Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the attire for Commencement?
  • With whom do I speak to confirm that I am graduating and/or confirm the spelling of my name in the Commencement program?
  • What is the inclement weather plan?
  • Who is the Commencement speaker?
  • Do degree candidates have to attend a rehearsal?
  • What if I have a question that was not answered by this website?
  • When will I receive my diploma?
  1. What is the attire for Commencement?
    The weather in Houston in May is very hot and humid. Attire is usually nice shirts, slacks, skirts, or dresses. Light colors and fabrics are recommended for the outdoor ceremonies. For safety, we recommend that all students and guests wear sensible shoes due to the surfaces at the stadium (turf field, asphalt and stairs).

    Please note the face mask policy established specifically for commencement events:

    Due to the crowded nature of Rice Commencement Ceremonies, we are requiring all guests to wear face masks when entering and moving about the Rice Stadium, particularly when entering and exiting main gates and walking through concourses. Masks may be removed only when seated in your own group to watch the ceremony. Please note, while we recently announced that masks are generally not required outdoors on the Rice campus, a notable exception is when persons are not able to physically distance from others.

  2. With whom do I speak with to confirm that I am graduating and/or confirm the spelling of my name in the Commencement program?
    Please notify the Office of the Registrar at registrar@rice.edu.
  3. What is the inclement weather plan?
    Ceremonies will take place in the stadium, rain or shine, due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions. To stay up to date with the latest information, please text 2021RICEGRAD to 888-777. You may opt out at any time by replying STOP. For help, reply HELP. Standard messaging and data rates may apply.
  4. Who is the Commencement speaker?
    Nicholas Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times. Mr. Kristof will be speaking at the Saturday morning Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Advanced Degrees and Doctoral Students Commencement Ceremony. All are welcome to partake in watching his speech via this ceremony’s online livestream offering.
  5. Do degree candidates have to attend a rehearsal?
    No. Marshals will direct you during the ceremony.
  6. What if I have a question that was not answered by this website?
    Degree candidates should contact their college coordinator (undergraduates) or department coordinator (graduate students).
  7. When will I receive my diploma?
    The Office of the Registrar will place the diploma order on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. The processing and printing at the diploma company will take approximately four weeks and diplomas will be mailed to the address provided by degree candidates on the submitted application for graduation. The name displayed on your diploma and the address to which it will be mailed can be viewed and edited by logging into ESTHER and navigating to: ESTHER > Student Services > Graduation > Verify Diploma Information > Diploma Name and Address. If you wish to change the mailing address AFTER commencement, please contact the Office of the Registrar at 713-348-4999 or registrar@rice.edu to inquire if the address is able to be changed.