On Saturday, June 1, as 197 graduate and 462 undergraduate students waited restlessly in line for the start of RISD’s 2013 Commencement ceremony, many took the opportunity to adjust their eye-catching graduation paraphernalia – from papier-mâché creatures to fake flowers to unorthodox objects, all creatively incorporated into the overall look. They also took a moment to reflect on the years of hard work that helped shape them into the highly accomplished artists and designers they are today.

Keeping with tradition, the ceremony was as colorful and out-of-the-ordinary as one would hope. The Extraordinary Rendition Band, a clownish marching band trumpeting up-tempo ragtime tunes, provided its own unique take on Pomp and Circumstance as students danced and pranced into a Rhode Island Convention Center hall transformed by oversized Tyvek flowers and festoons of balloons. Students close to the hoopla seized the opportunity to bang on the musicians’ drums with flowers and copies of the printed Commencement program they’d rolled into drumsticks.

In addition to receiving an honorary degree for her amazing work as an artist and illustrator, Maira Kalman delivered a humorous and heartfelt Commencement address. She spoke about not knowing the answers to the endless complexities of life, but noted that the two most important things are love and work:
“Caring passionately about your work will make you happy,” Kalman said, and later closed with this admonition: “Go forth with kindness, meanness, courage, fear, compassion. Go forth with knowing and having no idea – and knowing that having no idea is completely acceptable and real. Commence with confusion. Commence with a sense of humor. Walk, breathe, retreat. Commence with an idea... It’ll be amazing to see what you do.”

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2013
Saturday, June 1st
12:00 AM

Commencement 2013 Board of Trustees Chair Michael Spalter Opening Remarks

Michael Spalter, Rhode Island School of Design
RISD President, Rhode Island School of Design

12:00 AM

Commencement 2013 Jessie Chen, Undergraduate Student Speaker

Jessie Chen, Rhode Island School of Design
RISD President, Rhode Island School of Design

12:00 AM

Commencement 2013 Keynote Address | Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman
RISD President, Rhode Island School of Design

12:00 AM

Commencement 2013 Presentation of Honorary Degrees | Karl Gerstner, Bill McKibben, Maira Kalman

Karl Gerstner
Bill McKibben
Maira Kalman
RISD President, Rhode Island School of Design

12:00 AM

Commencement 2013 President John Maeda Opening Remarks

John Maeda, Rhode Island School of Design
RISD President, Rhode Island School of Design

12:00 AM

Commencement 2013 Raine Vasquez, Graduate Student Speaker

Raine Vasquez, Rhode Island School of Design
RISD President, Rhode Island School of Design

12:00 AM