Building Alumni Affinity through Convocation

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  • Convocation ceremonies mark the day graduates celebrate the successful completion of their academic studies and become alumni of their post-secondary institutions. These highly traditional and ritualized events mark the culmination of academic achievement. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic abruptly brought decades of tradition to a halt, causing post-secondary institutions to reimagine these customary events which had served as steadfast and uninterrupted occasions for so long. From an alumni relations and fund development perspective, adjusting convocation ceremonies in the wake of a “new normal” prompts questions around the impact convocation ceremonies have on alumni affinity and how these ceremonies impact graduate loyalty. Like many traditions and rituals, convocation ceremonies have become automatic, engrained in the cycle of the academic calendar, an event to be routinely executed. But in an alumni relations context there is a different purpose: what meaning is communicated in these ceremonies and what outcomes can be anticipated from those graduates who attend convocation? This research sets out to explore if convocation attendance has an impact on overall alumni affinity. Understanding the impact convocation has on alumni affinity might offer valuable insight into how these events contribute to the development of engaged alumni communities.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International