Commencement ceremonies planned for Friday, Saturday

Degrees for Rice’s Class of 2017 will be conferred May 13 during the plenary session in the Academic Quad. Individual recognition of graduating students will take place May 12 during separate ceremonies at which each degree recipient will be named, presented and congratulated.

Friday’s ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. with the Advanced Degrees Convocation in Tudor Fieldhouse. All recipients of a master’s degree, except for MBAs, are expected to attend, along with graduates who are receiving an Artist Diploma in Music or a Bachelor of Architecture degree.

The Jones Graduate School of Business Investiture for MBA Programs will be at 1 p.m. Friday in Tudor Fieldhouse. All Master of Business Administration degree recipients are expected to attend, along with faculty members who have an appointment in the Jones School.

The Doctoral Convocation will be at 2 p.m. Friday in Stude Concert Hall in Alice Pratt Brown Hall. Ph.D. recipients are expected to attend, along with the faculty member they have selected to hood them, who is typically their thesis adviser.

Dinner for seniors only will be served in their residential colleges from 4:45 to 6:30 p.m. Friday. Families are welcome to join their graduating seniors for a free dinner.

The Undergraduate Convocation will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Academic Quad unless inclement weather makes it necessary to move the ceremony indoors at Tudor Fieldhouse. All recipients of bachelor’s degrees except for the Bachelor of Architecture degree are expected to attend. Each student gets to cross the stage, receive a tube for their diploma and be congratulated. Brief remarks will be presented by a student-selected member of the graduating class, by a college master and by President David Leebron. The ceremony will conclude with a student-written trumpet fanfare and a fireworks display.

A continental breakfast for graduating seniors will be served in the residential colleges from 6:30 to 8 a.m. Saturday.

Saturday’s plenary ceremony will start at 8:30 a.m. in the Academic Quad unless the weather warrants an indoor ceremony at Tudor Fieldhouse. All graduates and all faculty members are expected to attend. The ceremony will feature an academic procession and recession, conferral of degrees, presentation of several awards, brief remarks by Leebron and other officials, and a commencement address by Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel in space. Jemison, a physician, engineer, educator, entrepreneur and former astronaut, is the principal for 100 Year Starship, a global initiative to ensure the capability for interstellar human space flight by 2112.

After Saturday’s commencement, a reception for undergraduate degree recipients and their guests will be held in their residential colleges. A brunch for doctoral degree recipients and their guests will be served in Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Marcie O’Malley, the new chief marshal for commencement, said that if it becomes necessary to move outdoor ceremonies indoors, a notice will be posted on and an email will be sent to students, faculty and staff.

For details about other events during commencement week, visit and click on the “Schedule of Events” tab.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.