What is Convocation?

Convocation (from the Latin 'calling together', translating the Greek ecclesia) – A convocation is a formal academic gathering for a special purpose. Our graduate convocation is an honors ceremony that celebrates the achievements of UMass Boston’s graduating graduate students. The graduate convocation includes the Book Awards in which every graduate program gives a special book in the discipline to one of its most outstanding students. In addition, doctoral students are hooded at graduate convocation and students that receive other departmental prizes are recognized.

All graduating graduate students and their families are invited to graduate convocation. Students who are receiving awards or being hooded wear their academic regalia and march in the procession, as do graduate faculty. You will be notified by the Office of Graduate Studies if you are receiving an award. Other master’s students and guests will be seated in the gymnasium (located in the Clark Athletic Center).

Graduate convocation lasts about one hour and forty-five minutes. While young children are welcome, they may find the ceremony long. The convocation will be broadcast to the lobby area and guests with children may wish to watch the convocation from there.

There is no rehearsal. It is important for graduates to arrive at the robing room by 2:15 to receive instructions, assemble, etc.

Master’s students receiving awards should wear their gowns and hoods to convocation. You will line up in order in the robing room and process into the gymnasium. You will be seated in the center section and your name will be on your seat. Please follow along in the program and be ready to come up to the stage as soon as the person in front of you leaves the stage. Your goal is to be at the center of the stage as the announcer finishes your name! You will receive your award, shake hands with the stage party as you cross the stage, exit on the right, and return to your seat.

Doctoral students will line up in order in the robing room and process into the gymnasium. Doctoral candidates are seated in the center front rows of the gymnasium and your name will be on your seat. Please come to the stage quickly when your name is called – your goal is to get to the center of the stage before the reading of your dissertation title is complete! Please step up to the podium using the ramp/stairs to your left. Remember, if you are taller then the faculty member hooding you, please bend at your knees slightly. You will be hooded, shake hands with the stage party, exit on the right, and return to your seat.

How do I wear my cap, gown and hood?

Master’s Gown, Cap and Hood: The hood is to be placed over the gown around the neck and shoulders so that the larger portion with the satin colors hangs down the wearer’s back. The velvet border is worn facing out, with the velvet positioned as the upper band on the hood (under the chin) and the narrow satin trim positioned as the lower band. Smooth the velvet band and satin trim into place as the hood is draped over the shoulders and down the back. Look for a loop or a hook attached to the front of the hood that should be fastened to the gown so that it does not press on the front of the wearer’s neck.

To expose the satin lining in the back, starting at the middle-back level, turn the free edge of the velvet border, below the shoulders, with the fingertips out to the sides and under in a small "inside out” maneuver. This will cause the satin lining to roll into view. Secure the cord at the upper back to both buttons found in the lining to keep the hood from spreading apart in the back and falling off the shoulders.

The correct way to wear a mortarboard is to have the larger part of the skull of the mortarboard at the back of the head with the top board parallel to the ground. A proper fitting mortarboard should not fall off easily. The mortarboard should be worn so that a corner faces forward and the board is parallel to the ground. The tassel should be on your left.

Doctoral Gown and Tam: All doctoral students should wear their gown and tam. You will receive your hood during the reception in the robing area, and your advisor will hood you during the convocation