Students in blue cheer to the camera at Convocattion 2022.

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.


Convocation 2023

Mount Holyoke's Convocation has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 5, at 11:30 am in Gettell Amphitheater.

September 5, 2023 | Richard Glenn Gettell Amphitheater
Download the program

The Five College West African Music Ensemble
Faith Conant, Visiting Instructor in Music and Director of the Five College West African Music Ensemble
Guest lead drummer: Michael Ofori, Visiting Lecturer in Film Media Theater
Songs: “Gahu” and “Agbekor”

Land Acknowledgement
Madeline L. Peters, Director of Accessible Education and 504 Coordinator, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Karena Strella ’90, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Danielle R. Holley, President

Lucas Wilson, Professor of Economics and Critical Race and Political Economy on the Ford Foundation

Musical Performance
Mount Holyoke Convocation Choir
Colin Britt, Lecturer in Music; Director of Choral Activities
“Prelude” by Ola Gjeilo

Briana Chace ’17, Staff Council Representative
Maille Romulus ’24, President, Student Government Association

Danielle R. Holley, President

“Alma Mater”
Mount Holyoke Convocation Choir
Words: Gertrude Brady Murphy, class of 1914
Music: Gladys Pratt, class of 1914

The Five College West African Music Ensemble

Alma Mater

Oh, Mount Holyoke, we pay thee devotion,
In the fervor of youth that is strong,
The courage of right is thy garland,
Our lives, Alma Mater, thy song.
So from east and from west now we gather,
And united in firm love to thee,
All years are as one, and their loyal pledge,
Mount Holyoke forever shall be,
Mount Holyoke forever shall be.

Thro’ the heart of a new day’s endeavor,
Breathes the life of the old days that live,
For what thou hast given we honor,
But we love thee for what we can give.
So when soft in a whisper thou callest,
For the treasures unlocked by thy key,
Our achievements, our hopes, and our glorious faith
Shall answer, Mount Holyoke, to thee,
Shall answer, Mount Holyoke, to thee.

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

Fall 2022 Move-in and Convocation at Mount Holyoke noisily and joyfully marked the beginning of the 2022–2023 academic year and students’ continuing intellectual adventures.

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.