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Your Survival Guide to Commencement at Northwestern

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On behalf of the team at The Link Evanston, congratulations to the Class of 2022 on your upcoming graduation from Northwestern University. Individual school convocations (where graduates are honored individually by name) will be held from June 11 to 13 at various times and locations, and the main commencement ceremony is set for 9 AM CDT on Monday, June 13, at Ryan Field stadium (1501 Central Street). This year’s commencement speaker is Pulitzer Prize-winning author and National Humanities Medal recipient Isabel Wilkerson

Read on for some important information you’ll need to prepare for the commencement ceremony and convocations and our key survival tips to ensure you get the most out of the experience. 

What Should I Wear to the Northwestern Commencement Ceremony? 

If you didn’t already order your official Northwestern purple regalia (cap, gown, and any other extras you may want or be eligible for) it’s time to hit the panic button, as the 2022 ordering deadline to ensure delivery was May 4. Contact the campus bookstore or visit the ordering site for your school to see what options may still be available. Or perhaps you can borrow or buy a second-hand set from a previous grad? 

Remember that you’re not supposed to alter your regalia in any way (and could be barred from the ceremony if you do). But what to wear underneath? Commencement is outdoors and you’ll be doing a lot of standing and walking, so smart-casual with comfortable shoes is generally the best bet. But you do you! Check the weather forecast a few days prior to determine how warm or cool you’ll want your attire to be. 

How Can My Friends & Family Participate? 

Each graduate is allowed up to 10 guests for commencement and tickets can be obtained from the commencement & convocation ticket website. Use promo code COMM22+your student ID number to access the tickets. The deadline to obtain tix is May 20. If you’ve got more than 10 people who want to attend, you can try to get extra tickets from another graduate, or have some of your crew attend your individual school’s convocation while others can come to the commencement ceremony. For those people who can’t attend in person, the commencement ceremony can be viewed live online from the main commencement website

Handy Commencement Tips

  • Eat breakfast and drink plenty of water before you go (but stop drinking an hour or so before the ceremony so you don’t need to use the bathroom during proceedings).

  • Apply sunscreen, since commencement is outdoors and a red sunburn may clash with your purple cap and gown.

  • Make sure your phone and anything else battery-dependent is fully charged before you leave for the ceremony.

  • Wear something with pockets that can hold anything you need to bring (phone, ID, tissues, cash or debit card, hair pins, etc.) so you can stay hands-free during the ceremony. Schlepping a purse or bag is not convenient or a good look. 

  • Be present. Look, listen, and embrace the moment rather than trying to take numerous pictures or record the whole ceremony on your phone and being distracted. Your guests will snap a ton of pics and the event is recorded officially. 


Enjoy your commencement and convocation festivities, and feel free to talk to The Link’s staff about reserving one of our social spaces for your graduation celebration. For more handy information about student life at Northwestern and life in Evanston, check out our other blog posts.

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