Convocation and Graduation

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music! 

Northwestern University's 160th Annual Commencement

Friday, June 22, 2018
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
(Gates open at 8:00 a.m.)

Ryan Field
1501 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60208

Tickets are required for this university-wide ceremony. Graduates are required to wear regalia for both the commencement and convocation programs.

More information about commencement

Bienen School of Music Convocation

Saturday, June 23, 2018
9:00 a.m. (All graduates should arrive in regalia no later than 8:15 a.m.)
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall

50 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208

Tickets are not required. Convocation typically lasts 75 to 90 minutes and is followed by a reception in the Pick-Staiger lobby. Questions about the convocation ceremony can be directed to the Bienen Student Affairs Office (phone: 847-491-3818, email:

Important Convocation Details for Students

  • To help estimate attendance, we ask that you complete a convocation attendance RSVP, which will be emailed to you by the Student Affairs Office in mid-May.
  • Please let us know in your RSVP if you or your guests require special assistance.
  • The morning of the convocation ceremony, please enter Pick-Staiger through the Box Office entrance and proceed to the rehearsal room. You will be greeted by Bienen School of Music staff who will line you up by degree for procession.
  • Diplomas and a small gift will be presented to each graduating student at the convocation.

Ticket Information

Tickets are not required for the Bienen School convocation ceremony.


GradImages, a professional photography firm, will take a photo of you as you receive your diploma. You may pre-register your contact information with GradImages to receive notification when your proofs are ready.

Doctoral Candidates

DMA and PhD candidates, please invite your committee chairperson to participate in the convocation ceremony. If for some reason your chairperson cannot attend, you may invite an appropriate faculty substitute. At the designated time, you will proceed across the stage carrying your hood over your arm. You will then hand your hood to your committee chairperson, who will place the hood over your head.


Purple gowns custom designed for Northwest­ern are the standard regalia and must be worn by all participating candi­dates. Bachelor’s degree regalia include a souvenir stole. Advanced degree candidates wear hoods. The lining of the Northwestern hood is purple and gold, and the color of the velvet border of the hood indicates the academic area. The Bienen School tassels and hoods are pink. PhD tassels are gold metallic and the hood is dark blue.

Rental arrangements for caps and gowns must be made online by May 18, 2017. PhD candidates may elect to purchase the official Northwestern gown and should contact to make those arrangements.

More information about regalia


Guests may park in the Lakeside Parking Structure (1 Arts Circle Dr). This lot is adjacent to the south end of the Ryan Center for Musical Arts. The South Campus Parking Garage (1847 Campus Dr), attached to the Segal Visitor Center, will also be open for parking on the day of the ceremony.

Guests with impaired mobility may use Arts Circle Drive for drop off in front of Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.


jane chuJane Chu is the eleventh chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts, a term she will conclude on June 4, 2018. She is an accomplished musician with additional expertise in the areas of arts administration and philanthropy.

During Chu’s four-year tenure at the National Endowment for the Arts, Chu traveled to all 50 states, 200 communities and made more than 400 site visits to visit visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors, writers, arts educators and arts administrators. The agency awarded $430 million over the four years to support the arts in 16,000 communities covering all 50 states, U.S. territories, and in every Congressional District. She led the agency through increases in the arts endowment budget for three consecutive fiscal years (2016, 2017, 2018).

The NEA’s Creative Forces military healing arts initiative expanded from two sites to 12 across the nation, to connect arts therapy with service members and veterans with brain recovery conditions. She launched another new program – Creativity Connects – to connect $2 million in grants for art programs that linked with science, technology, health, agriculture, aging, and other non-arts sectors, and she cultivated two international performing arts exchange programs with Cuba and China. Chu launched a national Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for high school students to identify the next generation of songwriters from across the nation, and provide these students with opportunities to be mentored by Broadway artists. The agency was also the recipient of a 2016 Special Tony Award and a 2018 Drama League Award for its support of theater and musical theater, as well as two Emmy nominations for the creation of a storybank of personal arts stories from people across the nation. The NEA was ranked number one in 2016 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government, in the small agency category.

Prior to coming to the National Endowment for the Arts, Chu served as the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, overseeing a $413 million campaign to construct and open the performing arts center in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Jane Chu was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She studied music, receiving bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University, as well as a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, Chu holds an MBA from Rockhurst University, a Ph.D. in philanthropic studies from Indiana University, as well as four honorary doctorate degrees.