AskDefine | Define convocation

Dictionary Definition



1 a group gathered in response to a summons
2 the act of convoking [syn: calling together]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The act of calling or assembling by summons.
  2. An assembly or meeting.
  3. An assembly of the clergy, by their representatives, to consult on ecclesiastical affairs.
  4. An academical assembly, in which the business of the university is transacted.

Extensive Definition

A Convocation (Latin 'calling together', translating the Greek ecclesia) is a group of people formally assembled for a special purpose.
In particular, it is also used to refer to:

Academic convocations

In some Universities, the term "convocation" refers specifically to the entirety of the alumni of the university, which function as one of the university's representative bodies. Due to its inordinate size, the Convocation will elect a standing committee, which is responsible for making representations concerning the views of the alumni to the university administration. The convocation also, however, can hold general meetings, at which any alumni can attend. The main function of the convocation is to represent the views of the alumni to the university administration, to encourage co-operation among alumni (esp. in regard to donations), and to elect members of the University's governing body (known variously as the Senate, Council, Board, etc., depending on the particular institution, but basically equivalent to a board of directors of a corporation.) The equivalent of the Convocation in the Scottish University system is the General Council.
In the University of Oxford, the Convocation was originally the main governing body of the University, consisting of all doctors and masters of the University, but it now comprises all graduates of the university and its only remaining function is to elect the Chancellor of the University and the Professor of Poetry.
At some universities and colleges (e.g. University of Chicago, Cornell University, and most Canadian universities), graduation events are called "convocations," as opposed to commencements, as in other US universities. At others, graduation ceremonies consist of both a commencement and a convocation with the commencement being the larger, university-wide ceremony and the individual colleges presenting degrees at a convocation.
At other colleges such as Simpson College and Marymount University, convocation can also refer to a formal ceremony in which arriving freshmen sign the College "matricula", a ceremonial parchment that contains the names of all of the students and alumni.

Ecclesiastical convocations

Convocation of the English Clergy
The technical name given in the Church of England to what corresponds in some respects to a Catholic provincial synod, though in other respects it differs widely from it. It is the name of the assemblies of the two Provinces of the Church of England, the Convocations of Canterbury and York, and various other assemblies of other churches. These two bodies of the Church of England were prorogued by Royal Writ in 1717, because of conflict between Whig Bishops and the clergy in the Bangorian controversy. They were revived in the nineteenth century, Canterbury in 1852 and York in 1861. They were exclusively clerical assemblies until 1885, when a House of Laity was added to each Convocation. At the beginning of the twentieth century, joint meetings of both Convocations formed a Representative Council which, having no power or legal authority, was superseded in 1920 by the Church Assembly. The Convocations still exist but legal power now rests with the General Synod set up in the 1970s.


In many universities throughout the world convocation is the university graduation ceremony to award degrees to students and honorary graduands.

Other use


convocation in Spanish: Convocación
convocation in Finnish: Konvokaatio

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Council of Nicaea, Council of Trent, Lateran Council, Vatican Council, assemblee, assembly, assignation, at home, baccalaureate service, ball, beck, beck and call, bidding, brawl, call, calling, calling forth, caucus, celebration, ceremonial, ceremony, chapter, classis, colloquium, commencement, commission, committee, conciliarism, conclave, concourse, conference, congregation, congress, consistory, conventicle, convention, council, dance, date, diet, diocesan conference, ecclesiastical council, ecumenical council, eisteddfod, empty formality, evocation, exercise, exercises, festivity, fete, forgathering, formal, formality, forum, function, gathering, get-together, graduation, graduation exercises, housewarming, inaugural, inauguration, indent, initiation, invocation, levee, liturgy, meet, meeting, mummery, nod, observance, office, panel, parochial church council, parochial council, party, performance, plenary council, plenum, preconization, presbytery, prom, quorum, rally, reception, religious ceremony, rendezvous, requisition, rite, rite de passage, rite of passage, ritual, seance, service, session, shindig, sit-in, sitting, soiree, solemnity, solemnization, summons, symposium, synod, turnout, vestry
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