Concordia University

5 tips for spring convocation at Concordia

Here’s how to get the most out of your big day
May 24, 2019
By J. Latimer

Mélissa-Anne Ménard: “Like many big moments, it’s fleeting, so remember to celebrate.” Mélissa-Anne Ménard: “Like many big moments, it goes fast, so remember to celebrate.”

Alumna Mélissa-Anne Ménard recalls her Concordia convocation fondly.

“It was really moving to celebrate my friends’ successes together and be part of the ceremony — to embrace the bigger tradition.”

A former Liberal Arts College student, Ménard graduated with a BA honours in history and a minor in modern Chinese language and culture. She now works as a student outreach assistant at Concordia’s Student Success Centre.

It was touching to have her academic achievements recognized, surrounded by the warmth of loved ones, Ménard recalls. But like many big moments, it was fleeting.

“Take the time to appreciate it — you did it, you're graduating and it's awesome.”

During spring convocation from June 10-12, the next cohort of Concordia graduates will be walking across the stage at Place des Arts. If you’re one of them, you’ll want everything to go as smoothly as possible as you collect the diploma you’ve worked towards for years.

To help you prepare, Ménard offers the following sage advice.

1. Prioritize punctuality

If there’s one day on the academic calendar when you don’t want to be late, this is it.

“Better safe than sorry,” says Ménard. “Whether you're getting there by car or commuting, give yourself enough time: plan for potential traffic or unexpected stops and slowdowns on the metro.”

She advises showing up at least one hour before the ceremony begins to find out exactly where you’re supposed to be receiving your diploma.

The ceremonies take place in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts, downtown Montreal. There’s a metro stop by the same name in the basement of the building, three stops away from Concordia on the green line.

2. Dress smartly

“Your gown covers most of your outfit, but still, it's worth dressing up for the occasion — whatever that means to you.”

Ménard points out that the graduation garb eventually comes off, so you’ll want to dress smartly underneath it — “business smart, not business casual” for candid photos.

“Pick your outfit a few days ahead of time and plan for dry cleaning if needed. Also think about potential wardrobe malfunctions,” suggests Ménard.

For footwear, she only recommends high heels if you’ll be comfortable walking across the stage in them. Ceremonies can run about two and a half hours and students are on their feet at different times throughout the event.

“Who wants to hobble around with sore feet?”

3. Do you have everything you need?

Arrive at the ceremony with your marshalling card, gown, hood and guests. A bulky handbag will only get in the way.

A coat check is available for students, but it doesn’t accept accessories, so leave any valuables with your guests in the audience.

Ménard suggests keeping nothing but your marshalling card and your phone, so that your hands are free to accept your diploma. Remember to tuck your phone away when you walk across the stage, though.

“After the ceremony, the reception area is packed, make sure you have your phone to text your family and friends to organize a meet-up.”

4. Hone your diction

Many people don’t know this, but graduates whisper their name to the announcer a few seconds before it’s announced into the microphone. This is a safeguard against misidentification.

“Practice saying your name out loud. Say it slowly and clearly a few times before the ceremony,” says Ménard. “If you don’t articulate, you might be surprised by how your name is pronounced.”

5. Plan for photos

Convocation is one of those major life events worth documenting. Make sure to take lots of pictures with friends and family after the ceremony.

“I smiled so much that my face hurt!” says Ménard, laughing.

The University Advancement crew will once again be at Place des Arts to provide a frame for your special moment.

Rain or shine, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be abuzz with activity, so hashtag your photos #CUgrad and #CUalumni.

Find out everything you need to know about Concordia’s Spring 2019 Convocation,
taking place in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts from June 10-12.

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