Commencement 2020

On Saturday, May 30th, 2020 at 9am Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) honored the 457 undergraduate and 207 graduate students earning their degrees in the spring 2020. The global virtual celebration featured a video tribute to the class of 2020. The celebration was not a virtual commencement, but a moment to commemorate the class of 2020 and their families, and students’ perseverance through these tremendously challenging times. The video included remarks from President Rosanne Somerson, Provost Kent Kleinman, graduating students and other special guests, as well as recognition of each graduate and the announcement of student awards.

“While this year ended so much differently than any of us could have imagined, I am so incredibly proud of the class of 2020, and the resilience and resourcefulness they have shown during this unprecedented time,” noted President Somerson. “Commencement marks the extraordinary accomplishments of our graduating students and represents a lifetime milestone for students and their families, years in the making. I look forward to celebrating the class of 2020 both virtually and in person.”

Providence-based cinematographer Jon Gourlay 15 FAV teamed up with photographer Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH to make the video—with input from faculty member Thad Russell MFA 06 PH. The piece features messages of warmth and solidarity from a wide range of alumni, including:

Janine Antoni MFA 89 SC, Korakrit Arunanondchai 09 PR, Deborah Berke BArch 77, Gabrielle Bullock BArch 84, SooJin (Chun) 96 IL + Chris Buzelli 95 IL, Ilene Chaiken 79 GD, Roz Chast 77 PT, Shepard Fairey 92 IL, Jenny Holzer MFA 77 PT, Jon Key 13 GD + Wael Morcos MFA 13 GD, Clara Lieu 98 IL, Grace Lin 96 IL, David Macaulay BArch 69, Michael Maltzan BArch 85, Nicole Miller 73 AP, Oge Mora 16 IL, Brodie Neill MFA 04 FD, Mel Ottenberg 98 AP, Robert Richardson 79 FAV, Brian Selznick 88 IL, Gus Van Sant 75 FAV and Jing Wei 08 IL.

RISD planned to hold an in-person commencement ceremony once circumstances permitted, tentatively scheduled to occur during RISD Weekend (October 9-11, 2020), the college’s annual alumni reunion and family weekend, but plans were postponed once again due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

After two years of disruption and delay, RISD is delighted to invite the Class of 2020 back to campus for their long-awaited Commencement ceremony alongside the graduating class of 2022 on Saturday, June 4th, 2022, as well as a special two-year class reunion June 2-5, 2022.

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Saturday, May 30th
12:00 AM

Celebrating the Class of 2020

RISD President, Rhode Island School of Design

Remote. Globally distributed virtual celebration.

12:00 AM