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Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this list of Frequently Asked Questions will provide you with answers and help you plan for your Commencement Ceremony on Oct. 31, 2020.  Please note that all information is subject to change as we continue to adhere to COVID-19 local, state, and federal guidelines for large gatherings.

What is the schedule of events?

Schedule of Events* 

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Patriot Battalion live stream of the R.O.T.C. Commissioning Ceremony
4 p.m.
Providence College web page

Sunday, May 17
Awarding of Degrees
11 a.m.
Visit the commencement web page for a virtual ceremony awarding degrees to the Class of 2020.

Thursday, Oct. 29 
Senior Semi-Formal Event
Details will be forthcoming.

Friday, Oct. 30 
Senior Celebration on campus
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Providence College Campus  

Class of 2020 Mass
6 p.m.
Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul
30 Fenner St., Providence 

Saturday, Oct. 31
In-person Commencement Ceremony
1 p.m.
Dunkin’ Donuts Center
1 LaSalle Sq., Providence

* Please note final times will be confirmed once guidelines/restrictions have been set.

What about the virtual event on May 17? 

Plans are underway for a virtual degree awarding ceremony for the Providence College Class of 2020. The virtual event will start just before 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 17. There will be messaging to graduates in the days leading up to the ceremony with more information. We look forward to seeing graduates for a formal full in-person ceremony in October. The awarding of the degrees is meant to ensure that graduates mark the original commencement day with a special connection to Providence College. Fr. Shanley will award the degrees in a short virtual ceremony with Senior Class President, Julia Gaffney, sharing a special message to the Class of 2020. The event can be found by accessing our web page: We encourage parents of graduating students to join this virtual event as well. 

How do I know that I have fully satisfied my degree requirements?  

All May 2020 degree candidates (both undergraduate and graduate) who have been pre-certified by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate & Graduate Studies to receive their degrees pending successful completion of spring courses will be awarded their degrees. All May 2020 candidates requiring additional course work after spring 2020 have already been notified by the Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate & Graduate Studies that their degrees will be conferred upon completion of their outstanding degree requirements. 

What type of undergraduate degree am I receiving: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science?  

You are receiving a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree if you majored in one of the following programs: American studies, art history, biology, biology/optometry (3/4 combined program), biology/secondary education, chemistry, chemistry/secondary education, classics, creative writing, economics (including business economics and quantitative economics), Elementary/Special Education, English, English/secondary education, French, French/secondary education, global studies, history, history/secondary education, humanities, Italian, Italian/secondary education, mathematics, mathematics/secondary education, music, music education, philosophy, physics/secondary education, political science, psychology, public and community service studies, social science, sociology, social work, Spanish, Spanish/secondary education, studio art, theatre, theology, and women’s and gender studies.   

You are receiving a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree if you majored in one of the following programs: accountancy, applied physics, biochemistry, biology, biology/optometry (3/4 combined program), biology/secondary education, chemistry, computer science, engineering (3/2 combined program), finance, health policy and management, management, marketing, physics.  

When will I receive my diploma? 

Diplomas will be distributed at the commencement ceremony in October. Upon written request, the Office of the Registrar will mail a diploma to any graduate who is unable to attend commencement. 

How will I know about graduation honors, class rank, and any other academic awards (undergraduates only)? 

Graduation honors (summa, magna, and cum laude honors), class rank, and all other academic awards will be determined only after final grade point averages (GPA) have been officially calculated. Spring 2020 grade point averages (GPA) will be finalized after May 20, the deadline for seniors to elect pass/fail grading.  
The College will recognize graduation honors, highest in academic class rank, and other academic awards as part of the commencement ceremony in October. However, recipients will be notified of their academic honors and awards by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate & Graduate Studies in early-mid -June. 

When can I request my PC transcript, and what will be listed as the date of my graduation?   

The transcripts of all May 2020 graduates will note the degree awarded date as May 17, 2020. The Office of the Registrar will be able to respond to requests for official transcripts by early- to mid-June. 

What about undergraduate senior activities?  

Plans are underway for a Senior Celebration. Thursday evening, October 29, will feature an off-campus semi-formal event. On Friday, October 30, students will return to campus to enjoy a variety of activities including time to visit with friends, faculty, and staff while enjoying Friar Favorites from food vendors. More information to follow in the coming weeks. 

If you have questions, please email

Who will be the keynote speaker?

Mae C. Jemison, M.D., a former NASA astronaut who was the first woman of color to go into space, plans to present the commencement address at the College’s 102nd Commencement Exercises on Saturday, October 31. She is one of seven individuals chosen to receive honorary degrees.

How many tickets will each graduate receive for commencement?  

Graduates will receive ticket confirmations based on a registration form to be sent in July. Electronic tickets will be distributed via email to each student in October, with an option to print at home. Once scanned for entry at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the tickets are valid for only one entry and cannot be reused.  We hope to distribute 5 tickets to each graduate. However, national or state guidelines for large gatherings may not allow us to accommodate multiple guests per student. We will continue to keep you informed as we receive updated guidelines. 

How do students receive academic attire?  

All seniors were asked to order their cap and gown online between December 1, 2019 and February 28, 2020 from All graduates receive a cap, gown, hood and tassel with their order. Please note, the attire order has already been paid through your graduation fees.  

VERY IMPORTANT: If you already ordered your cap and gown, please use this link to have your cap and gown mailed directly to you at your home:

From the time the home delivery form is completed, students can expect to receive their attire within 20-30 days. Attire is being shipped directly from the Herff Jones plant in Illinois, where state restrictions have resulted in limited staffing. Tracking information will be sent via email once your attire has shipped.

If you have not yet ordered your cap and gown, please complete this Google Form so that we can order your cap and gown for you and have it shipped to your home:  Cap and Gown Order Form.

I am graduating with honors.  How do I obtain my honor cords?  

Once grades are finalized, students receiving honors will be notified on how they will receive their cord prior to the commencement ceremony. 

Are there invitations or announcements for commencement?  

Personalized announcements for family and friends are available for purchase from the College bookstore at 401.865.2181 or Please note that announcements/invitations to commencement will not serve as commencement tickets.    

Indebtedness to the College: What if there are unpaid bills?   

Students with an unpaid balance will not be able to receive their diploma or transcript until the balance is paid in full. Account balances may be viewed online using your CyberFriar login or by calling the Student Accounts office at 401.865.2284. Any student who has received a Federal Student loan is required to complete exit counseling online.  More information is available at: or

Is there an Academic Awards Ceremony?  

There will be no formal Academic Awards Ceremony. Instead, each “Special Award” and “Highest in Concentration Award” will be listed in the commencement program. Award recipients will receive any Award Certificate (Highest in Concentration, Liberal Arts Honors, Graduation Honors, etc.) with their diplomas.  

Are there tickets for the Commencement Mass?   

Mass will be held Friday, October 30, 2020 at the Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul at 6 p.m. The Cathedral is located at 30 Fenner St., Providence, RI.

Graduates are welcome at the Commencement Mass; due to venue limitations, guest seating will be limited. A registration form will be sent in the month of July that asks students to RSVP if they are planning to attend Mass. This information will help us determine the number of tickets that we may provide to each graduate. Tickets for Mass will be disbursed on October 30 at senior activities.  

Doors open at 5 p.m. The liturgical procession begins at 5:50 p.m. Late arriving guests will not be seated until after the processional is completed. The College will live stream the Mass.  

Directions and more information about the Cathedral can be found here: 

December 2020 Graduation Candidates  

Candidates for December 2020 graduation can participate in the October 2020 graduation ceremonies. December candidates will be included in the official commencement program, where they will be recognized as December 2020 graduation candidates. All December 2020 candidates will have their names read at the ceremony and will be eligible to walk on stage with the other graduates.  

Graduate Arrival and Security at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center  

All graduates will have to pass through security before entering the arena. Large bags of all kinds can be problematic, so we ask graduates to consider leaving bags at home or in your car (unless it is absolutely necessary for you to carry them with you). Bags that are larger than 13 5/8” x 15 ¼” will not be permitted through the security zone. Under some circumstances, security personnel will deem it necessary to search a bag before allowing its owner admittance to an event. We encourage you to take advantage of the doors opening at 11 a.m. to give yourself plenty of time to get to your place in line. Due to the pandemic, there may be additional restrictions and the College will communicate any changes to this policy closer to the event. 

All camera policies are event specific. Small, personal, digital point and shoot cameras are acceptable, however, cameras with professional lenses, or detachable flashes are prohibited from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Use of video cameras, audio recording devices and digital cameras in video mode are strictly prohibited in the arena. The use of any of these items will result in disciplinary action and possible ejection from the arena.   

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center has a no-smoking policy. Graduates and their guests are not allowed to bring food or beverages into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  

Commencement seating for families  

By mid-July, we will communicate more information regarding tickets, seating, security protocols and special arrangements. In the event that family members and friends are unable to attend, the ceremony will be live streamed for all to view. 

What time should guests arrive at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center?  

Doors open at 11 a.m. Guests must be seated prior to the start of the procession, which is expected to begin promptly at 12:30 p.m.  We will communicate more information in July regarding tickets, seating and special arrangements. 

How do I get to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center?  

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center is located at 1 LaSalle Square, Providence, RI 02903. For directions, please contact the DDC at 401-331-0700 or visit their website at  

Where should we park?  

Event parking for the commencement ceremony is available at various privately-owned lots around the city as well as in the garage adjacent to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. For a complete map of available parking locations, please visit the DDC website at  

What is the timing of the ceremony?  

All doors at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center open at 11 a.m. The procession is expected to begin at 12:30 p.m. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. The sequence of the conferral of degrees is as follows: undergraduate B.A., B.S; School of Continuing Education; Graduate Studies Program; and Honorary Degrees. The ceremony is expected to end at approximately 3:30 p.m.


An envelope from GradImages will be on each graduate’s chair at the ceremony. Complete the information and take the envelope with you as you approach the stage. GradImages will photograph you as you receive your diploma.  

Lining up for the procession  

Members of the Friars Club will line up graduates at 11:25 a.m. Bring your number in line with you and identify whether you are receiving a B.A. or B.S. Your number in line will be sent to you in the commencement confirmation email. Once assigned a place in line, it is imperative that you stay in it for the procession. It takes over an hour to assemble this part of the procession. The procession is expected to begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. Late arrivals will not be able to march or sit with the class. When you reach your seat, remain standing until after the Invocation. 

Receiving your diploma  

Stop at the top of the stairs on the stage. Listen for your name to be read, and then proceed to the center of the stage, where you will be greeted by the President and members of the administration. Your tassel should be moved from the front, right-hand side, to the left-hand side of your cap to signify the recognition of earning your degree. GradImages will photograph you as you receive your diploma and will also take another photo of you with your diploma cover when you leave the stage. The last stop is at the academic dean’s office table where your official diploma will be issued. Following the issue of your diploma, you must return to your original seat for the remainder of the ceremony.  Safety guidelines may dictate a change in this protocol. 

If I want to make reservations for an event following commencement, what is the earliest recommended start time?  

If you are planning any post-commencement celebrations, we generally recommend a one-hour timeframe between the conclusion of commencement and any dinner reservations to allow all guests to exit the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the surrounding downtown area. The recommendation would be any time after 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at

Any restaurant suggestions?  

A variety of restaurants offering a selection for every palate may be found in Providence and the surrounding communities by visiting or or  

What about hotel reservations?  

We have made arrangements at a number of hotels for students and families. Hotel block information is available at

How can I get a yearbook?  

All students and/or parents desiring a yearbook need to order and purchase them. Graduating seniors this year will not receive a free copy after graduation. That policy ended with the 2017 Centennial class. This new policy will be followed in subsequent years unless again changed. 

To book your yearbook portrait: 

Class Rings:  

Balfour Class of 2020 ring ordering:
Balfour contact information:
Phone Number: 1-800-966.8636 (Ask for Martha Noriega) 
E-Mail: or  

Will I be reimbursed for my graduation fee?  

Graduation fees cover students’ caps and gowns, diploma and diploma cover, commencement program, honor cords (if applicable), transcripts and several other costs related to commencement.  Since students will still receive these items and an in-person ceremony is being held, graduation fees will not be reimbursed.  

Important contact information you may need for questions related to: 

Commencement Mass and Ceremony 

College Events, Office of Institutional Advancement
401.865.2344 or

Senior Activities 

Student Activities & Cultural Programing
401.865.2211 or

Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies 

401.865.2495 or

Announcements & Bookstore Items 

Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Providence College
401.865.2181 or

Dunkin’ Donuts Center 

401.331.0700 or 

Financial Obligations 

Office of Student Accounts
401.865.2284 or

Highway Construction 

R.I. Department of Transportation
401.222.2450 or 

On-Campus Housing 

Office of Residence Life, 401.865.2392 

Photography – Commencement Day 

1.800.261.2576 or 

Safety and Security at Providence College 

The Office of Public Safety 401.865.2391 

Veritas Yearbook