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Ceremonies & Events

The Language We Use to Celebrate Our Graduates

  • Commencement is the-all Northwestern ceremony where the graduating class is commemorated as a whole. During the ceremony, student, faculty and guest speakers will address graduates and their families.
  • Convocations at Northwestern are hosted by individual schools. Students are recognized at their school’s convocation ceremony.
  • Celebrations are events surrounding Commencement and Convocations that seek to recognize the plurality of identities graduates hold.

Class of 2021 - Events For Prospective Graduates

religious life staff speaking

Baccalaureate Service

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The 2021 Baccalaureate service is set to “premiere” digitally on Sunday, June 13. It will be on a Vimeo Link.

President Morton Schapiro and the University Chaplain invite graduates, their families, and guests to attend Baccalaureate, an interfaith service incorporating the many traditions of the University.

The 163rd Annual Commencement

June 14, 2021 at 11 A.M. CDT
  • The 163rd Annual Commencement will be held virtually. Guests and viewers will be able to tune into the livestream at the Commencement home page on the day of the event.
President Morton Schapiro standing with former Keynote Speaker Lorie Lightfoot at a podium on-stage.
rotc during commencement

Reserve Officer’s Training Corps Convocations

June 14, 2021

The NROTC mission is to develop future officers mentally, morally, and physically, and to instill in them the highest ideals of duty, loyalty, and the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers.

FGLI Graduation Celebration

June 11, 2021 at 6:30 PM CT

 Student Enrichment Services (SES) is thrilled to announce the Inaugural FGLI Graduation Celebration. Our first-ever celebration honors and uplifts the accomplishments of our first-generation, lower-income, and/or undocumented / DACA undergraduate community on campus. 

All students who identify as first-generation, lower-income, and/or undocumented / DACA are invited to participate in this virtual celebration. We are committed to honoring your journey at Northwestern as well as the family, friends, and communities that supported and cheered you on as you achieve this accomplishment. Each student will have the opportunity to submit a quote, photos, and other information to be featured in this pre-recorded virtual event. 

All students who participate will receive an FGLI graduation gift, and students who identify as first-generation college students will also receive a First-Gen stole. 

FGLI-identifying student in cap-and-gown
students dancing

Northwestern Hillel Graduation Celebration

June 12-14, 2021
  • Saturday, June 12th 12pm-1:30pm (In-person)
  • Sunday, June 13th 3pm-5pm (In-person)
  • Monday, June 14th 1pm-3pm (In-person)
  • Monday, June 14 4-pm (Virtual)

We are delighted that Northwestern is celebrating the Class of 2021 and welcoming back the Class of 2020 for in-person receptions. Class of 2021, we look forward to celebrating you in June as you graduate from Northwestern! Class of 2020, we are excited to welcome you back to Hillel!

Please RSVP here by June 4. If you have questions, please contact hillel@u.northwestern.edu.

MSA End-of-Year Celebrations

Every year, Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) hosts a series of End-of-Year Celebrations to celebrate the accomplishments of our students.

Please visit the MSA End-of-Year Celebrations page for more information.

JubilAsian Senior Send-Off

May 28, 2021

JubilAsian is an annual MSA event that celebrates the Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American (APIDA) community on campus as part of May’s APIDA Heritage Month. For JubilAsian 2021, we are piloting our first-ever Senior Send-off video in order to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Northwestern's graduates of Asian, Pacific Islander, and/or Desi descent.

All students who participate will receive an "APIDA NU Grad" stole.  The JubilAsian Senior Send-Off will be a pre-recorded video that will premiere on Vimeo on Friday, May 28th at 6:30 PM CDT.

APIDA-identifying students playing at JubilAsian

Native American and Indigenous Community Celebration

June 3, 2021

The Native American and Indigenous Community Celebration is an annual event co-hosted by Multicultural Student Affairs and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI) that celebrates the yearly contributions of Native and Indigenous graduates, students, faculty, staff, and community members.

All students who participate will receive a white stole with purple and maple and oak leaves appliquéd by hand. 

The Native American and Indigenous Community Celebration ceremony will premiere on Vimeo on Thursday, June 3rd at 5 PM CDT.   There will be hosting a live viewing party via Zoom to celebrate together in the community!  You can join us for the viewing party by registering in advance.  Plan on sticking around after the viewing party to gather virtually in community with each other. 

Lavender Graduation

June 8, 2021

Lavender Graduation is an annual celebration hosted by Multicultural Student Affairs that celebrates the achievements of graduating students in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) community from Northwestern University.

All students who participate will receive a rainbow or trans stole. Lavender Graduation will premiere on Vimeo on Tuesday, June 8th at 6:30 PM CDT.  The Lavender Graduation ceremony will be a pre-recorded video.  To ensure safety and respect for the varying levels of disclosure within our community, the ceremony video will be password protected.

students at Lavender Graduation
A black-identifying student stands in front of a Black Lives Matter banner in cap and gown.

The JOY: Journey of Our Years – Northwestern's Black Congratulatory

June 9, 2021

The Journey of Our Years, or the JOY, is an annual celebration hosted by Multicultural Student Affairs to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Northwestern's Black graduates.

All students who participate will receive a Kente stole. The Journey of Our Years, or the JOY ceremony will be a pre-recorded video that will premiere on Vimeo on Wednesday, June 9th at 6:30 PM CDT. 

Latinx Congratulatory

June 10, 2021

The Latinx Congratulatory is an annual celebration hosted by Multicultural Student Affairs to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Northwestern's Latinx graduates.

All students who participate will receive a Sun stole.  The Latinx Congratulatory ceremony will be a pre-recorded video that will premiere on Vimeo beginning on Thursday, June 10th at 6:30 PM CDT

students at Latinx