Ceremony

Saturday, May 19, 2018
East Campus Athletic Village at 8:15 a.m.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute proudly celebrates its 212th Commencement Ceremony. We congratulate the graduates and welcome families and guests to celebrate the day it's all been leading up to! Admission for ticketed guests begins at 7 a.m. The graduate procession will begin promptly at 815 a.m. on the Stadium Field. Each graduate will be individually recognized as he or she crosses the stage. Degrees will be awarded first to Doctoral candidates, followed by Master’s candidates. These students will receive their diplomas in alphabetical order within schools. Bachelor’s candidates will cross the stage in alphabetical order by school. The ceremony will be held rain or shine and last approximately three hours.

Ticket Policy

Tickets are required to attend all areas of the Commencement ceremony. Each graduate will receive seven tickets to the East Campus Athletic Village Stadium. In the event of inclement weather the ceremony will be held in the Houston Field House. Three of the seven tickets, colored red, will allow guests into the Field House. The remaining four tickets, colored gray, may be used at closed-circuit television viewing locations.

Additional tickets are not available through the Commencement office or the Registrar’s office; please ask your classmates and friends for any they might not be using if you are in need of more.

A ticket will be required for admission, regardless of venue. Furthermore, there is no re-entry allowed. Video sites will only be open if the ceremony is moved indoors because of inclement weather. No special tickets are needed for the handicapped-accessible seating located on the stadium floor.

Seating Options

You will have the option of sitting on the Field (at the same level as the stage), or in the elevated seating in the Stadium. There will be 5,700 guest seats available on the Field and 3,800 seats available in the Stadium. As you enter the East Campus Athletic Village, you will need to decide on a seating option so the ushers can direct you. Both seating areas will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Guests with tickets are allowed to sit in the Arena of the East Campus Athletic Village, which is air-conditioned. This indoor seating is ticketed. There will be a large screen for viewing the ceremony.

Handicapped-accessible seating is located on the stadium floor. Please see the ushers on Commencement morning for assistance.

Severe Weather Policy

In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be moved to Houston Field House and will be broadcast via closed-circuit television at the following sites (the campus video sites will not be open unless the ceremony is moved inside):

  • The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center
  • East Campus Athletic Village Arena
  • Darrin Communications Center

Information about change in venue or delay in start time will be posted on the Commencement website by 5 a.m. the morning of the ceremony.

What to Bring (or Not to Bring)

Commencement is outdoors and temperatures can vary at this time of year. We recommend following the local weather so you can come prepared.

Only small and average-size handbags, purses, and camera bags will be allowed into the East Campus Athletic Village. Oversized bags, backpacks, luggage, coolers, parcels, and the like are strictly prohibited from Commencement.

Guests may be subject to a search of their person. 

Ceremonial Behavior and Protocol

Commencement is a special event for all involved. Please show respect for everyone who has come to share the experience.

  • Show respect for your fellow graduates by remaining in your seat until the Recession/End of the ceremony.
  • Silence cellular phones in the East Campus Athletic Village Stadium, or in the Houston Field House.
  • Professional photos will be taken as each student crosses the stage. Since photographs will be available, family members and guests are encouraged to remain in their seats, relax, and enjoy the ceremony.

Order of Exercises

  • Degree Candidate Procession
  • Academic Procession (Faculty, Provost, and President’s Parties)
  • Presentation of Colors and National Anthem
  • Presentation of the Class of 2017
  • Invocation
  • Greetings and Charge to Candidates
  • Conferring of Honorary Degrees and Remarks
  • Conferring of Honorary Degree and Introduction of Speaker and Address to Candidates
  • Recognition of Emeriti
  • Presentation of Faculty Award
  • Announcement of Institute Honors
  • Graduate Student Speaker
  • Conferring of Doctoral Degrees
    (School/Degree/Major/Alpha)
  • Conferring of Master's Degrees
    (School/Degree/Major/Alpha)
  • Undegraduate Student Speaker
  • Conferring of Baccalaureate Degrees
    (School/Degree/Major/Alpha)
  • Rensselaer Alumni Association Welcome
  • Final Remarks
  • Alma Mater
  • Benediction
  • Recession
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