New venue for 2023! Everything you need to know about Northeastern’s convocation ceremony

audience members at a past year's convocation held in Matthews Arena
President Joseph E. Aoun and other university leaders welcomed incoming freshmen, Northeastern’s class of 2025, to campus at the President’s Convocation, held in Matthews Arena. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s convocation ceremony — which officially marks the start of the 2023-24 academic year — will be held in an exciting new venue this fall.

MGM Music Hall at Fenway, located at 2 Lansdowne St., will host this year’s ceremony at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6 — the first day of classes. The ceremony will also be livestreamed, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Undergraduate students on all of Northeastern’s residential campuses, as well as those at NUin sites, will have their own convocation experiences. The Oakland campus will have a pre-recorded viewing at Holmgren Meadow at 7 p.m. The London campus will have its own convocation as part of Welcome Week.

headshot of Julie Norton
Northeastern director of academic ceremonies Julie Norton works tirelessly behind the scenes to make Northeastern’s convocation a success. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

The 5,009-seat venue, which opened last year, is connected to historic Fenway Park and located about a half-mile from Northeastern’s Boston campus.

Previous convocations have been held at Matthews Arena.

“The event is going to be a really blockbuster experience,” says Chelsea Kryspin, assistant director of academic ceremonies at Northeastern. “We’re creating an elevated experience for our new undergraduate students.”  

Here’s everything you need to know about convocation.

What is convocation?  

Convocation is an event held at the beginning of every academic year to introduce new undergraduate students on all campuses to the university.

President Joseph E. Aoun will address about 3,500 new undergraduate students and undergraduate transfer students.

“It’s a welcome to new undergraduate students,” Kryspin says. “It’s an opportunity for the president to share his thoughts about the year. Students will also be with their entire class for the first and only time probably until graduation.”

When should students arrive?

While the event officially starts at 8 p.m., students should arrive for the pre-show between 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

Since new undergraduate students are required to live on campus, the expectation is that most students will walk to the event. 

Northeastern Director of Academic Ceremonies Julie Norton recommends that all new undergraduate students download the Student Orientation/Family Programs app to access the complete Welcome Week schedule!

The university has designated a specific route for students to take back to campus at the end of the night.

What’s the pre-show all about?

The university is keeping most details of the pre-show under wraps to build up excitement, but Kryspin says “the event will reflect the excitement of being in the venue.”

“There’s going to be choreography,” she says. “There’s going to be all sorts of exciting things.”

Kryspin also says to expect a major post-ceremony finale.

Is there a dress code? Any other important info?

Over the past few weeks, the university has been sending out convocation T-shirts for students to wear during the event. The T-shirts feature the names of Northeastern’s different colleges and celebrate the university’s 125th anniversary.

“Boston students with international addresses received an email with instructions on how to pick-up their T-shirts on campus., London, and Oakland new undergraduate students will receive their shirts when they arrive at their respective global campuses,” Kryspin says.

No bags are permitted in MGM.

Flashing and/or strobe lighting will be used during the event.

Cesareo Contreras is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @cesareo_r.