Why is there a convocations program?

The convocations program at Carleton College has a rich history, dating back several decades.

In the early days of the college, students were required to attend weekday chapel services. Starting in 1942, weekly all-college assemblies (not chapel services) were held Friday mornings at 11 a.m. and all students were required to attend. These assemblies were referred to as convocations in the 1946 catalog.

During the spring of 1968 the Carletonian reported on a student revolt against required convocation attendance with threatened boycotts and editorials highlighting the disinterest of students attending regular convocations. Required attendance at convocations was discontinued with the start of the 1968-69 academic year. For the next ten years, convocations were held sporadically and attendance was optional.

The fall of 1978 saw the return of weekly Friday morning convocations “designed to draw the campus together once during the week,” without required attendance. These have continued to the present day.

  • The weekly convocation series is a shared campus experience that brings students, faculty, and staff together for one hour for a lecture or presentation from specialists in a variety of disciplines.
  • The goal of the convocation series is to stimulate thought and conversation on a wide range of important topics.
  • Convocations can enhance the academic experience of students — educate, enlighten, inspire, promote understanding of diversity, and develop global thinkers.
  • While a convocation may last an hour, its impact can last forever.