Preparing for SPH Convocation

This guide has been prepared in an effort to anticipate as many questions as possible regarding preparation for the SPH Convocation Exercises. As Commencement weekend approaches, graduates will receive additional and more specific information. Please contact us with any questions. Commencement is a rite of completion, and the ceremony honors the achievement of the graduates and expresses the pleasure, excitement, and pride of their families, teachers, and friends.

The 2017 SPH Convocation Ceremony will be held Saturday, May 20 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Track and Tennis Center, 100 Ashford St. The ceremony will be followed immediately by a tented reception from 1:00 – 3:00 pm in the adjacent lot. Tickets are not required for the ceremony or reception. 

Live Streaming, Photos, Videos & Memorabilia Announcement- Check here if you are looking for information about purchasing commencement memorabilia!

  • Live-streaming will be available for those that are unable to attend the ceremony in person. Click here for access to live-streaming.
  • DVDs will be available for purchase from BU Productions.  Click here for information on how to order a DVD.
  • Photos will be available for purchase from Commencement Photos, Inc. Click here for information on how to order photos.
    • Please note students will receive an email in two weeks regarding steps to order your commencement photos.
    • To order photos: Enter the Unique ID number that appears on the order form sent to you in the email. If you did not receive an order form via email please contact customer service directly for assistance at 978-851-5924 or complete their contact form. The office is open M-F 8am-4pm EST.
    • How long after graduation will it take to receive my package?
      • It takes approximately 2-3 weeks from the date of graduation to receive your photo package.
  • A graduation photo area will be available during the reception with some exciting photo props to take pictures and mark this special moment of your success.
  • For more details visit the Commencement Memorabilia webpage.

Those planning to officially graduate in May must fill out a graduation application.

Everyone planning to attend the ceremony must fill out an SPH Convocation RSVP form This allows us to have your diploma ready and your name read as part of the marching procession at the SPH ceremony.  If you are not planning on attending, please let us know on this form.

If you are a master’s degree candidate, academic regalia (cap, gown, tassel, and hood) must be purchased for Commencement and SPH Convocation ceremonies.  Doctoral candidates may rent academic dress. Please visit the Barnes and Noble Bookstore website for details regarding purchasing regalia.

January 1 through March 16 online ordering is available through Herff Jones and includes a $10 discount on all regalia packages. With online orders, you’ll have the option of home delivery or pick-up at Barnes & Noble @ BU, with the exception of doctoral regalia, available for in-store pick-up only

Beginning April 20, through Commencement weekend, regalia will be on sale for in-store purchasing at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore at Boston University on the Charles River Campus. The Bookstore is located in Kenmore Square and is accessible from the Kenmore stop on the MBTA green line.  The “regalia shop” is located on the fourth floor of the Bookstore. Please call (617) 267-8484 for store hours. Master sets of regalia are priced at $113.  Doctoral rentals are priced at $95.

Loaner Regalia:

The School of Public Health has a limited supply of academic regalia for students to borrow who find it a financial burden to attend commencement and would otherwise not be able to go without the ability to receive regalia on loan.  Loaner regalia will be available on a first come first served basis beginning Tuesday, April 11 starting at 10:00 am from Talbot 208C. After April 11, students can visit the Graduate Student Life Office in Talbot 206C or 208C between 10am-6pm Mon-Thurs, or Fri 9am-5pm, for loaner regalia.

  • These regalia CANNOT be reserved in advance.
  • A friend/classmate can pick-up regalia for you – they will simply sign on your behalf.
  • Regalia can be returned immediately following the ceremony or reception in FitRec. Regalia must be returned to Talbot 206C by June 1, 2016.

The Masters of Public Health academic dress consists of a red gown, a black mortarboard (cap), a salmon-colored tassel and a hood.  The hood has an external salmon band with a black border and an internal white band with a red border.  Please note that each college within Boston University has different hood and tassel colors.

We recommend that you obtain regalia early.  Do not wait for the week before graduation when an error or shortage cannot be corrected!

The BUSPH Administration selects the student speaker for the SPH Convocation.  The selection is based on nominations from graduating students, faculty, and review of academic records.  Students who graduated in September 2015, January 2016, or are tentatively scheduled to graduate in May 2017 are eligible for nominations.  Tentative September 2017 graduates are eligible to be the student speaker at the May 2017 SPH Convocation ceremony. Please take a moment to nominate a student speaker today!

The Norman A. Scotch Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the education program of Boston University School of Public Health. The award is meant to recognize individuals, faculty or others, who have substantially enriched the educational experience for the students at the School.  For the purposes of this award, teaching is broadly defined to include superior performance in classroom teaching, innovation and creativity in course design, commitment to the advising and mentoring of students, and/or excellence in other activities that contribute to student education. Please take a moment to nominate a teacher or colleague whom you believe fulfills the criteria for this important recognition.

Accessible seating and parking is available for guests with disabilities and their companions and/or family members at the All-University Commencement Exercises at Nickerson Field as well as at SPH Convocation. Arrangements for accessible guest seating, parking and other services may be made through the Office of Disability Services. Please refer to the disability section of the Commencement website for more information and instructions on how to request these services beginning early April 2017.

Students should arrive by 9:30 am no later than 10 am at the main entrance of the Track and Tennis Center, located on 100 Ashford Street. There will be signs and people on site to direct you to the student robing area. Guests can enter the center beginning at 10:00 am. 

Convocation Speaker 2017 

Free parking will be available at all primary University parking lots on Commencement Weekend. The closest parking facility to the Tracking and Tennis Center is the Langsam Garage, 278 Babcock Street. Due to the anticipated traffic on Commonwealth Avenue during Commencement weekend, graduates and guests are urged to use public transportation to and from campus whenever possible. For your convenience, the University will provide shuttle bus service to stops along Commonwealth Avenue throughout the weekend. Visit the Visitor Parking & Public Transport website for for shuttle route map. Where the shuttle route doesn’t reach, you can quickly and easily hop on a bus or a train from campus to various places in the city and beyond. Check the MBTA site at for maps and schedules or to use their trip planner.

A Commencement parking map will be available on the Parking & Transportation Services website by mid-April. Traffic along Commonwealth Avenue can become heavily congested, and long delays should be expected. You are strongly encouraged to arrive early, park your vehicle close to your last venue of the day and move about campus by foot or shuttle.  Generally speaking parking spaces will be found more easily to the east of BU Bridge.

Students must complete payment of any outstanding balance by the end of April to ensure the release of diplomas is not delayed for financial reasons. The University will make every effort to ensure that students who meet academic requirements but do not settle their accounts by April 30 will have their diploma awarded at SPH Convocation. However, this cannot be guaranteed.  Please contact Student Accounting Services at 617-353-2264 if your account is not settled, or stop by the SPH Registrar’s Office if you need assistance in understanding your account.  Students can access their accounts through the Student Link at

If you received institutional and/or Federal Direct Loans, you must schedule an exit counseling appointment with Student Financial Services before you graduate. Please schedule an exit counseling appointment at SFS in the A-building, 3rd floor.  This is a federal and Boston University requirement. If you do not have an exit counseling appointment prior to graduation, your diploma will be withheld. Please call 617-638-5130 if you have any questions.

  • A picture ID is not required to check-in to the convocation – however, a picture ID will be required to pick up your diploma during the reception.
  • Please do NOT wear your regalia to the arena for security purposes – Graduates and faculty should carry their robes into event venues and then dress in designated lineup areas.
  • Do not bring valuables or personal items into the student robing area – you should leave any personal items with your guests! At the close of the ceremony you will not be returning to the robing area. Please make sure all of your personal items are with you. 
  • Only small and average-size handbags, purses, and camera bags will be allowed (no large totes, over-sized purses, backpacks, large diaper bags, or messenger bags). All bags will be physically inspected prior to entry. No other bags, gift bags, wrapped gifts, packages, briefcases, backpacks, or luggage will be allowed in a Commencement or Convocation venue.
  • Please review further security details here.

Please see the Graduate Student Life SPH Convocation website for more information about hotels, area restaurants, parking, transportation, directions, and much more.