Guest FAQ

The following list provides information specifically for degree candidates.  If your question is not answered below, please email convocation@uchicago.edu.

When is Convocation?                                                                     

The 530th Convocation will take place at The University of Chicago on Saturday, June 10, 2017 on the University's Main Quadrangle. All candidates will participate in this ceremony, during which the president will verbally confer degrees to groups of candidates by degree type and academic program. Individual divisions and schools hold separate ceremonies or receptions at which degree candidates will receive their diplomas individually from their deans.

What time should guests arrive for Convocation?

The Main Quadrangle will open for general seating at 7:00 a.m. Guests are asked to be in their seats no later than 9:00 a.m. so they can watch the procession. Seating is first-come, first-served.  

Who is this year’s Convocation speaker?

Ka Yee C. Lee will deliver the Convocation Address for the 530th Convocation of the University of Chicago. Lee is a professor in the Department of Chemistry, Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, James Franck Institute, and the College. She chairs the Faculty Advisory Committee for the University’s Francis and Rose Yuen Center in Hong Kong and serves as senior associate vice president for research. Her research focuses on the structure and assembly of biomembranes and their interactions with proteins to elucidate their functions in both normal and diseased states.

I understand that, moving forward, the University’s Convocation will be held as a single campus-wide ceremony, rather than four sessions held over four days. Why the change?

In gathering all degree candidates together for a shared graduation, the University is returning to its earliest traditions and to the goals set out for convocations by the University’s first president, William Rainey Harper. The new plan calls for a University-wide convocation at which the president will verbally confer degrees to groups of candidates by degree type and academic program. Afterward, individual schools and departments will hold ceremonies at which degree candidates will receive their diplomas individually from their deans. 

Will I need tickets to attend Convocation?

Tickets are not required for Convocation, though they may be required for the division and school ceremonies. The number of tickets you will need depends on the Convocation ceremony you will attend. Tickets are subject to availability. Please check with your school/division to confirm ticket allotment.

What happens after the morning ceremony?

Each division and school will hold their own ceremony.  Additionally, some may also provide lunches or receptions to candidates and their guests.  Additional information can be provided by clicking on the appropriate division or school from the main Spring Quarter Convocation page.

I have a family member who requires special accommodations. What information would be helpful when planning their visit?                                     

The University Convocation ceremony will offer a reserved seating section, designated for guests with disabilities and up to two (2) companions. This seating area is designated for individuals using wheelchairs, persons with limited mobility, and guests with visual or hearing impairments. To make arrangements, please submit the Guest Accommodation Request form which can be found online at convocation.uchicago.edu/guestinformation. Please note, the University does not supply wheelchairs for convocation ceremonies. Questions can be directed to Convocation staff by emailing convocation@uchicago.edu.

What should I wear to Convocation?

Chicago weather can vary widely from sunny and hot to rainy and humid in mid-June. The University of Chicago’s Convocation ceremony is located outdoors on the Main Quadrangle, so please dress comfortably, keeping in mind the weather. Guests may be most comfortable in shoes with low or flat heels due to uneven ground. Please bring hats, sunscreen, raincoats, etc. as necessary.  Business Casual is appropriate for most of the receptions and other events. 

What happens if it rains on Convocation?

Convocation is held outdoors, rain or shine, on the University's Main Quadrangle. The University recommends all guests come prepared for the weather. The university ceremony may be shortened due to inclement weather.  In the event of extreme weather, appropriate security measures are in place to ensure the safety of all students and guests.  Details will be provided on the Convocation website and/or will be announced broadly at the ceremony.

How do I determine when my child will be graduating?

The Office of the Registrar will have information related to eligibility to graduate.

My child is a 1st year student in the College and I want to know when his graduation will be taking place.  How can I obtain this information?

Please visit the University Academic Calendar for future convocation dates.  Select "Future Academic Years" and then indicate the appropriate academic year from the drop down, and then click "go."

Will I have the ability to watch the ceremony inside, televised? 

Guests who prefer an indoor location may view a live broadcast of the morning convocation ceremony in either Kent Auditorium or Bond Chapel, both of which are located within the Main Quadrangle. Please note that seating is limited. 

Can people view the ceremony online?

Yes, the University Convocation ceremony will be broadcasted via the University’s website at news.uchicago.edu/webcast.

Can I purchase a DVD of the ceremony?

The University will digitally record a video of the ceremony as well as some school and division ceremonies. The recordings will be made viewable online approximately three weeks following the ceremony. Please check the convocation webpage the week of July 1, 2017, for more details.

Does the University of Chicago provide invitation letters for visa applications if traveling from abroad?

If the country where you reside requires an official invitation letter from the University for a Visa Application, the University can provide it for you.  You may place a request from your student’s respective division or school, or you may contact the University Registrar's Office.  The graduating student should send the email and please include full legal names, names of the visa applicant, visa applicant's relationship to the student, and visa applicant's full mailing address.

Where can I park?                                                                             

Click here for more information regarding parking and transportation. 

I plan to attend Convocation with my baby. Will there be baby changing areas readily available?

Yes, we are pleased to once again offer caregivers private, spacious, and sanitized baby stations that will be available throughout campus. The portable station will feature a conveniently mounted diaper changing table, hand wash sink, trash can, coat hook for diaper bags, and soap/towel dispensers. 

Where is the lost and found located? 

The Lost and Found will be located at the Welcome Kiosk, located at the west end of the Main Quadrangle. If you believe you left a personal item on campus and would like to inquire about lost and found, please email the convocation team at convocation@uchicago.edu.  Items will be kept for 90 days

When is the 531st Convocation?

The 531st Convocation will be held on June 9, 2018.