Q. What has the power to turn a tranquil grassy amphitheater into a pounding, pulsing epicenter of energy, noise and spirit? Of “Oooaaah, oooaaah!” and “MHC! MHC!”

A. Convocation.

Mount Holyoke’s loudest tradition of the academic year is all about celebration — and shouting for joy in the company of your class, rain or shine.
 

What is Convocation all about?

It's about welcoming the new first-year students, cheering on the graduating class and loving on all those in between! It begins with a procession, the faculty lead the way in full regalia. Students dress in their class color, seniors wear their gowns for the first time (without caps and hoods).

Convocation marks the official start to the school year and, as such, includes remarks from the chair or vice-chair of the Board of Trustees, the president of the College, a faculty member, a staff representative and the president of the Student Government Association.

The Five College West African Music Ensemble playing at Convocation

Convocation is a chance to highlight community accomplishments, points of pride, initiatives and goals. And it’s an opportunity to enjoy performances by the Mount Holyoke Convocation Choir and the Five College West African Music Ensemble.

Convocation is about community

Convocation, like the College itself, has transformed over the years. What began in 1931 as a “special service” — a buttoned-up affair in the Abbey Chapel featuring an address by the president and the announcement of student awards — has evolved into a rousing bookend to Commencement. This highly anticipated tradition both ushers in the new academic year and brings the classes, faculty and staff together.

Archival photo of the Convocation procession in the 1930s and a photo of the Convocation procession in 2018
The photo on the left — capturing Convocation from the 1930s — is courtesy of Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections. The photo on the right is the faculty procession in 2018.

As Convocation helps you see, feel and believe, you are part of a community that is driven to achieve, lead and succeed — and to raise one another up. To shake things up and to make good things happen. This is your College. This is your time. Welcome to Mount Holyoke College!

Happening at Mount Holyoke

Convocation at Mount Holyoke

Cheers rang out across the Mount Holyoke College campus during the first in-person Convocation since the beginning of the pandemic.

The College’s first virtual Convocation centered the lifelong relationships, connections, and joy and resilience of the Mount Holyoke community.

From Frances Perkins to Tommy Orange, from Convocation to the Cabinet, Mount Holyoke kicks off the academic year in style.