May 30, 2017

Airbnb Co-Founder & CEO Brian Chesky to deliver Keynote Address at 2017 RISD Commencement

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Brian Chesky, Christina Kim, Roz Chast, Kehinde Wiley and Joe Gebbia. Photos are courtesy of the artists.

Chesky will accept an honorary degree, as will Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, designer Christina Kim + artist Kehinde Wiley

On Saturday, June 3 at 10:30am, 488 undergraduate and 238 graduate students from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) will receive their diplomas at RISD’s 2017 Commencement. The ceremony will take place at the Rhode Island Convention Center in downtown Providence, where the annual RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition is also on view.

This year RISD will present four honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees to change-makers in contemporary culture. Airbnb co-founder, CEO and Head of Community and RISD alumnus Brian Chesky (RISD ’04 Industrial Design) is accepting an honorary degree and will also deliver the Commencement keynote address. Fellow Airbnb co-founder and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia (RISD ’05 Graphic Design/Industrial Design), painter Kehinde Wiley and designer Christina Kim will accept honorary degrees at the ceremony as well. In addition, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast (RISD ’77 Painting) will be honored with the 2017 Alumni Award for Artistic Achievement.

A series of exhibitions leading up to Commencement will highlight new works produced by graduating students, including the Senior Invitational Exhibition at Woods-Gerry Gallery, the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition at the RI Convention Center, a selection of graduate student works at Sol Koffler Gallery, a student-curated exhibition at the Gelman Student Exhibitions Gallery in the Chace Center and the Senior Film/Animation/Video Festival at the RISD Auditorium.

RISD’s exuberant Commencement ceremony offers a festive culmination to years of creative exploration in the studio. Students typically transform their caps and gowns in idiosyncratic ways—by painting, reimagining and embellishing them to make a more personal artistic statement or simply to have fun with this colorful RISD tradition. For more information on RISD’s 2017 Commencement and to view the ceremony streaming live on June 3, visit

About Rhode Island School of Design
Known as the leading college of art and design in the United States, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is ranked #1 in Business Insider’s survey of The World’s 25 Best Design Schools. Approximately 2,450 students from around the world are enrolled in full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 majors. Students value RISD’s accomplished faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on approach to studio-based learning. Required courses in the liberal arts enrich the studio experience, equipping graduates to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Through their creative thinking and problem solving in a broad range of fields, RISD’s 26,000 alumni exemplify the vital role artists and designers play in fueling global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit and

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