Convocation at the University of Alberta includes a rich history of traditions, including the format of ceremonies, academic dress, conferring of degrees, and other key university hallmarks such as the mace (pictured above) and ceremonial chairs.
Convocation ceremonies stem from the medieval tradition. The procession of the guild of teachers, whose solemn assembly, or convocation, is the modern equivalent of the medieval magna congregation of all faculties. It is led by the Chancellor and the Chief Marshal carrying the mace, the symbol of the university's corporate authority.
The academic gowns, hoods, and caps declare, in their various designs and colors, the academic qualifications of the faculty. The citations and presentations by the faculty to the Chancellor attest to him and to society the degree of proficiency attained by the students of the university.
There follows a visible and public act whereby the universitas magistrorum, acting through its Chancellor, confers upon the students the appropriate degree. It is the act, not a certificate, which constitutes the validity of the degree bestowed. The words "I admit you" and the placing of the students' hands within the hands of the Chancellor and his associates, bind the students in the appropriate degree to the universitas magistrorum.
The students thereafter bear for all time the mark of their association with this university. They have received what the university has been and presently is. Because they bear in themselves the promise of the future, they are what the university hopes to be. Despite its solemnity, convocation is a joyous occasion.