By Deane Barker

This is a just a formal term for a meeting, usually in academic or ecclesiastical contexts. It comes from an Old English word for “to call together.”

In usage, I get the feeling that it means a group of people convened for an event or occasaion, not just a meeting.

Why I Looked It Up

My daughter is graduating from college. The two events we have to attend are “convocation” and “commencement.”

I can’t tell the two apart.

From the website, this is what it says about convocation:

This celebratory event is held exclusively for graduates of the UNMC Graduate Studies program. Each graduate will be recognized individually, taking note of the unique and outstanding achievements of their graduate school years. Special awards will be announced, and graduates will be hooded at the ceremony.

And here’s commencement:

All UNMC graduates will receive their diplomas at this event.

I’m not sure why these are two different events. I feel like they could be the same event, and they just used the word “convocation” because they had two events and needed names for both of them.

It seems a lot of schools use “convocation” to refer to the actual graduation ceremony (what’s being called “commencement,” above).

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