Commencement is a proud day for students, families and the entire Rider University community as we celebrate the achievements of our graduates. Please use this website to help plan for the day. Commencement information updates will be occurring regularly.

Friday, May 12, 2017
Sun National Bank Center, Trenton, NJ
Commencement Book (PDF)

Undergraduate Ceremony Photos and Media

Undergraduate Ceremony Photos
Rider holds 2017 Commencement Ceremony in Trenton (News article)
Undergraduate Ceremony Video:

Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Ceremony Photos and Media

Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Photos
Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Class of 2017 earn diplomas (News article)
Graduate and Continuing Studies Ceremony Video:


Graduate Instructions

Rider does not have a ceremony rehearsal.  On Commencement day, students should plan to arrive at the arena at least one hour before the start of the procession. Graduating students do not need a ticket for entrance into the arena.  Please do not bring pocketbooks or bags as they should not be carried in the procession and there is not a place to keep personal belongings during the ceremony. Report to the arena Lower Level to the designated gathering area for your college and check in with the marshals for robing and procession line up instructions. You will receive a pre-printed information card that includes your name and honors. You will need to hand this to the faculty member or administrator reading names before you walk across the stage to be recognized.

You may walk around the arena until 30 minutes before your ceremony procession start time.  At that time you should report to the Lower Level and find the designated line area for your college, dress in academic attire and line up for the procession.  Marshals will assist you with your academic attire, guide you along the procession route and to your seat. Graduates will be seated with their college or school on the arena floor. You do not need to sit in alphabetical order.  Graduate seating locations are shown on this arena map.

Guest Seating

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 Sun National Bank Center for guests who require seating due to a disability or special need. Graduate seating locations are shown on this arena map.  Backpacks, large bags, strollers, balloons, noise makers and signs are not permitted in the arena.  No food or drink may be brought in; concession stands will be open.

Parking and Shuttle Transportation 

A parking pass is needed to park in arena lots. Lots will open at 9:30 a.m. There is no cost to park in designated parking lots noted on the map. Graduates will be provided with parking passes in advance. Carpooling to the arena is encouraged.

A free shuttle will be provided from the Lawrenceville campus to the arena for both ceremonies, and from parking lots that are not walking distance to the arena for the Undergraduate ceremony. Please see the parking and shuttle map and information available for download here.   The shuttle will begin running at 9:30 a.m. for graduates and guests, departing from the front of the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC).  Passes are not needed to take the shuttle.  Parking is available in the lots by the BLC.  Cranberry's food court area will be open on the ground floor of the BLC, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.  The University Bookstore will also be open in the BLC.

Special Needs Accommodations, Parking and Seating

Accommodations are available at Sun National Bank Center 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. Vehicles with disability parking placard or license plate will be directed to appropriate parking near Gate A with a parking pass.  All parking is first come, first served; a handicap placard does not guarantee a parking spot in Lot A.  

Guests with limited mobility will be able to be dropped off at the entrance of Gate A and the driver will be directed to an available parking area.  Please see the parking map available for download here.   Once inside the Sun National Bank Center 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.   ADA seating locations are shown on this arena map.  A sign language interpreter will be present at the Commencement ceremony. Please email [email protected] if you require additional special needs accommodations information.

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 2016 for May 2017 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

The university provides graduates with a black gown and cap, along with a hood in the appropriate color to designate school, and a tassel. These are provided at no cost and may be kept by the student.  Honor society and student organizstion stoles or cords are distributed by their respective advisers.  All academic attire, guest tickets and parking passes must be picked up before Thursday, May 11at the University Bookstore during store hours.  Photo ID is required.

Commencement Speakers

Rider University will bestow honorary degrees on two noteworthy recipients at Commencement exercises on Friday, May 12, 2017. Joseph J. Plumeri and Rochelle R. Hendricks will each receive an honorary doctorate of laws, awarded to individuals in government, public service, business or industry for service to the state, learning or humanity. Plumeri will deliver remarks at the undergraduate ceremony and Hendricks at the graduate and College of Continuing Studies ceremony.  Read more about our speakers here.

Rider University Memorabilia

Rider University souvenirs and memorabilia will be available for purchase at the University Store tables located inside the Sun National Bank Center on the Concourse Level.  The University Bookstore will be open on the Lawrenceville campus on Commencement day.

Flower Orders

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

Commencement Photos

Professional photographers from Legacy Photographic will photograph all graduates during the ceremony. They will take one photo in front of a Rider backdrop and a second as you cross the stage. 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 An archived video recording of the ceremonies will be available for viewing on this website after the ceremonies.

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 23 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).



If you plan to complete your degree requirements in December 2016, January, May or August 2017, you are invited to participate in the May 12, 2017 Commencement ceremonies. Please review the following important information.

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

  1. filed a degree application online or with your academic dean’s office

  2. completed all academic requirements for your degree

  3. paid all financial obligations to the University

  4. 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 2017 can walk in the May 2017 Commencement ceremony. December 2017 graduates should plan to walk in May 2018.

Graduation and Commencement

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

Graduation is a three-step 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. 

Rider students graduating in December 2016, January 2017, May 2017, and August 2017 are invited to participate in the May 2017 ceremony. 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.

Commencement Candidate Lists

Students can verify their degree application has been submitted by checking the Commencement candidates list posted on the Commencement Candidates page. The lists are updated daily 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 896-5065. If you are not listed and feel you should be, please contact your dean’s office directly.

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. The University Store will have a table at Sun National Bank Center on Commencement day. Please contact the University Store directly at 609-896-5121 for more information.

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 2016, January 2017, May 2017, or August 2017).  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.


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.