Frequently Asked Questions for Graduating Students, Friends, and Family

Q: What is the difference between McCormick Convocation and University Commencement?

A: Diplomas are not awarded during Commencement and this is a university wide celebration. McCormick Convocation on the other hand, is solely for engineering graduates, who will be announced and recognized individually and their diplomas will be distributed.

Q: When will I receive my diploma?

A: Diplomas will be handed out during McCormick Convocation.

Q: When and where is University Commencement?

A: Friday, June 17, 2016 at 9:30 am-11:00 am outdoors in Ryan Field (1501 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60208).

Q: When and where is McCormick Convocation?

A: Saturday, June 18 at 8:30 am to 10:15 am indoors at the Welsh-Ryan Arena (2705 Ashland Ave, Evanston, IL 60208). Following the ceremony, allow about 10 minutes to return your rented gown.

Q: What events are happening after McCormick Convocation?

A: After the convocation at 10:15 am, McCormick will host a Dean’s Reception for McCormick Graduates and families in the tent outside NE corner of McGaw Hall.

Q: What time do students need to be ready in cap and gown for University Commencement and McCormick Convocation?

For University Commencement, students must be in cap & gown and ready at 8:30 am on June 17th at the assembly points in Ryan Field (See Assembly page.)

For McCormick Convocation, students must be dressed in cap & gown and assembled at no later than 7:45 am in Trienens Hall, Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Q: Do I need tickets to attend University Commencement?

A: Yes, tickets are necessary for Commencement. Each participating graduate is given a ten ticket allotment. In case of severe weather, the number of allotments for each student is two, as the ceremony will move into the Welsh-Ryan Arena. You may get your tickets for 2016 Commencement here.

Q: Do I need tickets to attend the McCormick Convocation?

A: No paper tickets will be issued this year. Instead, ticket allocations will be tracked online. Students should have received an email with an RSVP link (also available here). Students must sign in with their credentials to take the survey and will have the opportunity to indicate the number of tickets needed at the end of the survey.

Q: May I arrive early to the ceremonies?

A: If guests wish to arrive early for University Commencement, the gates will open at 8:00 am. For McCormick Convocation, doors will open at 7 am. Please allow yourself ample time for travel and parking on this busy weekend.

Q: I haven’t received any information, how do I know if I’m graduating?

A: To check graduation status, students must check their audit in MAS. There, you can see your degree requirements and your requested graduation date (if have applied to graduate). If you are having problems viewing this, come to Tech L269 to speak with Ann Anderson or Emily Venezia.

Q: If I graduate in August 2016, can I still take part in the June 2016 graduation ceremonies?

A: Yes, if you are an undergraduate student finishing your degree requirements in August, you may still participate in the McCormick Convocation ceremony. However, you will not receive your diploma on the day of Convocation. After you have completed your summer coursework, your degree will be audited and the diploma will be mailed to you.

Q: If I completed my coursework in December 2015 or March 2016, is it possible for me to attend the June 2016 McCormick Convocation?

A: Yes, if you completed your degree requirements in during these times, you are welcome to participate in the McCormick Convocation ceremony.

Q: How do I order my cap and gown and what is the deadline? How will I pick it up?

A: Rental arrangements for caps and gowns must be made online by May 13, 2016, at the Herff Jones site. Caps and gowns will be distributed in Norris University Center to Undergrads on Tuesday June 14th, 10:00 am-7:00 pm.

Q: In addition to a cap and gown, what is appropriate attire for the ceremony?

A: The weather in June is often quite hot. Please be sure that the shoes and clothes worn under your gown allow you to be comfortable while still preserving the dignity of the ceremony.

Q: I’m a graduate student, where do I get information on my graduation ceremony?

A: Information on ceremonies for graduate students can be found here. For detailed information, contact Paula Straaton at 847-491-3553 or p-straaton@northwestern.edu.

Q: Is there special accommodation available for ceremony guests with accessibility needs?

A: For disability accommodation services at University Commencement, please click here to read options and make a request. For special accommodations at McCormick Convocation, you will have the opportunity to make this request when you complete the survey and RSVP.

Q: What items are prohibited at the ceremonies?

A: Alcohol, weapons, tobacco consumption, cell phone use during procession and ceremony, musical instruments, large purses, coolers, bags, backpacks, glass containers, cans, thermoses, ice chests, picnic baskets, beach balls, inflatables.

Q: Where can I store my belongings?

A: There will be no lockers or storage space for personal belongings. Please pack lightly and plan to leave all backpacks, cameras, purses, skateboards, and other personal items with friends or family for safekeeping during the ceremonies.

Q: What if it rains during University Commencement?

A: Commencement will go on outdoors rain or shine so please dress appropriately. In case of severe weather, the ceremony will move into Welsh-Ryan Arena and announcements will be emailed on the day of the ceremony as well as posted at http://www.northwestern.edu.

Q: Will professional photography be available at McCormick Convocation?

A: Each diploma recipient will be photographed by a professional photographer from Grad Images, Inc. Graduates will subsequently be contacted by the studio performing this photo service and informed about how to buy their images. A separate vendor, Graduation Nation, will make available a DVD recording of the entire ceremony; they will be notifying families of their service soon. During the ceremony it is impossible for guests to take close-up pictures.

Q: Who will deliver this year’s University Commencement address?

A: University alumnus Seth Myers will deliver the University Commencement address.

Q: Who will deliver this year’s McCormick Convocation address?

A: University alumnus Chelsea Stoner will deliver the McCormick Convocation address.

Q: What other celebration events are happening during the weekend besides the University Commencement and McCormick Convocation?

A: Other events include: President’s Reception, Baccalaureate Service 2016

Q: Where can I find parking and transportation information to the ceremonies?

A: Transportation information can be found here.

Q: When is the Order of the Engineer Ceremony (Ring Ceremony) for McCormick Undergraduates, and what does it entail?

A: Thursday, June 16, at 2:00 pm, in the Ryan Family Auditorium, Technological Institute, is the optional Ring Ceremony, at which graduates are inducted into the Order of the Engineer. At this event, engineers pledge to follow the professional standards befitting an engineer. Dress is business casual. No RSVP is necessary, but it is mandatory that interested students order their ring using the form sent out in graduation information email.

Q: Is it necessary to purchase rings for participation in the Order of the Engineering Ceremony (Ring Ceremony)?

A: Yes, will receive your ring during the ceremony as part of the swearing in process.

Q: To purchase rings, how much do they cost and how do we order them?

A: $40. You should receive the order form in your email along with graduation instructions. If you do not know your ring size, you can stop by L268 or L269 to try on rings.

Q: Is there a page with more information on University Commencement?

A: Yes, information and updates for graduates, family, and guests can be found here.

Q: How can I stay involved with Northwestern after I graduate?

A: Ways to stay involved as an alumnus can be found here.