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 Information for Families and Guests


Parking and Access
Entrances 1 and 2 on Main Street will close at 4 p.m., Friday, May 15. All vehicles must park at either of the following locations: (1) enter at Entrance 8 on University Boulevard at Stockton and park in the West Lot or (2) enter at Entrance 20 on Rice Boulevard and park in the North Lot. For your convenience, the campus loop shuttle buses will be running from the West Lot.

A very limited number of parking spaces have been reserved in the Lovett Lot near Cohen House for guests requiring special assistance. These passes are given out on a first-come, first-served basis, so please reserve your pass early. To reserve a pass to this parking area, please call 713-348-2112 or email commencement@rice.edu. An electric cart will be available to transport those guests from the Lovett Lot to the Academic Quadrangle.

Please do not park in unauthorized locations. Cars interfering with Undergraduate Convocation and Commencement will be removed.

Special Needs
Hearing Impaired

An interpreter for the deaf will interpret the entire Undergraduate Convocation and Commencement ceremonies. For more information, refer to the section on “Special Seating.” A limited number of assisted listening devices for the Undergraduate Convocation and Commencement ceremonies will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in Room 305, Sewall Hall, beginning May 15 at 6:30 p.m. and May 16 at 7:30 a.m.

If you need further assistance for a guest or student with special needs, please contact Disability Support Services at 713-348-5841. A two-week notice for special accommodations is appreciated. 

Special Seating
Special sections in front of the degree candidates will be reserved for those in wheelchairs and those who need a closer view of the signer. These sections have plywood secured to the lawn. Because of the limited space in these sections, only one additional family member or guest will be allowed to join the guest requiring special seating. Reservations will not be necessary. Please contact an usher if you need directions to these special sections. All other guests should sit in the folding chairs in the regular guest sections. If, for medical reasons, someone in your party must sit in the shade, we recommend that you arrive early Saturday morning in order to secure a seat in the section along Sewall Hall on the south side of the Academic Quadrangle. This side usually stays shady longer than the other sections.

No tickets will be issued for the Undergraduate Convocation or Commencement ceremonies in the Academic Quadrangle. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Restrooms, Water and First Aid
Restrooms will be open in the buildings adjacent to the Academic Quadrangle. Restrooms for handicapped guests can be found in Sewall Hall. Drinking water and first-aid facilities also will be available. Please ask the ushers for assistance.

The Undergraduate Convocation on Friday and the Commencement ceremony on Saturday will be held outside. Umbrellas, sunscreen and other protection from sun or rain are advisable. In the event of severe inclement weather, the entire Undergraduate Convocation and Commencement ceremonies will take place in Tudor Fieldhouse and Youngkin Center. Seating in Tudor Fieldhouse is by ticket only, and all seating is on the second floor, which is accessible by stairs or elevator. Each degree candidate will have been issued four (4) tickets for the Undergraduate Convocation on Friday and two (2) tickets for the Commencement ceremony on Saturday for family members and guests. They will receive these tickets from their college or department coordinator. Please contact campus police at 713-348-6000 or the campus operator at 713-348-0000 for confirmation of the event location Friday after 5:30 p.m. and Saturday after 7 a.m. If the inclement weather plan is in effect, all degree candidates should assemble in Tudor Fieldhouse by 6:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 a.m. Saturday. To see the rain plan viewing venues, click here.

Web Broadcast
Commencement will be broadcast over the Internet for family members and friends who are not able to attend the ceremony. The links will go live 20 minutes before scheduled start times. They also appear on the home page of http://edtech.blogs.rice.edu/live/ on the day of the event.

Photographs and Videotapes
While receiving their diplomas, all graduates will be professionally photographed by Marc Nathan Photographers, Inc., who will be on the platform. Information on availability of those images will be sent to each graduate’s email address provided with his or her permanent address on file. You also may visit www.gradphotonetwork.com to view all the images from the ceremony on the Monday following the event. Complimentary cap and gown portraits also will be available in the Rice Memorial Center lobby May 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., May 15 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and May 16 from immediately after the ceremony until 12:30 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact them at grads@mnathanphoto.com or 281-549-2367, ext. 2.

The entire Advanced Degrees Convocation and Undergraduate Convocation on Friday and the Commencement ceremony on Saturday also will be professionally videotaped. Videotapes will be offered for sale by the vendor, who will contact all graduates at their permanent address on file with the registrar within a few weeks following Commencement. To contact the videographer, Media Distributors, Inc., send an email to info@mdivideo.com.

Family members and other guests will be allowed to spend a short time in special photo areas to the side of the Commencement platform. Please do not block the view of other guests. Be conscious of where you are standing and please observe the directions of the marshals and ushers.

After the Ceremony
Graduating students will march out through the Sallyport to refreshment tables in Founder's Court on the east side of Lovett Hall. Parents and guests may wish to rendezvous with graduates at the table designated for their college or at the table designated for advanced degree recipients.

Several hotels near Rice University are extending special rates for the Rice University Commencement May 15-16, 2015.

  • Please make reservations directly with the hotel and tell the reservation clerk that you are attending the Rice University Commencement in order to receive the special rates.
  • Make reservations early in order to secure special rates and ensure room availability.
  • All rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes.
  • Some restrictions apply.
  • Several of the hotels offer minivan service to the campus. If you will need van service, be sure to ask about availability when making reservations.

Springhill Suites/Medical Center/NRG Park
1400 Old Spanish Trl.
Houston, TX 77054

Houston Marriott Medical Center
6580 Fannin St.
Houston, TX 77030

Hilton Houston Plaza/Medical Center
6633 Travis St.
Houston, TX 77030


Holiday Inn Express & Suites - Houston Medical Center
8080 S. Main St.
Houston, TX 77025

Holiday Inn Houston Reliant Park Area
8111 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX 77054

Wyndham Houston Medical Center Hotel & Suites
6800 Main St.
Houston, TX 77030

Crowne Plaza Houston - Medical Center - Reliant
8686 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX 77054

Hampton Inn Houston - Galleria Area
4500 Post Oak Parkway
Houston, TX 77027

Hampton Inn & Suites Medical Center
1715 Old Spanish Trail
Houston, TX 77054

Residence Inn - Houston Medical Center
7710 South Main St.
Houston, TX 77030

Campus Resources 

University  Bookstore
Located in Rice Memorial Center
Hours: Friday, May 15, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, May 16, 7:45 a.m.-5 p.m.


Droubi's Mediterranean Grill
Located in Rice Memorial Center
Hours: Friday, May 15, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.;
Saturday, May 16, closed

Rice Coffeehouse
Located in Rice Memorial Center
Hours: Friday, May 15, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.;
Saturday, May 16, 7 a.m.-noon


Salento at Brochstein Pavilion
Located on the west side of Fondren Library
Hours: Friday, May 15, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.;
Saturday, May 16, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Located in Rice Memorial Center
Hours: Friday, May 15, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.;
Saturday, May 16, 7:45 a.m.-5 p.m.