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Historical Information

Graduation is a long-standing tradition that students of all fields of study look forward to upon completion of their chosen academic program. UBC is proud to honour the roots of this tradition by outlining UBC’s convocation history, below:

  • UBC’s first convocation ceremony took place on May 4, 1916 in the Hotel Vancouver ballroom. There were 41 graduates.
  • UBC’s first convocation ceremony at UBC Okanagan took place on June 9, 2006.
  • Student’s from UBC’s Vancouver campus now graduate from 12 faculties: Agricultural Sciences, Applied Science, Arts, Commerce and Business Administration, Dentistry, Education, Forestry, Graduate Studies, Law, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Science.
  • Each year since 1919, the graduating class has planted a tree to mark convocation.
  • The first convocation ceremony on the present day campus was held in 1927.
  • The University Mace is a symbol of the authority of the Chancellor. It is displayed on ceremonial occasions, most notably during the convocation ceremonies, but also during the Installation of a President or Chancellor.
  • When graduating students are presented to the chancellor he or she says “I admit you,” welcoming them to convocation, the body of graduates that elects the chancellor and some university senators.
  • Hoods and gowns worn by graduates are lined with colours that indicate the degree to be conferred (see Academic Regalia). Members of the convocation processions wear colourful academic regalia from around the world signifying their university of graduation and highest degree awarded.
  • The gowns, hoods and mortarboards worn by graduating students evolved from clothes worn by European scholars in the Middle Ages.