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What to Expect on Convocation Day

Convocation is a busy event that involves thousands of people, including graduating students, faculty, staff, volunteers and guests. Here you will find information on what to expect on this momentous day!

Please plan to arrive 90 minutes before the beginning of your ceremony. You will pick up your academic regalia (robe, hood and cap) and your name card and then report to the marshalling area. If you arrive late, you may not be able to participate in the ceremony.

The graduand procession will enter the Pavilion 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Guests who wish to view the arrival of the procession are strongly encouraged to be seated at least 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony.

Academic regalia (robe, hood and cap) must be rented online prior to the convocation ceremony. If you are a 2022 graduand, your rental is booked when you RSVP. If you are a 2020 or 2021 graduate, you will need rent your robe online after submitting your RSVP by following the instructions in your confirmation email.

Marshalling is the procedure of forming an alphabetical line of graduands by department and by degree classification for the procession to the convocation stage. Guests are not permitted in the marshalling area. The marshalling area inside the Grad Services Pavilion is not secure, no items should be left behind once the procession starts.

As it takes time to marshal all of the graduands, it is very important that you arrive 90 minutes prior to your ceremony to collect your academic regalia and be marshalled in order. The procession of graduands will enter the convocation venue 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. If you arrive after the procession has left, you will not be permitted to participate in the ceremony.

You will be given a name card which will show your full name as it appears on your diploma. Hang on to your card! This card is used at the ceremony to announce you.

Handbags or any other articles are not to be carried during the convocation ceremony. Please leave purses, bags, valuables, jackets etc. at home, in your car or with your guests for safe keeping as the marshalling area is not secure.

Academic Costume Code
York University adheres to the Academic Costume Code which prescribes "Nothing else should be worn on the academic gown". In addition, flowers cannot be worn nor carried until after the ceremony has concluded.

Once the procession of graduands is led by the marshals and ushers into the convocation site, the ceremony will consist of the following:

  • Academic procession
  • Call to order
  • National anthem
  • Opening greeting
  • Chancellor's remarks
  • President and Vice-Chancellor's Remarks
  • Conferral of special University awards or recognitions (not in all ceremonies)
  • Conferring of the Degree Honoris Causa (not in all ceremonies)
  • Convocation address
  • Dean's remarks
  • Presentation of candidates/graduands
  • Conferral of degrees (not in alumni ceremonies)
  • Closing
  • Dismissal
  • Withdrawal of the procession

When the degrees are to be conferred, the Chair of the University Senate will ask that the graduands please rise but stay at their seats, and will address the Chancellor with the following words:

"Mr. Chancellor, as Chair of the University Senate and on behalf of the Senate of York University, I present to you these Candidates, and certify that they have successfully completed all the requirements established by the statutes of this University for their degrees.

I now request that you confer on these Candidates their degrees and that you grant them all the rights and privileges, and challenge them to accept all the obligations and responsibilities arising therefrom."

The Chancellor will respond with:

"As Chancellor of York University, by authority of the powers vested in me, I hereby confer upon you the degrees to which you have demonstrated your entitlement to the satisfaction of the Senate, with such title, honours, duties, rights and privileges as are proper to them.

Admitto vos ad gradum."

Ushers will start directing graduands to rise and line up to approach the platform. You will be told to present your name to the card handler, who will give it to the name reader. Once your name has been read, proceed to the Chancellor and pause so that your picture can be taken by a professional photographer. Instead of greeting the Chancellor by shaking his hand, we ask that grads raise their hand to their heart. Ushers and marshals will be available to make sure you find your way back to your seat.

Please remain in your seat until convocation has been dismissed. The student procession will follow immediately after the faculty procession.

Immediately following convocation, the graduates and guests of the University are invited to attend Faculty receptions. The exact location of Faculty receptions will be in the convocation program.

York's mask protocol will remain in place until further notice. At this time, all attendees will be required to wear a mask at convocation in accordance with this protocol.

York will pause its COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate effective May 1, 2022 (May 4, 2022 for Osgoode Hall Law School students, faculty and staff). The requirement for daily health screening for those coming to our campuses is similarly paused effective May 1 (May 4, 2022 for Osgoode Hall Law School students, faculty and staff). However, community members should continue to monitor their health and not attend campus if they are feeling unwell. More information on York’s COVID-19 response can be found on the Better Together website.

To ensure the safety of graduands and their guests, convocation ceremonies will follow all York, municipal and provincial health and safety measures. In the event that it is necessary for the University to reinstate requirements for Proof of Vaccination, these protocols will apply to all those attending Convocation.