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A Convocation (Latin 'calling together', translating the Greek ecclesia) is a group of people formally assembled for a special purpose.

In some Universities for example, the term "convocation" refers specifically to the entirety of the alumni of a college which function as one of the university's representative bodies. Due to its inordinate size, the Convocation will elect a standing committee, which is responsible for making representations concerning the views of the alumni to the university administration. The convocation also, however, can hold general meetings, at which any alumnus can attend. The main function of the convocation is to represent the views of the alumni to the university administration, to encourage co-operation among alumni (esp. in regard to donations), and to elect members of the University's governing body (known variously as the Senate, Council, Board, etc., depending on the particular institution, but basically equivalent to a board of directors of a corporation.) The equivalent of the Convocation in the Scottish University system is the General Council.

In the University of Oxfordmarker, Convocation was originally the main governing body of the University, consisting of all doctors and masters of the University, but it now comprises all graduates of the university and its only remaining function is to elect the Chancellor of the University and the Professor of Poetry.

At Durham Universitymarker, the Convocation appoints the Chancellor of the University; most recently renowned American author Bill Bryson on 4 April 2005.

In the University of London; convocation, between its establishment in 1858 and its abolition in 2003, consisted of the university's graduates who were involved in the university's governance. After 1900, convocation had the power to elect the chancellor.

At Saint Benedict's Prep, the faculty and the students gather together for prayer.

At some universities and colleges (e.g. University of Chicagomarker, Cornell Universitymarker, Teachers College, Columbia University, University of Illinois, and most universities in Canadamarker and Indiamarker), graduation events are called "convocations," as opposed to commencements in other universities. At the University of Torontomarker, convocation events are held at a specific venue named Convocation Hallmarker. At other universities such as the University of Oklahomamarker and University of Utahmarker, graduation ceremonies consist of both a commencement and a convocation with the commencement being the larger, university-wide ceremony and the individual colleges presenting degrees at a convocation.

At other colleges such as University of Cincinnatimarker, California State University, East Baymarker, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Simpson Collegemarker, Stanford Universitymarker, The College of William and Marymarker, and Marymount Universitymarker, convocation refers to a formal ceremony in which arriving freshmen are welcomed and may sign the College "matricula", a ceremonial parchment that contains the names of all of the students and alumni.

At Loyola Marymount University, Convocation is an hour on tuesdays and thursdays between 12:00pm and 1:00pm where all the student assemble and no classes are held

Ecclesiastical convocations

The technical name given in the Church of England to what corresponds in some respects to a Catholic provincial synod, though in other respects it differs widely from it. It is the name of the assemblies of the two Provinces of the Church of England, the Convocations of Canterbury and York, and various other assemblies of other churches. These two bodies of the Church of England were prorogued by Royal Writ in 1717, because of conflict between Whig Bishops and the clergy in the Bangorian controversy. They were revived in the 19th century, Canterbury in 1852 and York in 1861. They were exclusively clerical assemblies until 1885, when a House of Laity was added to each Convocation. At the beginning of the twentieth century, joint meetings of both Convocations formed a Representative Council which, having no power or legal authority, was superseded in 1920 by the Church Assembly. The Convocations still exist but legal power now rests with the General Synod set up in the 1970s.


In many universities throughout the world (including countries such as India and Sri Lanka) convocation is the university graduation ceremony to award degrees to students and honorary graduands.

Other use


  1. Convocation at Memorial University

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