot pick up my regalia?

If you cannot pick up your regalia, a friend or relative may do so for you - be sure that person knows your:

  • Height
  • Approximate weight
  • College(s) you are graduating from (Ex.: CAST, CLA, GCCIS, etc.)
  • Type of degree(s) you are recieving (Ex.: associate, certificate, bachelor's, or master's)
  • Associate/Certificate/Bachelor's recipients ONLY:
    • If you are graduating with academic honors (based on your cumulative GPA at the end of fall semester in accordance with University policy).
      • Cum laude: 3.40 - 3.59
      • Magna cum laude: 3.60 - 3.79
      • Summa cum laude: 3.80 +
    • Note: This is different from being in the RIT Honors Program.
  • If you are not in the Rochester area during the above dates, please contact the regalia team at regalia@rit.edu to arrange shipping (they will email an order form to you).
    • There is no charge for the regalia; however, there is a shipping fee of $8.10 to ship to the lower 48 states. Shipping ourside the lower 48 requires a price quote. Unfortunately, we do not ship the Ph.D. caps & gowns.
Do I need to return my regalia?

Undergraduate & graduate students may keep their regalia, or recycle it. 

Ph.D. students may keep their hoods; however, Ph.D. caps & gowns are on loan for the day.

  • Options for returning your rented regalia:
    • Easiest: Return our regalia after your last ceremony at the following locations (look for the Faculty Cap & Gown Drop-off signs):
      • Gordon Field House: Return regalia to the Student Life Center (adjacent to the Field House), room 1320.
      • Gene Polisseni Center: Return regalia to the tables in the east hallway (near the SpiRIT Store, across from the concessions).
    • Alternate: If you want to have professional portraits taken in your regalia, you may also return your regalia to Barnes & Noble @ RIT, Textbook Information desk on the 2nd floor, any time during store hours.
  • Rented regalia must be reurned no later than 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
    • You will be financially responsible for rented regalia that is not returned or is damaged.
Will the ceremonies be interpreted?

The Academic Convocation and the college commencement ceremonies are American 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 Wi-Fi available?

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

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

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

Students and staff of other universities may be eligible to access the internet via eduroam. Please visit the eduroam site for information.

What if I have a question or need information?

Before Commencement

  • Academic questions should be directed to your academic department.
  • For commencement questions, e-mail academicaffairs@rit.edu or call 585-475-5334.

During Commencement Weekend

  • Information Booths will be located throughout campus for your assistance. In addition, volunteers wearing yellow ribbons will be happy to assist you.
  • TEXT RITGRAD to 888777 to receive important updates throughout Commencement Weekend. Subscribers will receive event information, as well as safety, weather, traffic and emergency alerts from RIT. Your subscription is anonymous and you will be automatically unsubscribed from the service at the end of the weekend. You can unsubscribe at any time by replying STOP.
  • And of course, right here -  our mobile friendly website. Bookmark it, get the RIT Mobile App for Apple and Android devices, or go to m.rit.edu.
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 button.  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. 

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

How do I find my way around campus?

You can visit maps.rit.edu for directions and building information. Additionally, you can download the RIT mobile app for Apple or Android here, or access the mobile-friendly website on any device at https://m.rit.edu.

Where can I smoke on campus?

RIT is a tobacco-restricted university. Use of tobacco products is restricted to designated areas shown on this map. The smoking area behind and between the Schmitt Interfaith (SMT) and the August Student Health (AUG) Centers is closest to the ceremony locations (Gordon Field House and Gene Polisseni Center).

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 May 16, 2018 will ship by the end of June. All orders received after May 16, 2018 must be submitted online and will be charged a late production fee of $3.00.

I have a disabled parking permit, do I need to make special arrangements?

Yes. Completing this form will enable us to best serve your needs. Please complete the form even if you have a disabled parking permit from your home state.  

The designated disabled parking lot is G. Specially equipped shuttle buses will be available to take you from G Lot to the Gordon Field House (GOR). A limited number of disabled parking spaces will also be available in U Lot, adjacent to the Polisseni Center (POL) for guests arriving for ceremonies there. 

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 golf carts operated by staff will be available to help elderly guests or others 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. For safety reasons after ceremonies, golf carts will not take on passengers until crowds have cleared the building entrances and the road is cleared of pedestrians.​ 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. Thank you for your patience.

For more information about parking and shuttle service during Convocation and Commencement, contact Adam Petzold at appfms@rit.edu.

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 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. For safety reasons after ceremonies, golf carts will not take on passengers until crowds have cleared the building entrances and the road is cleared of pedestrians. 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. Thank you for your patience.

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.

Where can I find line-up information for convocation and the college ceremonies?

Complete information about ceremonies, including line-up times and locations can be found on under the CEREMONIES & RECEPTIONS tab on right side of Commencement homepage.

Can family or friends come from overseas to see me graduate?

Family or friends coming from overseas will need to apply for B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas unless their country of citizenship is listed as a participant in the Visa Waiver Program. Visit the International Student Services website for more information.

How can I get real-time updates about Commencement activities?

Text RITGRAD to 888777 to receive important updates (safety, weather, traffic, etc.) throughout Commencement Weekend. Subscribers will receive event information, as well as safety, weather, traffic and emergency alerts from RIT. Your subscription is anonymous, and you will automatically be unsubscribed from the service at the end of the weekend. You can unsubscribe at any time by replying STOP.

Where can I purchase flowers or RIT commemorative t-shirts for my graduate?

Flowers and RIT Commemorative T-shirts, with the names of all graduates, will be for sale at both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center during Commencement Weekend. Flower and shirt sales benefit the RIT Student Music Association.  You may pre-order flowers and shirts here.

Will food be available on campus?

Yes, RIT Dining Services facilities and concessions stands will be open throughout the day on Friday and Saturday. Hours, location and menu information can be found at on their website.  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!

How do I apply for graduation?

Once a student is eligible to apply for graduation, the Office of the Registrar will send an email each month to complete the application for graduation in SIS, and a notification will pop up on the student’s SIS account indicating they are eligible to apply for graduation.  To access SIS, visit http://sis.rit.edu. In SIS, you can change your permanent address or setup a special one for diploma delivery, as well as edit how your name will appear on the diploma.

What if I want to change my expected graduation term?

The student will need to fill out the Change to Expected Grad Term form on the Office of the Registrar website https://www.rit.edu/academicaffairs/registrar/forms.html  If you are not graduating, but are receiving Commencement mailings, completing this form will remove you from mailing lists until your next expected Grad Term.

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 2017-2018 are eligible to graduate. Please see your advisor to confirm your eligibility.

If I complete my coursework in the fall, can I participate in the May Commencement activities at RIT?

The academic year begins with fall and ends with the summer term. If you complete your coursework in fall, spring or summer you will be included in the spring commencement of that academic year. Students completing in the following fall may be included in the spring commencement by permission of the dean of their home college or academic unit.

If you have completed all your coursework for your program, keep checking your RIT email, this website and the RIT Commencement Facebook page to stay up to date on Commencement deadlines and events. If you believe you are not receiving Commencement information, contact your college Commencement liaison. Your Commencement liaison can be found here.

What is Honors Designation?

Undergraduate students/candidates 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 or greater (*)
  • Magna Cum Laude is equal to a cumulative GPA of 3.60 - 3.79 or greater (**)
  • Summa Cum Laude is equal to a cumulative GPA of 3.80 - 4.00 or greater (***)

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/candidates 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 information about Commencement at RIT?

Commencement information is communicated in a number of ways. If a student is eligible, or has applied for graduation, they will receive the following:

  • A ‘Save the Date’ postcard is mailed to the student’s permanent address prior to the Thanksgiving break. An electronic version is sent via email to students with an international permanent address. You can find or change your permanent address in SIS, as well as edit the name that will appear on your diploma and create a special diploma mailing address.
  • The schedule of Commencement ceremonies is typically posted here in late fall semester. Information about the receptions held by colleges and some departments is posted in March.
  • The RIT Commencement Facebook page also posts timely reminders and answers to commonly asked questions.
  • A Graduation Fair is held 100 days before commencement.
  • An e-newsletter will be sent from your specific college at RIT during spring semester. Newsletters are posted here as soon as they are available.
  • A printed Commencement Brochure is mailed to the student’s permanent address in March and a PDF version will be available here.

You can also contact your college Commencement liaison. Your Commencement liaison can be found here.

When will I receive my diploma?

Approximately 10 weeks after graduation, you will receive your diploma in the mail from the Registrar's Office. Please be sure your mailing information is correct on SIS. If desired, you can set up a special diploma mailing address.

Graduates