Graduation
Overview
 
Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree
Academic degree
An academic degree is a position and title within a college or university that is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree...

 or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become Graduates
Alumnus
An alumnus , according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is "a graduate of a school, college, or university." An alumnus can also be a former member, employee, contributor or inmate as well as a former student. In addition, an alumna is "a female graduate or former student of a school, college,...

. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as Graduand
Graduand
Graduand refers to the status of an undergraduate or graduate student in the United Kingdom and certain Commonwealth states who has finished his or her studies at university, but not yet graduated in a formal ceremony....

s. The date of graduation is often called degree day. The graduation itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. At the University of Cambridge, the occasion on which most graduands receive their BA degree is known as general admission.
Encyclopedia
Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree
Academic degree
An academic degree is a position and title within a college or university that is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree...

 or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become Graduates
Alumnus
An alumnus , according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is "a graduate of a school, college, or university." An alumnus can also be a former member, employee, contributor or inmate as well as a former student. In addition, an alumna is "a female graduate or former student of a school, college,...

. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as Graduand
Graduand
Graduand refers to the status of an undergraduate or graduate student in the United Kingdom and certain Commonwealth states who has finished his or her studies at university, but not yet graduated in a formal ceremony....

s. The date of graduation is often called degree day. The graduation itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. At the University of Cambridge, the occasion on which most graduands receive their BA degree is known as general admission. After degree completion, graduates can be referred to by their graduating year. In the United States and Canada, it is also used to refer to the advancement from a primary or secondary school level.

When ceremonies are associated, they usually include a procession of the academic staff and candidates. Beginning at the secondary school level in the United States, the candidates will almost always wear academic dress
Academic dress
Academic dress or academical dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, primarily tertiary education, worn mainly by those that have been admitted to a university degree or hold a status that entitles them to assume them...

, and increasingly faculty
Teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...

 will do the same. At the college and university level, the faculty will usually wear academic dress at the formal ceremonies, as will the trustees and degree candidates. "Graduation" at the college and university level occurs when the presiding officer confers degrees upon candidates, either individually or en masse, even if graduates physically receive their diploma later at a smaller college or departmental
Academic department
An academic department is a division of a university or school faculty devoted to a particular academic discipline. This article covers United States usage at the university level....

 ceremony.

Elementary and secondary schools

Graduation ceremonies are in March followed by entrance ceremonies in April. This coincides with the Japanese school calendar and the Japanese government fiscal year. Graduation is also related to the changing of the seasons and is often reflected in the ceremony decor and related advertising (i.e. new uniforms, backpacks, school supplies...).

Primary
Primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

 and Secondary
Secondary education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university...

 school graduations in Japan remain similar throughout the nation. Graduation takes place in a school auditorium, agora, or gymnasium. Red and white striped banners are hung to cover the walls and doors. Three large flags hang on the stage. The flag of Japan, of the city, and of the school. A rented bonsai
Bonsai
is a Japanese art form using miniature trees grown in containers. Similar practices exist in other cultures, including the Chinese tradition of penjing from which the art originated, and the miniature living landscapes of Vietnamese hòn non bộ...

 tree is next to the podium. Chairs are reserved for parents, as well as local officials, and special guests including teachers from previous years. The underclassman bring in their classroom chairs and are seated and the in front of the stage and the area for the graduating class. Elementary school students wear their new Junior High uniforms
Japanese school uniform
Japan introduced school uniforms in the late 19th century. Today, school uniforms are common in many of the Japanese public and private school systems. The Japanese word for this type of uniform is .-Usage:...

. Secondary schools wear their current uniforms
Japanese school uniform
Japan introduced school uniforms in the late 19th century. Today, school uniforms are common in many of the Japanese public and private school systems. The Japanese word for this type of uniform is .-Usage:...

. Sometimes high school students must buy a graduation uniform.

Underclassmen, parents, and teachers are seated first. The vice principal leads in the local officials and special guests. The teachers all stand and bow to them as they enter. When the graduates enter, they are led by their homeroom teachers. Everyone walks very slow and deliberate. They walk in straight lines and make 90 degree turns if turning is necessary. The students line up next to their chairs and wait for the home room teacher to signal and they all sit at once. The homeroom teacher then joins the rest of the teachers. The head of ceremonies asks everyone to stand and bow towards the Japanese flag. This is coordinated by playing three chords on the piano. 1st-prepare, 2nd-bow, 3rd-return upright.

Singing has a large part in the Japanese schools curriculum and is also a big part of graduation. The first song is Japan's national anthem, followed by the city song and the school song. The latter two are usually printed in the program. This is the last time the graduating class will sing the school song together with the rest of the school. At this point, or after diplomas, the lower class sings to the graduating class, and the graduating class to the lower class. Then everyone sings together. Some of the possible songs are: Tabidachi no hi ni :ja:旅立ちの日に, Sayonara, "Until the World is One" by Ya-ya-yah
Ya-ya-yah
Ya-Ya-yah is a Johnny's Jr. group from Johnny & Associates, which also produced groups such as KAT-TUN, SMAP, TOKIO, KinKi Kids, Arashi, NEWS and Tackey & Tsubasa. On May 15, 2002, the group released double A-side single "Yūki 100%/Sekai ga Hitotsu ni Narumade." The single debuted at #9 on the...

, Sakura :ja:さくら (森山直太朗), "Aogeba tōtoshi" and "Hotaru no hikari" (Sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne).

After singing has finished the principal, wearing a Japanese style tuxedo or black tie
Black tie
Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions. For a man, the main component is a usually black jacket, known as a dinner jacket or tuxedo...

 goes to the podium. Usually a female teacher wearing a hakama
Hakama
are a type of traditional Japanese clothing. They were originally worn only by men, but today they are worn by both sexes. Hakama are tied at the waist and fall approximately to the ankles. Hakama are worn over a kimono ....

 brings out diplomas on a large tray. The homeroom teacher for each class calls out the names of his or her students in gender-split alphabetical order. Recently some schools have discontinued splitting the class by gender. Students stand and say "はい", Japanese for "yes". Large classes may only have their names called. Smaller classes might have each student go to the stage and receive their diploma. They queue up, walking in straight lines, 90 degree turns, at a deliberately slow pace. At some Elementary schools the students give a short speech about what they want to do at Junior High before receiving their diplomas.

The principal reads the diploma out loud once to the first student in each class. The diploma is handed over full size in an open cover (not rolled-up). The principal rotates the diploma to face the student and hands it to them. The student receives the diploma by using their left hand first, and then their right hand before pulling it towards them. The student steps back and exchanges bows with the principal. The student then slowly closes the diploma and folds it under their left hand before turning and walking away. Returning to their seats, students stop and bow to the special guests.

After all the students are seated again the principal makes a speech. The speeches are written vertically from top to bottom, right to left on a fan folded piece of paper. The principal's speech is followed by the head of the PTA. At junior high school an underclassmen may give a speech thanking the graduating students for things like being good senpai. And this is followed by a student speech from the student president. Students may give set group speeches, as if a dialogue between the lower class and upper class. Students take turns yelling out parts of the dialogue sometimes being accompanied by everyone or a few other students in unison. This might happen before, in-between and/or after the songs.

After ceremony students may get a final address by their homeroom teacher. A few moments later, the graduates are free to roam around the school, in and out of the teachers’ office. At Junior High school, students take everything with them on the last day and may do school cheers with the underclassman in front of the school. The school calendar does not end with graduation. The next business day after the ceremony 1st and 2nd year students continue classes until spring break officially starts.

South Africa

At the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), the graduation ceremonies are formal affairs, which include an academic procession by the faculty staff. The WITS choir is always present, and as a fun twist once the academic procession has left the hall, the song "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown is played over the loudspeakers.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, unlike the United States, students do not usually 'graduate' from school below university level. They will normally leave secondary school
Secondary school
Secondary school is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place...

 or a sixth form college
Sixth form college
A sixth form college is an educational institution in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Belize, Hong Kong or Malta where students aged 16 to 18 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A-levels, or school-level qualifications such as GCSEs. In Singapore and India, this is...

 (if applicable) with specific qualifications, such as General Certificate of Education
General Certificate of Education
The General Certificate of Education or GCE is an academic qualification that examination boards in the United Kingdom and a few of the Commonwealth countries, notably Sri Lanka, confer to students. The GCE traditionally comprised two levels: the Ordinary Level and the Advanced Level...

 GCSEs and A-levels, Scottish Qualification Authority Standard Grade
Standard Grade
Standard Grades are Scotland's educational qualifications for students aged around 14 to 16 years, which are due to be fully replaced in 2014 when Scottish Qualifications Authority's Higher Still system becomes the main qualifications as part of the major shake up of Scotland's education system as...

s and Higher national courses
Higher (Scottish)
In Scotland the Higher is one of the national school-leaving certificate exams and university entrance qualifications of the Scottish Qualifications Certificate offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. It superseded the old Higher Grade on the Scottish Certificate of Education...

 or, less frequently, other certificates such as the International Baccalaureate. However, these are not necessarily presented in a formal ceremony.

Many university graduation ceremonies in the United Kingdom begin with a procession of academics, wearing academic dress
Academic dress
Academic dress or academical dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, primarily tertiary education, worn mainly by those that have been admitted to a university degree or hold a status that entitles them to assume them...

. This procession is accompanied by music, and a ceremonial mace
Ceremonial mace
The ceremonial mace is a highly ornamented staff of metal or wood, carried before a sovereign or other high official in civic ceremonies by a mace-bearer, intended to represent the official's authority. The mace, as used today, derives from the original mace used as a weapon...

 is often carried. After this, an official reads out the names of the graduates one by one, organized by class of degree or by subject. When their names are called, the graduates walk across the stage to shake hands with a senior official, often the university's Chancellor
Chancellor (education)
A chancellor or vice-chancellor is the chief executive of a university. Other titles are sometimes used, such as president or rector....

 or the vice-chancellor
Chancellor (education)
A chancellor or vice-chancellor is the chief executive of a university. Other titles are sometimes used, such as president or rector....

. Graduands wear the academic dress
Academic dress
Academic dress or academical dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, primarily tertiary education, worn mainly by those that have been admitted to a university degree or hold a status that entitles them to assume them...

 of the degree they are receiving. At Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, however, they wear the dress of their status before graduating (their previous degree, or undergraduate academic dress), afterwards changing into the dress of the degree they have just received. Serving members of the armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

 may wear their military uniform
Uniform
A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Modern uniforms are worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates...

 underneath. Member institutions of the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 hold their graduation ceremonies almost entirely in the Welsh language
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

. Some of the older universities may hold their graduation ceremonies in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, even though few students understand this language. The Latin section of the ceremony may include a rendition of an anthem
Anthem
The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

, sometimes called the unofficial anthem of all universities, the De Brevitate Vitae
De Brevitate Vitae
"De Brevitate Vitae" , more commonly known as "Gaudeamus Igitur" or just "Gaudeamus", is a popular academic commercium song in many European countries, mainly sung or performed at university graduation ceremonies...

, also known as The Gaudeamus.

University of Cambridge

At the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, graduands are presented in the Senate House college by college. During the graduation ceremony, officially called a Congregation, graduands are brought forth by the Praelector of their college, who takes them by the right hand, and presents them to the vice-chancellor for the degree they are about to take. After presentation, the graduand is called by name and kneels before the vice-chancellor and proffers their hands to the vice-chancellor, who clasps them and then confers the degree. The graduate then rises, bows, and leaves the Senate House through the Doctor's door into Senate House passage, where they receive their diploma.

Graduates receiving an undergraduate degree wear the academical dress that they were entitled to before graduating: for example, most students becoming Bachelors of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 wear undergraduate gowns and not BA gowns. Graduates receiving a postgraduate degree (e.g. PhD
PHD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 or Master's) wear the academical dress that they were entitled to before graduating, only if their first degree was also from the University of Cambridge; if their first degree is from another university, they wear the academical dress of the degree that they are about to receive, the BA gown without the strings if they are under 24 years of age, or the MA gown without strings if they are 24 and over.

University of St Andrews

The degree ceremony at the University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

 is conducted through a meeting of the Senatus Academicus in the Younger Hall, and dates back to the early antecedents of the University. The graduation is characterised as similar to many others, commencing with an academic procession (juniores priores/in reverse order of seniority) of the masters, Principal
Principal (academia)
The Principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a university or college in certain parts of the Commonwealth.-Canada:...

, and Chancellor
Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

 of the University, during which the graduands and their guests sing The Gaudeamus
De Brevitate Vitae
"De Brevitate Vitae" , more commonly known as "Gaudeamus Igitur" or just "Gaudeamus", is a popular academic commercium song in many European countries, mainly sung or performed at university graduation ceremonies...

. Once seated the Prayer is read by the Dean of Divinity/Master of St Mary's College. After this graduands are called forward individually by the Dean of the Faculty within which they are a member (Arts, Divinity, Medicine, and Science). The graduand comes forth to the graduation desk before the Chancellor
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
The Chancellor is the titular head of the University of St Andrews. His duties include conferring degrees, promoting the University’s image throughout the world, and furthering its interests, both within Scotland and beyond....

 (or in his absence, the Vice-Chancellor), proffering the hood of the degree they are about to be conferred to the Bedel
Bedel
The bedel was, and is to some extent still, an administrative official at universities in several European countries, and often had a policiary function at the time when universities had their own jurisdiction over...

lus, and kneels. The chancellor then says in Latin:
"Te ad gradum Magistri Artium/Baccalaurei Scientiae/Baccalaurei Sacrosanctae Theologiae/Baccalaurei Scientiae Medicinae promoveo, cuius rei in symbolum super te hoc birretum impono."


("I promote you to the Degree of Master of Arts/Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Divinity/ Bachelor of Medical Science, as a symbol of which I place this cap upon you.")

The Chancellor
Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

 then touches the graduand's head with the graduation cap, and the Bedellus steps forth and places the hood of the degree to be conferred over the newly promoted graduate. The graduate then rises and bows to the Chancellor
Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

, and exits the stage to collect their diploma, before joining their fellow graduates in the main hall. Once the ceremony is complete the Benediction is read, again by the Dean of Divinity, and the academic procession leaves the hall seniores priores/in order of seniority, with the new graduates joining the end as a sign of the accession to the academic community. The procession continues down North Street to the quadrangle of the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard, where it dissolves.

After each afternoon graduation, the General Council hosts a garden party for the new graduates and their guests, usually on the Lower College Lawn.

The Open University

Due to the large number and geographical dispersion of students, unlike most UK universities, degree ceremonies at the Open University are not the occasion on which degrees are formally conferred. This happens in absentia at a joint meeting of the University's Council and Senate ahead of the ceremony. The University's ceremonies – or "Presentations of Graduates" – occur during the long summer throughout Britain and Ireland, as well as one ceremony in Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

.

United States of America

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, besides "commencement," the term "graduation" is also used in schools below university level such as the high school, middle school and even kindergarten and preschool ceremonies.

The American Council on Education
American Council on Education
The American Council on Education is a United States organization, established in 1918, comprising over 1,800 accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and higher education-related associations, organizations, and corporations....

 (ACE) is the authority on academic regalia
Academic dress
Academic dress or academical dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, primarily tertiary education, worn mainly by those that have been admitted to a university degree or hold a status that entitles them to assume them...

 in the US, and has developed an Academic Ceremony Guide that is generally followed by most institutions of higher learning. The ceremony guide and the related Academic Costume Code provide the core of academic ceremony traditions in the US. The ACE code addresses college and university dress: high school and other lower school gown colors vary from institution to institution.
At many large US institutions, where many hundreds of degrees are being granted at once, the main ceremony (commencement) involving all graduates in a sports stadium
Sports Stadium
Sports Stadium was an Irish television sport programme on Raidió Teilifís Éireann . Broadcast between 1973 and 1997, it was RTÉ's flagship sports programme and one of its longest-running shows....

, amphitheater, parade ground or lawn, or other large – often outdoor – venue is usually followed, but sometimes preceded, by smaller ceremonies (diploma ceremony) at sites on or around campus where deans
Deans
-People:* Craig Deans, soccer player* Diane Deans, politician* Ian Deans, politician* John "Dixie" Deans, soccer player* Kathryn Deans, author* Mickey Deans, fifth and last husband of Judy Garland* Robbie Deans, rugby coach and former player...

 and faculty of each academic organization (college
College
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

, academic department
Academic department
An academic department is a division of a university or school faculty devoted to a particular academic discipline. This article covers United States usage at the university level....

, program, etc.) distribute diplomas to their graduates. Another means of handling very large numbers of graduates is to have several ceremonies, divided by field of study, at a central site over the course of a weekend instead of one single ceremony. At large institutions the great number of family members and guests that each graduating student wishes to attend may exceed the capacity of organizers to accommodate. Universities try to manage this by allocating a specified number of graduation tickets to each student that will be graduating.

It is also common for graduates not to receive their actual diploma at the ceremony but instead a certificate indicating that they participated in the ceremony or a portfolio to hold the diploma in. At the high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

 level, this allows academic administrators to withhold diplomas from students who are unruly during the ceremony; at the college
College
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

 level, this allows students who need an additional quarter
Academic term
An academic term is a division of an academic year, the time during which a school, college or university holds classes. These divisions may be called terms...

 or semester
Academic term
An academic term is a division of an academic year, the time during which a school, college or university holds classes. These divisions may be called terms...

 to satisfy their academic requirements to nevertheless participate in the official ceremony with their cohort before receiving their degree. In addition, with large numbers of students receiving diplomas and often no specific order they walk in, it is impossible for their actual diplomas to be given to them at the ceremony, thus them receiving simply a blank diploma to be filled later.

At most colleges and universities in the US, a faculty member or dean will ceremoniously recommend that each class of candidates (often by college but sometimes by program/major) be awarded the proper degree, which is then formally and officially conferred by the president or other institutional official. Typically, this is accomplished by a pair of short set speeches by a senior academic official and a senior institutional official:
"Mr. President, on behalf of the faculty of Letters and Science, I hereby declare that these candidates have met all the requirements for the degree of ... and request that such degree be conferred upon them." "Under the authority vested in me by the State of (?) and the Trustees of ? College, I hereby confer upon these candidates the degree of ..."


For students receiving an advanced degree, many colleges include a Hooding Ceremony in their commencement program, in which the students wear a hood. Candidates traditionally have the hood placed upon them at the podium, though this has become less practical at large commencement ceremonies. At Fordham University
Fordham University
Fordham University is a private, nonprofit, coeducational research university in the United States, with three campuses in and around New York City. It was founded by the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York in 1841 as St...

, graduates of a college put on the hood by themselves en masse after the university president confers the degree upon them from the podium. This is called 'to self-hood'. Doctorates are nearly universally hooded upon the stage.

The hood is a part of traditional academic dress whose origins date back many centuries. Today, the hood is considered by some to be the most expressive component of the academic costume. Today’s hoods have evolved from a practical garment to a symbolic one.
An academic hood is a symbolic garment, which is worn draped around the neck and over the shoulders, displayed down the back with the lining exposed. The hood’s length signifies the degree level; with the institution's colors in the lining and a velvet trim in a standardized color that signifies the scholar’s field.

Graduation speech

A graduation or commencement speech
Commencement speech
A commencement speech or commencement address is a speech given to graduating students, generally at a university, although the term is also used for secondary education institutions. The "commencement" is a ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred upon graduating students...

, in the U.S., is a public speech given by a student or by alumnus of a university to a graduating class and their guests. Common themes of the graduation speech include wishing the graduates well in the "real world", cautioning that the world of academe is a special place where they were taught to think (a common variation contradicts this view). More recently, the trend has been to find a celebrity or a politician to deliver the speech. Notable exceptions are Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, Davidson College
Davidson College
Davidson College is a private liberal arts college in Davidson, North Carolina. The college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked in the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine, although it has recently dropped to 11th in U.S. News...

, and Belmont University
Belmont University
Belmont University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. It is the largest Christian university in Tennessee and the second largest private university in the state, behind nearby Vanderbilt University.-Belmont Mansion:Belmont Mansion...

, where the tradition has been that only the current university president gives the commencement address. Though there is only one commencement, individual colleges and schools of Columbia often invite a speaker at separate graduation ceremonies held earlier or on another day, however.

Special graduation ceremonies

Many homeschooling
Homeschooling
Homeschooling or homeschool is the education of children at home, typically by parents but sometimes by tutors, rather than in other formal settings of public or private school...

 groups hold their own graduation ceremonies, as it is uncommon (and often not permitted) for homeschool graduates to participate in their local school district's official graduation ceremony. Some GED testing centers hold graduation ceremonies for those who take the GED
GED
General Educational Development tests are a group of five subject tests which, when passed, certify that the taker has American or Canadian high school-level academic skills...

 and pass.

The parents and students of the class of 2009 in Centerburg, Ohio
Centerburg, Ohio
Centerburg is a village in Knox County, Ohio, United States, along the North Fork of the Licking River. As of the 2010 census, the village population was 1,773.-Geography:Centerburg is located at ....

 held their own unofficial graduation ceremony at the local park when the school board decided to cancel the official graduation ceremony, in response to a cheating scandal, even though only one person out of the entire 97-student graduating class was ever proven guilty of cheating. The school board's response was criticized by most media outlets in Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 and even gained nationwide media coverage in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The parents' and students' decision to hold their own graduation ceremony was cheered by many local businesses, and received mixed views, mostly through later letters to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch and other newspapers in the area.

See also

  • High school graduation examination
    High school graduation examination
    A high school graduation examination is a test that students must pass to receive a diploma and graduate from high school. These are usually criterion-referenced tests which were implemented as part of a comprehensive standards-based education reform program which sets into place new standards...

  • Academic dress
    Academic dress
    Academic dress or academical dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, primarily tertiary education, worn mainly by those that have been admitted to a university degree or hold a status that entitles them to assume them...

  • Encaenia
    Encaenia
    Encaenia is an academic or sometimes ecclesiastical ceremony, usually performed at colleges or universities. It generally occurs some time near the annual ceremony for the general conference of degrees to students...

  • Matriculation
    Matriculation
    Matriculation, in the broadest sense, means to be registered or added to a list, from the Latin matricula – little list. In Scottish heraldry, for instance, a matriculation is a registration of armorial bearings...


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