Rice University’s Commencement celebrations will undergo some changes this May to make the ceremonies “more personal and meaningful,” according to Rice President David Leebron. Leebron shared the news in a memorandum to the Rice community Jan. 10.
Leebron said the changes follow nearly a year of planning by a committee of graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty, college masters, commencement marshals and alumni, led by Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Paula Sanders and Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson.
“The committee and I believe that, by separating these events, each event will be more exciting and energetic, while also preserving the strong sense of unity of our community in the Saturday morning commencement,” Leebron wrote.
The campuswide plenary commencement ceremony will remain on Saturday morning and will include the invited commencement speaker along with a full academic procession, the official conferral of all degrees and the traditional exit of the graduates through the Sallyport.
To complement the existing doctoral hooding ceremony and the Jones Graduate School of Business hooding ceremony, both of which will remain on Friday afternoon, a new master’s degree ceremony will be held Friday morning and a new bachelor’s degree ceremony Friday evening.
At each of these three events, every student will be presented individually by name as they proceed across the platform. The undergraduate ceremony Friday evening will be in the Academic Quad and will include speeches by a member of the graduating class and by a faculty member. Undergraduate student award winners will be recognized at this event, which will replace convocation.
The doctoral hooding ceremony will remain in Stude Hall and will be conducted in the traditional manner. A venue has not yet been decided for the new master’s ceremony.
The Commencement ceremonies will be May 16-17.