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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. 

When will I receive my diploma?

Diploma information is sent to the vendor after all grades are finalized, usually in the first full week of July. Diplomas are printed and mailed about 4 weeks after that.

How do I get a diploma cover?

You will receive a diploma cover at your school’s convocation. If you are not attending your convocation, please contact your school representative to discuss how you can receive one. 

How do I contact my school representative?

You can find the full list of our contacts on the questions index page. If still unsure, email the Graduation Office and we are happy to help direct you.  

Where can I see the previous emails that have been sent this graduation cycle?

All communications sent by the Graduation Office can be found here. If you are not receiving these emails, but believe you should be, please contact the Graduation Office with your name, school, and NetID.  

How do I get my parent added to the list for the emails to parents?

We pull our email list from the Registrar’s Office and CAESAR. To add a parent email address to the mailing list, the student should fill out this form and return it to the Registrar’s office. 

How do I request a Visa Invitation letter?

If you have guests hoping to travel from outside of the United States that require a personalized invitation for to request their visa, please fill out this form.  The Graduation Office will draft and forward your letter via email. 

What do you recommend families and guests wear?

In June, Chicago-area weather conditions and temperatures can vary greatly. Those who are sensitive to the sun should be prepared with sunscreen and appropriate protective headgear. Comfortable shoes are recommended. In the event of light rain, the ceremony will remain outdoors at Ryan Field, and guests and participants are advised to be prepared for the weather.

What are the future Graduation Weekend dates?

Graduation Weekend 2024

  • June 8-10, 2024


Graduation Weekend 2025

  • June 14-16, 2025


Graduation Weekend 2026

  • June 13-15, 2026


How do I find the Commencement Program?

A PDF version of the Commencement Program will be available online for the ceremony, and print copies of the program can be ordered to be shipped to you free of charge.  

How do I order the Commencement Program?

Ordering has not yet opened for print copies of the 2023 Commencement Program. Information on how to order will be included in future emails to graduates.  

Will Latin Honors be included in the program?

Yes, the printed program will include all Latin Honors. Please note that the digital version of the program available for the Commencement ceremony will not have Latin honors, as the event is taking place before final grades are due. 


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

A schedule of school convocations can be found on the Convocations page. Convocations will be available to graduates, community members, and guests in June. Your school will be sharing more information on this ceremony.

How do I register for Commencement?

An email will be sent from The Graduation Office to everyone eligible to participate. While registration is not required, this email includes the link to request guest tickets to the ceremony and order your regalia, which is required to walk in any ceremony. 

How do I register for my school's convocation?

An email will be sent from your school to everyone eligible to participate. This email will include the link to request guest tickets to the ceremony and any additional registration information required. 

Will Latin Honors be announced at my school’s convocation?

Because ceremonies are taking place before final grades are due, we are unable to calculate honors to be read at the ceremonies. Honors will be listed in the printed Commencement Program and any related items will be mailed to you. 


How do I order my regalia?

For information on how to order your regalia, visit the Regalia page. 

I can’t log in to the regalia portal. What do I do now?

Only those with an approved petition to graduate through the Registrar’s Office have been added to our ordering system. If you believe this applies to you, but are still experiencing difficulties, please contact the Graduation Office.  

How do I get my regalia?

Donning your purple gown is an excellent way to celebrate your achievements and is required to participate in Commencement and convocations. All regalia is available to be shipped to the University Bookstore at Norris for in-person pick up, and non-rental regalia can also be shipped to an off-campus location for a small shipping fee. 

Do you have a regalia recycling program?

Regalia recycling will be available after the ceremony. 


Do I need tickets for the 2023 Commencement?

Tickets are not needed for graduates, but are needed for guests. Graduates can request their allotted 10 guest tickets.

Do I need tickets for the 2023 Convocations?

Graduates can request their guest tickets through the link to be sent out by your school.

How many guests will be allowed per student?

Ten (10) guests per student will be permitted for Commencement. Ten (10) guests will be permitted per graduate for school convocations with the exception of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, which is allowing four (4) guests per graduate at this time. 

I can’t log in to the ticketing portal. What do I do now?

Only those with an approved petition to graduate through the Registrar’s Office have been added to our ordering system. If you believe this applies to you, but are still experiencing difficulties, please contact the Graduation Office.  

How can I request additional tickets?

All initial orders will receive the maximum number of tickets regardless of how many guests the graduate intends to bring. We may be able to distribute additional unclaimed tickets closer to the event, but the best way to ensure you have additional tickets is to ask a friend who is not using all of theirs. 

Can another student who has extra tickets and won’t be using them give me theirs?

Yes. We encourage you to share tickets among friends. Ticket transfer instructions will be available when tickets are emailed, which is about two weeks before the event. 

Will seating be assigned at the ceremonies?

All ceremonies will be general admission. Doors open one hour before the event start time.  

Are there any options for those needing accessible seating?

Yes.  When ordering tickets, you can request wheelchair or limited mobility seating:
  • Wheelchair seating is intended for guests who will require a wheelchair. All venues have specific accessible seating locations.
  • Limited mobility seating is intended for guests who need shorter distances and limited staircases, but do not need a wheelchair for mobility. In some venues, this limited mobility seating is the same section as the wheelchair seating.

When ordering tickets, please indicate the exact number of wheelchair or limited mobility seats required, not the size of your full party. At least one of your guests will be allowed to join a guest needing wheelchair or limited mobility seating, but your entire party may not be able to sit together. 

Please note, these tickets do not include any parking permissions, but we host accessible drop off locations at all venues.  

Graduation Weekend Venues

Will the University’s clear bag policy be enforced Graduation Weekend?

No. The University will not be enforcing the Clear Bag Policy during Graduation Weekend events.

Will there be a lost and found at Graduation Weekend?

Yes. All lost items will be collected and stored inside the lobby at the Welsh-Ryan Arena at the end of each day.  You can contact NU Athletic Facilities Office at (847) 491-7887 to arrange pickup.

Are there any items that I cannot bring to the graduation ceremonies?

Yes. Common items that are prohibited from all our graduation ceremonies include but are not limited to:
*Confetti and/or glitter of any sort
*Banners, flags, or signs
*Noisemakers including cowbells, musical instruments or horns
*Alcoholic beverages
*Televisions, large lens cameras, tripods, or large radios
*Cans, glasses, thermoses, picnic baskets, ice chests, wine skins, food, drinks or coolers
*Outside food and beverage
Please note: Smoking of any kind is NOT permitted at any of the Graduation Weekend Venues.


Will there be any restrictions or guidelines in place for graduation events?

Northwestern is closely monitoring the state of the pandemic and plans to follow all state and local guidelines. For more information on Northwestern’s COVID-19 response, please visit the University’s COVID-19 and Campus Updates page. 

Will graduates and guests need to be vaccinated in order to participate in the in-person ceremonies? 

Guests will not need proof of vaccination in order to attend.