Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

From President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot speech to Rice Football victories to Commencement ceremonies, historic Rice Stadium has been home to numerous remarkable moments. Helpful details for your visit to Rice Stadium are available below.

Rice Stadium Entry

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. There will be a bag-check at each of the entrances to Rice Stadium for the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. Guests are permitted to bring small or clear bags only. Prohibited items include:

  • Weapons of any kind
  • Unauthorized banners, signs or flags
  • Artificial noisemakers
  • Balloons
  • Oversized bags, large diaper bags, coolers, etc.
  • Pets (Exception: service animals)
  • Tobacco products
  • Laser pointers
  • Drones

Guests are permitted to bring in food that is contained in a clear, plastic bag no larger than one gallon in size. Empty, reusable or factory sealed water bottles are permitted as well. Water will be available on the concourse to fill reusable water bottles. Concession snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

Clear Bag Policy

    The weather in Houston in May is very hot and humid. Light colors and fabrics are recommended for the outdoor ceremonies and we encourage guests to bring factory sealed bottled water with them. The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony in Rice Stadium will take place rain or shine. Guests can bring umbrellas for rain or if they wish to use them in the sun as there are not many shady areas in the stadium.

    Photography and Videography

    While receiving their diplomas, all graduates will be professionally photographed on the platform. Information on availability of those images will be sent to each graduate’s email address provided with his or her permanent address on file. To ensure that family members receive the notification, you may go online HERE to sign up for the Undergraduate Commencement. Optional, complimentary Cap & Gown portrait sessions will also be available at the follow times:

    May 2nd from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. - Farnsworth Pavilion, Ley Student Center
    May 3rd from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. - Grand Hall lobby, Ley Student Center
    May 4th from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. - Farnsworth Pavilion, Ley Student Center

    To book an appointment for a complimentary Cap & Gown portrait session, please visit rice2024.youcanbook.me.

    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 www.youtube.com/user/RiceUniversity.

    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.

    Web Broadcast

    Commencement will be broadcast over the internet for family members and friends who are not able to attend the ceremony. The links will go live 20 minutes before scheduled start times. They also appear on the home page of https://commencement.rice.edu/video/current-event on the day of the event.

    Restrooms, Water, First Aid

    Restrooms are open on the concourses of Rice Stadium. Drinking water is available on the concourses, though we encourage guests to bring their own factory sealed water bottle. Please contact an usher if you are in need of medical attention. First aid triage is located on the east concourse, near section 115.

    Undergraduate Commencement Recession

    Following the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, graduating students will march out of the stadium via the tunnel on the south side of Rice Stadium. Students will exit to West Lot 5 near Rice Stadium Gate 4. Guests are requested to please exit the stadium via all gates and make their way to West Lot 5 to rendezvous with graduates. We ask that graduates and families not gather in the other parking lots but move to their final destinations before taking photos together. Campus shuttles will be available between Gate 3 and Gate 4 for students returning to the residential colleges after the ceremonies.

    For information regarding special accommodations, please see the disability resources page.