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

Ecclesiastical convocations

Convocation is also a synodical assembly of a church.

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 have always been exclusively clerical assemblies. However, in 1885 the Convocations agreed to the establishment of parallel Houses of Laity elected by the lay members of the diocesan conferences. These were not part of Convocation; they had no constitutional status and were merely advisory.[1] 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joint meetings of both Convocations formed a Representative Council which, having no power or legal authority, was superseded in 1920 by the Church Assembly.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.

University use

In some universities, the term "convocation" refers specifically to the entirety of the alumni of a college which functions 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, especially 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 Oxford, 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.[2][3]

At Durham University, Convocation appoints the Chancellor of the University, most recently Sir Thomas Allen on 11 October 2011.

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 some universities and colleges (e.g. University of Chicago, Cornell University, Teachers College, Columbia University, University of Illinois, and most universities in Canada and India), graduation events are called "convocations", as opposed to commencements in other universities. At the University of Toronto, convocation events are held at a specific venue named Convocation Hall. At other universities such as Syracuse University, University of Oklahoma, and University of Utah, 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 The University of Rochester,[4] University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Boston College, The University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Cincinnati, University of Florida, California State University, East Bay, Miami University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Dakota, Simpson College, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Mount Holyoke College, The College of William and Mary, Scripps College, The College of St. Scholastica, The University of West Georgia and Marymount University, 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.

New Zealand universities have courts of convocation by which all graduates elect representatives to the institutions' governing bodies.[5][6][7][8][9][10]


In many universities throughout the world (including countries such as Canada, Ukraine (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy), Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka) convocation is the university graduation ceremony to award degrees to students and honorary graduates.[11]

Other uses


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