University to celebrate Spring Convocation

Mary Abowd
News Officer for Arts & HumanitiesUniversity Communications

University of Chicago degree candidates will take part in the University’s 523rd Convocation on Saturday, June 13, on the Main Quadrangle.

More than 3,000 students will participate in the ceremony, during which University President Robert J. Zimmer will confer degrees to groups of candidates by degree type and academic program. The procession begins at 9:15 a.m.; guests are asked to be in their seats by 9 a.m.

This year’s Convocation speaker is Shulamit Ran, the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor in Music and artistic director of Contempo, a longstanding University arts organization dedicated to the performance of new music.

Winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in composition, Ran’s catalogue of compositions includes symphonic music, opera, chamber and solo works. She has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

During the morning ceremony the University will present four honorary degrees to those who have made extraordinary contributions in their fields: glaciologist Richard B. Alley at Pennsylvania State University; cancer researcher Titia de Lange at Rockefeller University; economics professor Andreu Mas-Colell at Universitat Pompeu Fabra; and analytic number theorist Peter Sarnak at Princeton University.

The Jesse L. Rosenberger Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Creative and Performing Arts will be presented at the ceremony to Ashley Wheater, artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet.

The College diploma ceremony

After a break for lunch, the College diploma ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on the Main Quadrangle. This year, 1,228 degrees will be awarded.

The student speakers at the College ceremony are Natalya Samee, Andrew Minjae Kim and Miranda Nicole Cherkas. Each year, potential student speakers are either nominated by their peers or nominate themselves. A committee of third- and fourth-years from the Maroon Key Society and the Student Marshals conduct the selection process and choose three winners.

Student Marshals are an honor guard to the University Marshal, currently Prof. Catherine Baumann, whose term will end following the 523rd Convocation. Victoria Prince, professor of organismal biology and anatomy, will succeed Baumann. The University Marshal and members of the Dean of Students of the College select the Student Marshals, who are then appointed by the President of the University. The appointment is among the highest honors conferred by the University upon undergraduate students.

During the College ceremony, faculty members and graduate students will be honored for their excellence in teaching. The Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recognize outstanding faculty teaching in the College; similarly, the Wayne C. Booth Graduate Student Prize for Excellence in Teaching is given to graduate students who excel in undergraduate teaching. The Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring pay tribute to faculty members for outstanding teaching of graduate students.

Logistics and transportation

Individual divisions and schools will hold separate ceremonies or receptions throughout the weekend at which degree candidates will receive their diplomas individually from their deans. Information about the graduation ceremonies is available at the Convocation website.

Campus visitors are encouraged to use public transportation since the campus will be crowded and parking options limited. Please allow extra time if you plan to park near campus. The University will provide shuttle service for visitors staying outside of Hyde Park, arriving by Metra train and parking near the Midway Plaisance. The pick-up locations and schedules are on a shuttle map on the Convocation website.

Please note that all persons, bags and personal items are subject to inspection before entering the Main Quadrangle. Degree candidates and their guests are strongly discouraged from carrying large purses, bags, or backpacks, and items that may disrupt other guests from seeing or hearing the ceremony are not permitted inside the Main Quadrangle. 

Those unable to attend Convocation can watch a webcast beginning at 9:15 a.m. The webcast, as well as social media interactions will be available on UChicago Live. You do not need a Facebook account to access the webcast. Please check the UChicago homepage for photos, video and other content from the weekend’s events. Everyone is invited to congratulate this year’s graduates and share Convocation news and photos on Twitter with the hastag #UChiGrad2015