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FAQs

Ceremonies

How do I register for my school's convocation?

Click here to register for your school's in-person convocation.

How do I register for the 2020 Graduation Celebration?

Click here to register the 2020 Graduation Celebration.

How are the 2020 Graduates being celebrated?

The Class of 2020 is invited back to campus for a Graduation Celebration on June 12th, 2021. Students who choose to participate will be allowed to bring four (4) guests. We are following state guidelines in the Bridge to Phase 5 plan related to social distancing and occupancy and comparing that with the venue capacity. The ceremony will also be livestreamed for any remote viewers. This event will include the opportunity to walk across a stage and hear your name announced.

Are 2020 graduates able to participate in the 2021 Convocations for individual schools? 

No, because we have capacity limitations at our Convocation sites. We are only able to invite you to your 2020 Graduation Celebration. 

Are the ceremony dates finalized? What is the plan for 2021 Commencement?

Yes, the event dates are finalized for Commencement and convocations.
  • The 163rd Annual Commencement will be presented virtually on Monday, June 14, 2021 at 11 a.m. CDT.
  • We are hosting in-person school convocations for the Class of 2021, while Commencement will remain virtual.
  • Convocations will take place on June 12, 13, and 14 at Ryan Field and the Ryan Fieldhouse. These events are hosted by your school(s) to celebrate your accomplishments individually, including having your name read while you make the final triumphant walk of your Northwestern journey across the stage. These events also will be livestreamed for those viewing remotely. This is a well-earned moment filled with meaning for you and your loved ones. More information on convocations can be found on the Convocations & Receptions page.

What is the date and time of my school’s convocation?

A schedule of school convocations can be found on the Convocations & Receptions pageConvocations will be available to graduates, community members, and guests in June. Your school will be sharing more information on this ceremony in the coming weeks, and we thank you for your patience as we coordinate these details. 

Logistics

What is the difference between a "Commencement", "Convocation", and "Celebration"?

Commencement is the university-wide ceremony where the current 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 schools with the university. Students are recognized at their school’s convocation ceremony. A full itinerary of Convocations can be found here.

Celebrations are events surrounding Commencement and Convocations, such as Congratulatories and Receptions.

How do I get my regalia?

Donning your purple gown is an excellent way to celebrate your achievements, whether you plan to participate in our in-person events or celebrate remotely. Regalia can be shipped to an off-campus location for a small shipping fee or sent to Norris for an in-person pick up. The portal to order your regalia will open during Spring break. More information will be coming from the Commencement Office. Information regarding regalia can be found here.

Do I need tickets for the 2021 Commencement?

No - wwith Commencement being held virtually this year, the viewing will be open to all with no ticketing required. 

Do I need tickets for the 2021 Convocations?

Graduates must register and guests must be ticketed. School convocations hosted on campus will be ticketed, with a limited number of 2 guests per Graduate. Ticketing will be based on local, state, and federal guidelines. Registration can be completed and guest ticketing can be requested through the 2021 Registration form. 

Do I need tickets for the 2020 Graduation Celebration? 

Graduates must register and guests must be ticketed. School convocations hosted on campus will be ticketed, with a limited number of 2 guests per Graduate. Ticketing will be based on local, state, and federal guidelines. Registration can be completed and guest ticketing can be requested through the 2020 Registration Form.

How many guests will be allowed per student at the in-person ceremonies?

Four (4) guests per student will be permitted for the in-person Convocation ceremonies. We are monitoring public health guidelines and will update information should capacity guidelines permit more guests.

How can I request additional tickets?

To request additional tickets, please search your email for your confirmation from your first ticket request. This is an editable link, one which you can use to re-enter the form to update your request. You will see that two additional guest slots are populated on the form. Please add the additional names and any ADA accommodations that may be needed.

Can another student who has extra tickets give me theirs? 

No, because seating will be assigned and in pods to allow for social distancing. This will allow in-person events to be as safe as possible while following current health and safety guidelines. 

How can I update my name for my Convocation page?

For graduates 2021 graduates submitting information for online graduate pages, your diploma name may not be the name you wish to have on your online page. If you prefer to have a different first name read and displayed at your Convocation you can change that in CAESAR. Please see the instructions on the Registrar’s website. Scroll down to the Preferred Name section for instructions. Update your name in CAESAR by May 16 for it to reflect as you wish on the page.

COVID-19

Will masks be mandatory at the in-person ceremonies even if I have been vaccinated? 

Masks will be mandatory at all the ceremonies during Commencement weekend. Northwestern branded masks will be provided to students as a part of their regalia. Guests will be required to wear masks in order to enter the venue and will wear them throughout the entire ceremony. If a guest forgets their mask, a disposable mask will be provided for them.  

Will graduates and guests need to obtain a negative COVID test in order to participate in the in-person ceremonies? 

If you are planning to attend the in-person portions of the Commencement weekend at the 2020 Graduation Celebration or the 2021 Convocations, you will receive instructions for COVID-19 testing on Thursday, June 10, or Friday June 11. Testing remains an important component in preventing the spread of the virus.

If vaccinated guests do not count toward capacity for indoor events, why can’t I bring more than two vaccinated guests? 

There is currently not a system in place for validating people who have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine within the United States; therefore, the capacity restrictions will be observed without regard to vaccinated guests. 

Should my family and friends book their flights and hotels now? 

Although the pandemic conditions are rapidly changing, we are committed to having graduates and guests on campus for in-person convocations. We encourage you to make travel accommodations if you would like to participate in these ceremonies. If local and state guidelines change, Northwestern University will adapt to guidelines.

What are the COVID-19 safety protocols that Northwestern will be using to ensure the safety of its graduates and guests? 

  • Masks: Anyone who attends in the in-person convocations and celebrations is required to wear a mask at all times. 
  • Limited Capacity: Graduates will be allowed to bring two guests to convocations and celebrations, limiting capacity to a safe percentage of the overall capacity for the venues in which they will occur. 
  • Social Distancing: The limited capacity will allow for seating to occur in pods of two guests. Those pods will be socially distanced from adjacent pods by 3 feet, the distance recommended by local and state guidelines.  
  • Ventilation: The venues will have adequate ventilation to promote the circulation of air. For ceremonies greater than one hour, this will be crucial in ensuring the safety of our graduates and guests.