MAY 14 and 15, 2021

WHAT TO WEAR (Academic regalia must be worn during the Commencement ceremony)
Plan to wear lightweight clothing underneath the gown. For safety, we strongly encourage that all students and guests wear sensible shoes due to the surfaces at the stadium (turf field, asphalt and stairs). Your legs and feet show below the gown, so trousers, or long socks with dark shoes are recommended. Do not carry items such as handbags. Please wear or bring all of your regalia pieces to the assembly point as there will be no extra mortarboards or tassels available.

If you are receiving a Bachelor's degree and are wearing a college stole try to make the points match so the stole hangs evenly. The residential colleges provide your stoles—see your college coordinator.

If you are issued a hood with your gown, put the hood over your head so that the narrow velvet border shows in front of your throat and the satin lining can be folded open in back to show Rice's colors. The two sides of the hood can be fastened together in back by a cord to keep the hood from slipping off your shoulders. Look for a loop of cord hanging from the throat piece. The loop at the end should be fastened to the inside front of the gown or somewhere on your clothing so the hood will not press uncomfortably on your throat. Some gowns have a hook and eye closing, and the loop can be caught in the hook. Others have buttons around which the loop can be caught. If your gown has neither hooks nor buttons, you might want to use a safety pin.

The mortar board (or hat) should be worn with the point directly in front and tassel hanging on the left at all times.

All PhD and DMA candidates must return regalia to the bookstore by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 (the day of Commencement). Undergraduate and masters students have, in general, purchased their regalia and should keep it.

Since ceremonies will be held at Rice Stadium, separate times have been set-up for graduates to process through the Sallyport together. The schedule for the Sallyport walk through events is noted below, for both Class of 2021 and 2020 graduates.

After gathering together in their respective colleges, each college will process toward the Academic Quadrangle. Each college should gather in the center of the Academic Quadrangle five minutes prior to their scheduled walk-through time.
Baker: 9:00 a.m.
Will Rice: 9:15 a.m.
Hanszen: 9:30 a.m.
Wiess: 9:45 a.m.
Jones: 10:00 a.m.
Brown: 10:15 a.m.
Lovett: 10:30 a.m.
Sid Rich: 10:45 a.m.
Martel: 11:00 a.m.
McMurtry: 11:15 a.m.
Duncan: 11:30 a.m

Returning students should gather in the center of the Academic Quadrangle 15 minutes prior to the scheduled walk through time for their college, near Fondren library.
Baker: 1:30 p.m.
Will Rice: 1:45 p.m.
Hanszen: 2:00 p.m.
Wiess: 2:15 p.m.
Jones: 2:30 p.m.
Brown: 2:45 p.m.
Lovett: 3:00 p.m.
Sid Rich: 3:15 p.m.
Martel: 3:30 p.m.
McMurtry: 3:45 p.m.
Duncan: 4:00 p.m

MBA Candidates from the Jones School should attend their ceremony in Rice Stadium the morning of Friday, May 14.  Students should assemble in the West Quad between Alice Pratt Brown Hall and the Turrell Skyspace no later than 7 a.m.  The ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. Restrooms will be available in Alice Pratt Brown Hall, McNair Hall and Baker Hall.
Class of 2021 Bachelor’s Degree Candidates (Arts / Music / Science) should assemble in the West Quad between Alice Pratt Brown Hall and the Turrell Skyspace no later than 6:15 p.m.  The ceremony begins in Rice Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 14. Restrooms will be available in Alice Pratt Brown Hall, McNair Hall and Baker Hall.

Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Advanced and Doctoral Degree Recipients/Candidates (Artist Diploma in Music, Masters degrees other than MBAs, and Bachelor of Architecture) should assemble on the east side of the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center no later than 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 15.  The ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m.
Class of 2020 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients (Arts / Music / Science) should assemble in the West Quad between Alice Pratt Brown Hall and the Turrell Skyspace no later than 6:15 p.m.  The ceremony begins in Rice Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. Restrooms will be available in Alice Pratt Brown Hall, McNair Hall and Baker Hall.

1.    Candidates/Recipients will be lined up and seated by the Marshals. Please follow directions from Marshals.
2.    The ceremonies should last about 90 minutes each. As a courtesy to the other graduates and guests, all degree recipients who march in the processional are expected to also march in the recessional.

Ceremonies will be held at Rice Stadium, rain or shine. There is a possibility that ceremony start times will vary if there is a chance for lightning. If so, a message will be sent via text through a special Commencement communication system. To opt in to this system, please text 2021RICEGRAD to 888-777. The home page of the commencement website ( will be updated as well.

Commemorative umbrellas will be placed at each chair for graduates at the stadium. If rain is expected to begin prior to the ceremony, the umbrellas will be available to graduates in the following locations:

Class of 2021 Undergraduate Ceremony: Residential College Coordinators office
Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Advanced and Doctoral Degree Ceremony: Outside Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center
Class of 2020 Undergraduate Ceremony: West Quad between Alice Pratt Brown Hall and the Turrell Skyspace

In the event of lightning, graduates will be asked to evacuate to the concourses via the stadium stairs. Additionally, those sitting near the back half of the field can evacuate to the tunnel. Those with wheelchairs or mobility issues can proceed up the ramp at the Patterson Center to exit. Communications will be sent to graduates and guests using Everbridge (Rice Alert) and the Commencement communication text line on when to evacuate, stay in shelter and when they need to return to their seats.

In order to safely accommodate families and guests attendance, Commencement ceremonies will be held, rain or shine, at Rice Stadium this year. Graduates will be permitted to bring four (4) guests. Seating will be spaced out in these groups of four (4).
An email with instructions for claiming guest tickets was sent to each graduating student on Friday, May 7. Graduates who did not receive this email should check their junk folder or any alternative email addresses that may be on record with the registrar. For additional assistance, please contact Make sure to complete the ticket claiming process by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 13 to ensure you have assistance available to you, if needed. It will be up to the graduate to forward those tickets to their family and/or guests. Guests will need to present their ticket (either printed or via a mobile device) for entry into the stadium. All guests must have their own ticket, with the exception of those 2 years of age and under.

In case of emergency, we ask that all graduates proceed up the stadium stairs and out of the nearest gate if needed, rather than returning to the ramp of the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center. Those with wheelchairs or mobility issues can proceed up the ramp at the Patterson Center to exit.

Stadium maps are available at the links below. We ask that graduates have their families look at the maps ahead of time to identify which gate they enter and where they would want to sit. Guests will want to sit on the same side their graduate will be sitting on the field.

Undergraduate ceremonies stadium map:
Advanced and Doctoral Degrees ceremony stadium map:

There will be a bag-check at each of the entrances. Guests are encouraged to only bring small bags to expedite the bag-check process. Prohibited items are noted below:
• Weapons of any kind
• Pets (Exception: service animals)
• Tobacco products
• Food and Beverages (Exceptions: food for small children or medical issues; factory sealed bottled water)
• Unauthorized banners, signs or flags
• Artificial noisemakers
• Oversized bags, briefcases, coolers, etc. (Exception: diaper bags)
• Laser pointers
• Drones

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.

The Rice Campus Store will open at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning in the Student Center until 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, Little Kitchen HTX at the Brochstein Pavilion will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

A professional photographer will take one (1) still photograph of each diploma recipient. To help ensure that your eyes will be open in the photo, make eye contact with the university official handing you your tube. Information on availability of those images will be sent to each graduate’s email address provided with his or her permanent address on file. You can change that permanent address through your ESTHER account. Optional, Complimentary Cap & Gown portraits will also be available in the Rice Memorial Center lobby May 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and May 15 from immediately after the morning ceremony until 12:30 p.m.

A recording of the entire ceremony will be made and will include each graduate receiving the diploma. Video recordings of ceremonies will be available the week following Commencement on Rice’s YouTube channel at

Due to social distancing measures, we ask that guests not leave their seats during the ceremony to take photographs of their graduate. Please observe all directions from the Marshals and ushers as they work to ensure the safety of our guests.

Entrances 1, 2 and 3 on Main Street will close at 4 p.m., Friday, May 14. All vehicles must park at either of the following locations: (1) enter at Entrance 8 on University Boulevard at Stockton or Entrance 17 on Rice Boulevard at Shepherd and park in the West Lots or (2) enter at Entrance 20 on Rice Boulevard and park in the North Lot. Parking lot gates will open two (2) hours before each ceremony.

Guests who cannot walk long distances or climb the stairs on the shuttle bus may be dropped near Rice Stadium. The recommended drop off point is between West Lot 4 and the stadium at Gate 4. However, we ask that you quickly drop your guest off and proceed to an appropriate parking lot. A very limited number of parking spaces have been reserved in the South Stadium Lot for guests requiring special assistance. Access to this parking lot will be directly off University Boulevard, between Greenbriar Drive and Entrance 18 at Stockton Drive. These passes are given out on a first-come, first-served basis, so please reserve your pass early. Reservations are required for this parking lot and can be made by emailing by Thursday, May 13. An electric cart will be available to transport those guests from the South Stadium Lot to the stadium. Please do not park in unauthorized locations.

The designated ride share drop-off/pick-up location will be in front of the George R. Brown Tennis Center on O’Connor Way.

Please note that Rice Stadium has steep inclines between the entry gates and the concourse. Professional ushers will be available to assist those with wheelchairs or walkers upon entry into the stadium. Chairback seating will be available for groups with persons with mobility issues wishing not to utilize the stairs or bleacher seating. This seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Special sections will be reserved for persons in wheelchairs. Because of the very limited space in these sections, only one (1) additional family member or guest will be allowed to join the guest requiring this special seating. All other guests in your party should sit in the general admission guest sections. A separate section will be reserved for parties with those needing a close view of the ASL interpreter.
Reservations are required for special seating accommodations for persons in wheelchairs and those needing a close view of the ASL interpreter. Reservations can be made by emailing Due to limited availability, please make your reservation by Thursday, May 13. You must indicate which seating you are requesting – wheelchair or the ASL interpreter section – as well as the ceremony you are attending when submitting your request. Additional details will be shared in a confirmation email once your reservation has been completed.

Restrooms are located throughout the concourses of Rice Stadium.  Please contact an usher if you are in need of medical attention. First aid triage is located on the east concourse, near section 115.

Umbrellas, sunscreen, and other protection from sun or rain are advisable, especially for the young and the elderly.  Drinking water is available on the concourses, though we encourage guests to bring their own factory sealed water bottle.

After the ceremonies, graduates will recess from the field to the parking lots. We ask that graduates and families not gather in the parking lots but move to their final destinations before taking photos together. Campus shuttles will be at Gate 3 for students returning to the residential colleges after the ceremonies.

Please contact your college or department coordinator. If you need further assistance, please submit questions via e-mail to or visit the Rice website, for answers to frequently asked questions.