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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?

To add your parent to the NU Parents & Family Mailing List, please fill out and submit this form.

How do I request a Visa Invitation letter?

If you have guests hoping to travel from outside of the United States, please visit Northwestern's Office of International Student and Scholar Services Inviting Family on B-1/B-2 Visa page for invitation templates and visa guidance. 

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.

What are the future Graduation Weekend dates?

Graduation Weekend 2024

  • June 7-10, 2024


Graduation Weekend 2025

  • June 13-16, 2025


Graduation Weekend 2026

  • June 12-15, 2026

What types of personal items are not permitted inside the Graduation Weekend venues?

We have restrictions on what people can bring in into the venue for the safety and comfort of all our viewers. Both Northwestern University and the United Center do not allow the following items:

  • air horns or any other artificial noise makers, including instruments
  • animals (excluding service animals)
  • bottles or cans
  • cameras with detachable lenses
  • confetti of any kind
  • coolers
  • fireworks
  • glitter
  • laser pens or laser products of any type
  • outside food or beverage of any kind (alcoholic beverages included)
  • poles or sticks
  • projectiles
  • selfie sticks
  • umbrellas (any size)
  • weapons of any kind, including guns, knives, ammunition, explosives, pepper spray and mace

The United Center has additional restrictions prohibiting banners, signs or flags, GoPros, iPads, laptops, masks, and plastic bags, and reserves the right to determine other items unacceptable upon entry. The United Center will not store any of the aforementioned items. 

Strollers at the United Center must be checked in at any of the Guest Relations booths located at Gates 2 or 6. 


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?

You can always download the PDF of the program. An initial program will be available at the time of Graduation Weekend, and a complete program including Latin honors will be available in late summer. A small number of final program print copies will be available, with the ordering link coming in the June graduation communications.

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. 

I am a double major. Do I attend both school ceremonies?

Double majors only attend their home school ceremony; dual degree students may be invited to attend more than one ceremony, depending the degrees and school(s). 


How do I order my regalia?

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

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. 


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.  

Do I need a ticket for myself as a graduate?

Graduates do not need to reserve tickets for themselves for either their school convocation or Commencement. 

I requested waitlist tickets. Now what?

Waitlist tickets are filled based on tickets that are not claimed through the initial ticketing rounds and tickets that are returned by other graduates because their guests’ plans changed. You may receive all or some of your requested waitlist tickets, and you may receive different amounts of tickets at different times as tickets are donated back. Once you are notified that you have received waitlist tickets you have 72 hours to log into the system and complete your cart to claim your tickets. 

How do I distribute my tickets to my guests?

You can distribute tickets to guests by text or by downloading and sending a PDF. If you have guests that are not tech-savvy or who do not have smartphones you can send those tickets to others in your party to hold, but those guests must enter together. 

Please see the Tickets page for instructions on key ticketing actions. 

Does one set of tickets cover the ceremonies for all weekend?

Each ceremony is a separate event with seating capacities. You will need separate tickets for each event you would like to attend. 

Do children need a ticket?

Children 3 and under who will sit in a caregiver’s lap do not need tickets; everyone else needs a ticket.