Convocation, commencement and graduation.

< Previous | Next >

jakartaman

Senior Member
Korean
Dictionary definitions of convocation are a formal meeting (mostly at church or school) or a graduation ceremony where you receive your degree. But look at this question below.

At the convocation for students and parents, Bill Harris, the student speaker, hilariously described his own mother a few years earlier.
1. speech
2. ceremony
3. collocation
4. gathering
5. party

The answer is 2? or 4?

I've never heard of the word, convocation. Can you guys tell me what it is?
 
  • tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    When students graduate from university here, we have a convocation where they are presented with their degrees and all the parents get to gloat and weep happily. So a convocation is a gathering where a ceremony is held to honor the students. Some refer to this as commencement excercises. When I left school I did not think of it as a start (commencement) but as an end - an end to school. Now the years are leaving their mark on me I realize that it was the start of the rest of my life, but then it is also a start every morning when I wake up!
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    When students graduate from university here, we have a convocation where they are presented with their degrees and all the parents get to gloat and weep happily. So a convocation is a gathering where a ceremony is held to honor the students. Some refer to this as commencement excercises. When I left school I did not think of it as a start (commencement) but as an end - an end to school. Now the years are leaving their mark on me I realize that it was the start of the rest of my life, but then it is also a start every morning when I wake up!
    This must be a Canadian exclusive, I have certainly never heard it used that way before. As for 'exercise commencement', my mind boggles!:eek:

    With regard to your suggestion that graduation, convocation and commencement are the same thing, I remain utterly confused.:confused: If you had said 'graduation ceremony', I could have agreed, but 'commencement'?
     

    tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    This must be a Canadian exclusive, I have certainly never heard it used that way before. As for 'exercise commencement', my mind boggles!:eek:

    With regard to your suggestion that graduation, convocation and commencement are the same thing, I remain utterly confused.:confused: If you had said 'graduation ceremony', I could have agreed, but 'commencement'?
    I'm not making this up. We have commencement exercises - we do not excercise commencement. It's interesting that this may not be well known, I thought it was a common phrase. Live and learn!
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I'm not making this up. We have commencement exercises - we do not excercise commencement. It's interesting that this may not be well known, I thought it was a common phrase. Live and learn!
    I never imagined you were making it up. Oh, 'exercise commencement' was a typo. Nevertheless, I'm just wondering exactly what commencement exercises are and what they have to do with grdauation.:)
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    Yes, generally I hear "commencement exercises" as a more formal way to describe a graduation ceremony, otherwise known as simply "commencement."
    "Commencement Exercises will begin with the procession at 10:00am,..."
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    If you google commencement excercises you will find lots of definitions and places to look. I find that it is a widely used term.
    All very interesting, but not very enlightening to my mind, especially since time does not allow me to delve very deeply. Obviously the expression/ceremony or whatever is limited to the other side of the pond, where the educational system is very different from ours.:)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Etymologically it just means a gathering, a calling together - com- vocare. The most famous example in literature of use of the word is probably in the exchange between the King and Hamlet, after Hamlet has murdered the politician, Polonius, the father of his girl, Ophelia, and seems to have hidden the body:

    King. Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?
    Ham. At supper.
    King. At supper? Where?
    Ham. Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Then graduation, commencement, and convocation are the same thing with regional difference?
    I'm not sure if this has been clearly stated, but a convocation may be a commencement exercise and it may be something else. "Convocation" is a more general term than "commencement".

    At my high school we had both a commencement exercise and a separate graduation ceremony, held on different days.
     

    Orange Blossom

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    Dictionary definitions of convocation are a formal meeting (mostly at church or school) or a graduation ceremony where you receive your degree. But look at this question below.

    At the convocation for students and parents, Bill Harris, the student speaker, hilariously described his own mother a few years earlier.
    1. speech
    2. ceremony
    3. collocation
    4. gathering
    5. party

    The answer is 2? or 4?

    I've never heard of the word, convocation. Can you guys tell me what it is?
    Tomas Tompian has clearly given the actual meaning of convocation, which is calling together. While a convocation can be a formal event such as commencement, it may also be much more informal. My high school held many convocations of various sorts, and most were not ceremonies. Given the description of the student's speech, I would suggest that this particular convocation is not a formal ceremony.

    Orange Blossom
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The use of "convocation" to mean the ceremony at which university graduates are awarded their degrees seems to be especially a Canadian usage. Universities in the United States are more likely to call such events "graduation" or "commencement" ceremonies, while "convocation" at US universities is commonly used for those OTHER ceremonies at which the faculty can trot out their academic gowns: namely, the presentation of honors or awards to persons from within or without the university other than students who have completed their degrees.

    As for Porteño's unfamiliarity with the term "commencement", it might be noted that it is yet another American retention of once-familiar British terms that Britons have forgotten. Since the Puritans who organized the earliest universities in New England were sons of Cambridge, it is Cambridge terms and traditions that have largely dictated US academic tradition -- and it was at Cambridge that degrees were awarded during "commencement."
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    The use of "convocation" to mean the ceremony at which university graduates are awarded their degrees seems to be especially a Canadian usage. Universities in the United States are more likely to call such events "graduation" or "commencement" ceremonies, while "convocation" at US universities is commonly used for those OTHER ceremonies at which the faculty can trot out their academic gowns: namely, the presentation of honors or awards to persons from within or without the university other than students who ahve completed their degrees.

    As for Porteño's unfamiliarity with the term "commencement", it might be noted that it is yet another American retention of once-familiar British terms that Britons have forgotten. Since the Puritans who organized the earliest universities in New England were sons of Cambridge, it is Cambridge terms and traditions that have largely dictated US academic tradition -- and it was at Cambridge that degrees were awarded during "commencement."
    Very interesting and I suppose not really surprising when one thinks about the origins of the language over there. No doubt there are many other relics from Olde England that have survived long after being abandoned or having simply fallen out of use in the old country.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top