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Commencement 2020

Commencement Diploma Case ​

2020 Commencement Updates

Results of the Survey

IN-PERSON COMMENCEMENT in the FALL: We heard you loud and clear! Close to 90 percent of you said you'd like to take part in an in-person commencement ceremony. As circumstances allow us to celebrate safely, we plan to recognize your accomplishments in the fall. We will announce date and time late summer.

Virtual Commencement Celebration – Saturday, May 16, 2020 – 9 a.m.

On Saturday, May 16 – the original date of your 2020 Commencement - Rhode Island College will be hosting a virtual commencement celebration to honor your accomplishments. We wish to celebrate you, along with your family, friends, and loved one.

The celebration will feature video collages of graduating undergraduate and graduate students within each school – arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. Additional details will follow in the near future. Graduating seniors have received instructions by email on how to participate in the virtual ceremony. If you did not receive an email, please contact the commencement office by email at

Cap and Gown – Returns and Refunds

For those of you who ordered your cap and gown, the following options are available for returns and refunds:

  • If you pre-ordered and paid online for delivery at Grad Expo, your refund is being processed. It may take few weeks for the vendor to issue a refund due to the volume of refunds being processed.
  • If your regalia was sent to your house, you received it within the last 30 days and your package was UNOPENED, you may receive a full refund. Ship your UNOPENED package back to Oak Hall Cap & Gown at:
    Oak Hall Cap & Gown
    3812 Blue Ridge Drive
    Roanoke, VA 24018
  • If your regalia was sent to your house and the plastic bag in which the regalia is packed has been OPENED, a refund will not be issued under any circumstances due to health concerns.
  • Refunds will not be issued for custom doctoral regalia.

For any questions regarding your cap and gown return and refund, email Oak Hall Cap & Gown directly at

Cap and Gown – Future Purchases

Once the RIC bookstore opens on a future date, you may purchase your cap and gown in person at no extra charge. However, if you still wish to receive your cap and gown at your home address, you may reorder online from Oak Hall Cap & Gown (a $15.95 shipping and handling charge applies). You can order your cap and gown online at Online orders are accepted through Friday, May 8, 2020.

Will a 2020 Commencement program book be printed and how can I receive a copy?

We are exploring the printing of a hard copy of the Commencement program book. Plans for distribution of program books will be announced at a later date.

How can I make sure my name is in the 2020 Commencement program book?

If you completed your degree requirements in the fall of 2019, or you meet the requirements to graduate in the spring of 2020, or are within 9 credits of completing your graduation requirements in summer 2020 – your name will appear in the program book.

How/when will graduates receive their diplomas?

Your diploma will be mailed to the home address on record with the Records Office. To ensure delivery of your diploma to the correct address, please check your home address is correct. You can only update your mailing address on MyRIC; not your home address. To change your home address you will need to contact the Records Office at or fill out a Change of Information form. Diplomas will be mailed to you mid to late June, 2020.

Will I still be able to get my photograph taken with my regalia?

We are exploring photography opportunities with our Commencement photographer. In the event we are able to do so, we will communicate with our graduates.

How may I purchase Commencement memorabilia?

If you wish to purchase Commencement memorabilia, visit the Rhode Island College Official Bookstore online. The bookstore is now offering diploma frames, class rings, etc., with free shipping and handling.

Please note: In effort to protect the health and safety of all customers and employees, the RIC Bookstore is CLOSED TO IN-STORE CUSTOMER SHOPPING until further notice.

How do I receive my honor cord?

If you are eligible to receive an honor cord, we will be sent by mail after spring semester grades are finalized. Details will be forthcoming.

For eligibility status, diploma, etc. please contact the Records Office at

For all other inquiries, please contact the Commencement Office at​​​​​​​​​​.

Important Commencement Update

March 23, 2020

Dear Graduates,

I am writing to share one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make during my time as president at Rhode Island College. In an effort to keep you, our graduates, your families and the RIC community safe, I am cancelling the May 16, 2020 commencement ceremony.

While the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves necessitate this decision out of concern for the health and safety of our community, the decision is no less difficult and heart-wrenching. You have devoted time to your courses, made personal and family sacrifices and have worked night and day to earn your degrees. Members of the faculty, staff and administration are collective in our disappointment that we cannot demonstrate our pride nor celebrate your accomplishments as traditionally planned.

For graduates and your families, we know that the commencement ceremony is perhaps the most anticipated part of your college journey. In fact, it is the highest honor that the college can confer as recognition of your persistence, resilience, accomplishments and tenacious spirit to succeed.

For those of you who have met all the graduation requirements, you WILL receive your diploma.

Without question, this decision was not taken lightly, nor was it taken in the absence of consideration of other viable alternatives. We know that this unbelievable final semester at Rhode Island College will leave an indelible mark on your memories as you look back over your college and life journey.

Please know that although we are not currently able to fully recognize your accomplishments with all the pomp and circumstance that your achievements deserve, we will honor you appropriately at another time and will share those plans in the coming weeks.

In this difficult and challenging time, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding and to each of you, I express my appreciation, gratitude, encouragement and continued support.

And, when the time is right, I look forward to personally congratulating all that you have accomplished.

Yours in education,

Frank D. Sánchez

Page last updated: May 08, 2020