What are designated convocations?

There are 8 convocations in each 10-week term, for a total of 24 convocations scheduled each academic year. Included among these are 7 annual designated convocations

Opening Convocation

Opening Convocation is an annual all-college assembly held in September on the first day of classes, celebrating the beginning of the academic year and recognizing academic achievement. The ceremony includes an address by a distinguished individual, oftentimes an alum or prominent Minnesotan. In October, the director of college events meets with the associate vice president for external relations and the dean of students to identify a list of three possible speakers who would be of interest to the student body. That list is presented to the president, who issues the speaking invitation.

Honors Convocation

Honors Convocation is an annual all-college assembly held in May, traditionally on the last Friday of spring term, drawing the campus community together to celebrate the awards and academic accomplishments of our students. The ceremony includes an address by a recent graduate who had received a major external academic fellowship and who is engaged now in activity of interest to students. In November, the director of college events will meet with the director of fellowships and the director of alumni relations to develop a list of candidates. The speaker should be someone who is close enough in age to engage current students and to whom current students can relate; who can link a fellowship award to other opportunities they’ve had and their life-after-Carleton trajectories; who will inspire interest in applying for external fellowships; and who is not an academic. The list of candidates is vetted with the dean of students and then sent on to the president and dean of the college for final selection. In December, the president and the dean of the college co-sign and issue the speaking invitation.

Argument and Inquiry Convocation

Since the fall of 2011, the first of the weekly convocations has been designated as the Annual Argument and Inquiry Convocation. When the A&I seminar program was instituted as part of the college’s new graduation requirements, it specified that there would be a convocation address each year by someone who would offer all first-year students a common intellectual experience to get them thinking about what a liberal arts education is.

The speaker each year is a senior faculty member, selected by the Dean of the College with input from faculty teaching A&I courses. The convocation address is designed to put the meaning, purpose, and scope of a liberal arts education front and center, which will ensure that it will be valuable to all students, regardless of the particular A&I course they are taking.

Diversity Convocations

The Office of Intercultural and International Life (OIIL) selects and sponsors four convocations each year for Hispanic Heritage Month (September), Native American Heritage Month (October), African American Heritage Month (February), and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May).