Lawrenceville Commencement Information

Offices Services / Commencement at Rider University / Lawrenceville Commencement Information
Students smile for photo at commencement.

Commencement is a proud day for students, families and the entire Rider University community as we celebrate the achievements of our bachelor, master and doctoral degree graduates.

Please use this website to help plan for the day. Commencement information updates will be occurring regularly.

Lawrenceville 2020 Commencement Ceremony
Saturday, May 16, 2020
1 p.m. procession start

CURE Insurance Arena
81 Hamilton Avenue, Trenton, NJ
Doors will open at 11 a.m.
Graduates and faculty should plan to arrive at the arena by 12 p.m. at the latest

Receptions will be held on campus beginning at 9 a.m.

Rider University acknowledges students individually on stage during the conferral of degrees. As a courtesy, all graduates and guests are asked to stay for the entire ceremony which is expected to be 3 hours.

1-2-3! Preparing to Graduate and Participate in the 2020 Commencement Ceremony

Step 1: Complete a Degree Application


Submit a degree application before March 1, 2020 in the myRider student portal. If you have questions about graduation eligibility, please contact your dean.

Step 2: Pay Graduation Application Fee


A graduation application fee of $85.00 is due at the time of degree application, payable online or at the Cashier's Office.

Step 3: Pre-order academic attire


Students eligible to participate in the 2020 Commencement should pre-order academic attire before the deadline of March 24.


If you plan to complete your degree requirements in December 2019, January, May or August 2020, you are invited to participate in the May 16, 2020 Commencement ceremonies. Please review the following important information.

Before you are eligible to participate in a Commencement ceremony, you must have:

  • filed a degree application
  • completed all academic requirements for your degree
  • paid all financial obligations to the University including graduation fee - payable through myRider student account or at the Cashier's Office located in the BLC
  • returned all books to the University Library

If you have any questions about your graduation eligibility, contact your dean as soon as possible. Only students who will fulfill graduation requirements before August 2020 can walk in the May 2020 Commencement ceremony. December 2020 graduates should plan to walk in May 2021.

Graduation and Commencement

Please note there are important differences between graduation and commencement with which you should be familiar.

Graduation is a process consisting of submitting an Application for Graduation form, completing all academic requirements for your degree, and settling all financial obligations. The administrative process of degree conferral will indicate your official date of graduation.

Commencement refers to the ceremony where you share the excitement and importance of your academic accomplishments with peers, family, and friends. It is also a time for the University, Board of Trustees, senior administrators, and faculty to pay special tribute to you for the outstanding efforts you have shown in earning your degree. The ceremony features remarks from the President, guest speakers, and the calling of your name, upon which you will proceed across the stage. Graduates and guests are asked to stay for the entire ceremony.

In this section:

Commencement Candidate Lists

Students can verify their degree application has been submitted by checking the Commencement candidates list. The lists will be updated as degree applications are submitted. Students should check that their name is spelled properly; how it appears on the list will be as it appears on your diploma. Any changes should be reported to the Registrar's Office at 609-896-5065. If you are not listed and feel you should be, please contact your dean’s office directly.

Guest Seating and Tickets

The number of tickets available is based upon the number of degree candidates and arena seating. Each graduate will receive 6 guest tickets, which will be distributed with academic attire.  Requests for additional guest tickets can be made using the online request form with a limit of 4 additional requested tickets.  Requests will be taken until April 29, 2020. You will be notified via email about the availability of additional ticket(s) on May 1, along with instructions on where to pick them up.  A REQUEST DOES NOT GUARANTEE you will receive the number of additional tickets requested. 

Guest seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are required for all guest entrance to the arena, including children over the age of two and guests with special needs. Accommodations are available at CURE Insurance Arena for guests who require seating due to a disability or special need. Backpacks, large bags, strollers, balloons, noise makers and signs are not permitted in the arena. All approved bags are subject to inspection upon entry. No food or drink may be brought in; concession stands will be open.

Non-graduating students, alumni, and staff wishing to attend Commencement as a guest may pick up a ticket at the BLC Info Desk with a Rider ID or photo ID beginning May 1, 2020. Commencement volunteers and faculty participating in the ceremony do not need a ticket.

For those not attending the ceremony, Commencement will be available to view live on the website at The ceremonies may also be viewed in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater.

Special Needs Accommodations, Parking and Seating

Accommodations are available at CURE Insurance Arena for graduates and guests who require parking or seating due to a disability or special need. The arena is fully compliant with all ADA accessibility guidelines.

Cars with a Commencement parking pass and a state issued handicap license plate or placard may park in Lot 2. Guests with limited mobility may be dropped off at the arena entrance at Gate A (located in Lot 2) and the driver will be directed to an available parking area.

Once inside the arena guests with wheelchairs will be directed by ushers to the appropriate seating areas and a family member may sit with them. Additional family members may find seats in the surrounding area. A sign language interpreter will be present at the Commencement ceremony. Please email [email protected] if you require additional special needs accommodations information.

Parking and Shuttle Transportation

Taking the shuttle or carpooling to the arena is encouraged. Your cooperation is appreciated to assist with parking availability and traffic.

A free shuttle will be provided from the Lawrenceville campus to the arena on Commencement day. The shuttle will run continuous loops for graduates, guests, faculty and staff, starting at 10:30 a.m. and departing from the front of the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC). Passes are not needed to take the shuttle. Parking for the shuttle is available in the lots by the BLC.

A parking pass is needed to park in arena lots. The number of parking passes distributed is based on the number of degree applicants and the available parking spaces under the control of the arena. There is no cost to park in designated parking lots and a parking map will be posted shortly. Each doctoral and masters degree graduate will receive 1 parking pass, each bachelors degree graduate will receive 2 parking passes, which will be distributed with academic attire.  Requests for additional parking passes can be made using the online request form with a limit of 1 additional requested pass.  Requests will be taken until April 29, 2020. You will be notified via email about the availability of an additional pass on May 1, along with instructions on where to pick it up.  A REQUEST DOES NOT GUARANTEE you will receive an additional parking pass. 

The NJ Transit River Line light rail is also a suggested means of transportation to the arena. The Trenton Transit Center is walking distance to the arena.

Commencement Announcements

Personalized Commencement Announcements may be ordered online through the Balfour website. Generic Commencement announcements are available for purchase in the University Store. Diploma frames and other Rider merchandise are available at the University Store or may be ordered online in advance. Please contact the University Store directly at 609-896-5121 for more information.

Commencement Photos and Video

Professional photographers from Legacy Photographic will photograph all graduates during the ceremony. They will take one photo as you cross the stage and shake hands with President Dell'Omo and a second in front of a Rider backdrop. Information on how to order photos is emailed and mailed to each graduate approximately 2-3 days after Commencement. Please direct photography questions to Legacy Photographics at 1-800-447-2550. The Commencement ceremonies will be live streamed on beginning 15 minutes before the procession start time. An archived video recording of the ceremonies will be available for viewing on this website after the ceremonies.

Flower Orders

Bouquets of roses may be pre-ordered or purchased on Commencement day at the CURE Insurance Arena from Commencement Flowers Inc. Pre-orders will be available for pick up at the Arena or near the shuttle pick up location on campus. It is recommended that you pre-order flowers through the Commencement Flower Inc. website.

Rider University Memorabilia

Rider University souvenirs and memorabilia will be available for purchase at the University Store. The University Bookstore will be open on the Lawrenceville campus on Commencement day 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Diplomas and Transcripts

Diplomas will not be distributed during the Commencement ceremony. Your actual diploma will be mailed to you 4-6 weeks after clearance from the Registrar and Dean for your specified degree conferral date (December 2019, January 2020, May 2020, or August 2020). If you would like a copy of your transcript, please request it through the Registrar's Office. Information and the Transcript Request Form can be found on the Registrar's Office website. Diplomas and transcripts shall indicate academic honors based upon the cumulative grade point average achieved at the end of the senior year.

Cap and Gown Distribution

Cap and gown distribution will begin at Senior SendOff on April 28, 2020, 10 a.m. through 7 p.m. in the BLC Cavalla Room. Please pre-order academic attire online. The university provides graduates with a black gown and cap, along with a hood in the appropriate color to designate school, and a tassel. Honor society and student organization stoles or cords are distributed by their respective advisers. 

For the best appearance, the academic gown should be removed from the package immediately and placed on a hanger to allow the folds to fall out. Hanging it in a high humidity area (shower), will accelerate this process. If you wish to press, turn inside out and press with a warm, NOT HOT, iron. Steaming is also an option. The commencement regalia is yours to keep.

Guest tickets and parking passes will be distributed with cap and gown package.

Academic Honors and Academic Attire

Rider University recognizes exceptional academic achievement at Commencement. Qualifications for academic honors at Commencement are based upon the student's academic average at the end of the first term of the senior year (December 2019 for May 2020 Commencement). Honors, as noted in the Commencement program and by tassel color, are awarded as follows:

Undergraduate (white tassel)

Summa Cum Laude: academic average 3.75 - 4.00
Magna Cum Laude: academic average 3.50 - 3.74
Cum Laude: academic average 3.25 - 3.49

Graduate (cranberry tassel)

With Distinction: academic average above 3.85

Greening Graduation

In support of Rider’s commitment to sustainability, several green initiatives are part of Commencement planning. We aim to limit printed communication materials by utilizing mainly electronic communication. The Commencement program is printed with vegetable-based inks on FSC-certified paper with 10 percent post-consumer waste recycled content. Graduates wear eco-friendly caps and gowns that are made from 100 percent, post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, with an average of 25 bottles used to make each gown. Funding for the GreenWeaverTM graduation gowns has been provided by the Rider University Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee (ESSC).  Since 2011, Rider University has helped to divert over 306,725 plastic bottles from landfills!



Please contact the Commencement office at 609-896-7700, Option 1, or e-mail [email protected].

Questions on Commencement day should be directed to 609-896-5000.