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Senior Convocation

The 2023 Senior Convocation event will be held on Thursday May 25 in Barton Hall from 1-2:30pm for graduating seniors.

ConvocationEvents • Senior Days • Commencement

2024 Senior Convocation Speaker, Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani


The Senior Convocation Ceremony is a Cornell tradition that takes place during the Senior Days leading up to Commencement Weekend. Convocation is a student-led event that celebrates the accomplishments of the undergraduate graduating class. Highlights of the event include a student speaker, a student poet, student organization performances, University leadership, and a guest speaker.

Convocation will begin on May 23 in Barton Hall with a Pre-Convocation Celebration 11:30am-1pm. The ceremony will begin at 1pm and conclude at 2:30pm. Immediately following the Convocation, Alumni Affairs & Development will host the official Class of 2024 Class Photo. Full details below!


Group of students with Touchdown at Senior Convocation 2022
Touchdown at Senior Convocation!

Class of 2024 Pre-Convocation Celebration | Barton Hall | 11:30-1pm

The Senior Convocation Committee invites you to celebrate before the ceremony in Barton Hall! Class of 2024 merch, snacks, photobooths, music, and more will be at the Teagle-side entrance of Barton Hall from 11:30am-1pm. Merch and snacks are limited so come early and hang out with your friends!

2024 Convocation Ceremony | Barton Hall | 1-2:30pm

The 2024 Convocation Ceremony will take place on Thursday May 23th from 1-2:30pm in Barton Hall, with doors opening at 11:30am. Plan to arrive by 12:50pm at the latest, as we will begin offering remaining seats to "day-of" guests at that time. Senior Convocation is for undergraduate graduates part of the Class of 2024 (December '23, May '24, December '24). We will invite graduating graduate/professional students and finally current Cornell community members as space allows. 

2024 Convocation Itinerary

2024 Convocation Itinerary

11:30am: Doors open for guests (must show RSVP)

11:30am-1pm: Class of 2023 Pre-Convocation Celebration

12:45pm: pre-ceremony performance

1:00pm: Ceremony begins

  • Opening
  • Welcome
  • Student Performance
  • Remarks: Vice President Ryan Lombardi
  • Student Performance
  • Convocation Chair Address: Asha Prabhat '24
  • Guest Speaker Introduction
  • Guest Speaker Address
  • Closing Student Performance + Alma Mater

2:30pm: Event ends

2:45-4:30pm: Class of 2024 Class Photo by Alumni Affairs & Development

Convocation Guest Speaker Biography

Convocation Guest Speaker Biography

Nanjiani will next be seen on the Disney+ Star Wars prequel Obi-Wan opposite Ewan McGregor. The series will be directed by Deborah Chow, who helmed two episodes of The Mandalorian Season 1. Other cast members include Rupert Friend (Homeland), Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit), Sung Kang (Power), Simone Kessell (The Crossing), O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Uncut Gems director Benny Safdie. Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse will reprise their prequel trilogy roles as young Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen Lars and Aunt Beru.​

Additionally, Nanjiani will play Chippendales Founder Somen “Steve” Banerjee in a limited series for Hulu called The Immigrant.  The eight-episode series will tell the true story of Banerjee, the Indian American entrepreneur who started Chippendales. The series is written by Robert Siegal and executive produced by Siegel, Nanjiani, Dylan Sellers and Emily V. Gordon as well as Rajiv Joseph and Mehar Sethi, who will also write on the series. ​

Nanjiani was most recently seen on the big screen in Marvel’s highly anticipated film, Eternals which released on November 5, 2021. The richly diverse cast includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Don Lee and is directed by Two-Time Academy Award winning filmmaker Chloe Zhao. ​ ​​

Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon currently serve as executive producers on the Apple TV+ series Little America with Lee Eisenberg, Alan Yang, and Joshua Bearman.  The show is currently in production on Season 2 and received nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards and BAFTA TV Awards. Each episode was inspired by true and poignant stories featured by Epic Magazine of immigrants in America covering politics and cultural division with a diverse group of emerging talent, bringing to life the funny, romantic, heartfelt, and surprising stories of immigrants in America. The show recently earned two nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards within the categories of ‘Best Male Performance in a Scripted Series’ and ‘Best New Scripted Series’ in addition to three nominations at the NAACP with two nominations for ‘Outstanding Writing in A Comedy Series’ and a nomination for ‘Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series.’

It was recently announced that Nanjiani will star in and produce FX’s Homeland Elegies, based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ayad Akhtar. The series will be led by Nanjiani and blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of identity and belonging in post-Trump America.

In other news, Nanjiani and Gordon are set to write the feature adaptation of The Doubtful Guest a 1957 illustrated short story by Edward Gorey. It director Andy Muschietti is set to direct and producer alongside his sister Barbara Muschetti under their Double Dream banner. Nanjiani will also star in the feature which was acquired as a feature pitch by Amblin Partners.

In early 2020, Nanjiani and his wife created their own podcast Staying In with Emily & Kumai‪l while in quarantine, which was ranked among several Top 10 Podcasts lists in addition to receiving a People’s Choice Award nomination. The podcast is a fun conversation between these two writers where, they advise on many things like, how to stay calm and avoid cabin fever, offering fun entertainment recommendations, etc. Proceeds from the podcast went to charities helping those affected by COVID-19.

2017 Kumail and his wife Emily V. Gordon received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Sick, in which Nanjiani starred alongside Holly Hunter, Zoe Kazan and Ray Romano. The film was named one of the AFI’s Top Films of the Year and won the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Comedy, the Hollywood Film Award for Comedy Ensemble of the Year and an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Additionally, the film earned two Independent Spirit Award nominations, a Producer’s Guild Award nomination, two SAG Award nominations, a Writer’s Guild and Gotham Award nomination. Nanjiani also earned the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Virtuoso Award, the San Diego International Film Festival’s Auteur Award and was named one of VARIETY’s 10 Actors to Watch.

On the television side, Nanjiani reprised his starring role as ‘Dinesh’ on the sixth and final season of the Emmy Award- winning HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, opposite Thomas Middleditch, Martin Starr and Zach Woods. Over the years, the series has won two Critic’s Choice Awards for Best Comedy Series and has been named one of the AFI’s TV Programs of the Year.  Nanjiani also voiced Jesus on the Fox animated series “Bless the Harts” with stars Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph that premiered last year. Nanjiani was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Star in a Drama Series for his appearance in Jordan Peele’s new take on the original 1959 TV Series The Twilight Zone.

Additional film credits include, The Lovebirds, Stuber, Men In Black: International, Fist Fight, Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates, The Five-Year Engagement, and Central Intelligence. His vocal talents were heard voicing one of the ninja warriors in The Lego Ninjago Movie from Warner Bros. Additional television credits include: Comedy Central’s The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, IFC’s Portlandia, TNT’s Franklin & Bash, FOX’s The X-Files and NBC’s Community.

Invited Guests/Attendees

Invited Guests/Attendees

Funded by the undergraduate student activities fees, the event will only be open for members of the Cornell community. Undergraduate students from the class of 2024 will have the first priority to reserve their ticket. We will then open up availability to graduate/professional students. Finally, the general student body, staff, and faculty will be able to reserve a ticket if space is available.

2024 Ticket Timeline

2024 Ticket Timeline

You must reserve your free Senior Convocation ticket via CampusGroups before joining us at the event. Students can only reserve 1 ticket for themselves.

  • Starting Tuesday April 30 at 8pm EST: Undergraduate students from the class of 2024 can reserve their ticket
  • Starting Friday May 17 at noon EST: Graduate and professional students from December 2023 and May 2024 graduations can reserve their ticket.
  • Starting Monday May 20 at noon EST: The general student body, faculty, and staff at the Ithaca campus can reserve their ticket. 

Outside guests & livestream

Outside guests & livestream

Outside guests -- including family and the greater Ithaca community -- will not be able to reserve a ticket or attend this Cornell-only in-person event. The Senior Convocation event will be available via livestream on Cornell Video, open to all. The full ceremony will live on Cornell Video for two (2) months with a password shared with the graduating class.

Brief History of Convocation

Brief History of Convocation

Senior Convocation began as a small program for graduating seniors hosted by the Cornell University Class Councils student organization. The mission has always been to invite an honored guest to motivate, inspire, and send off the graduating seniors as they close this chapter of their lives. Over the years, what has become the Senior Convocation ceremony has seen many different renditions.

In 2001, the senior class awarded the first Convocation Medallion to our guest speaker. This award recognizes an individual for their meaningful contributions to society, success in instilling the desire to learn, and dedication to undergraduate achievement and excellence.

In its early years, Senior Convocation was held in Barton Hall. In 2004, President William Jefferson Clinton was our speaker and the request for the event necessitated the relocation from Barton Hall to the Schoellkopf Stadium. Convocation lived at Schoellkopf Stadium during Commencement Weekend until 2019. The 2020 Convocation Speaker presented during Alumni Weekend in Fall 2021 in a special ceremony for returning members of the class of 2020. Our Class of 2021 Convocation was held virtually in a pre-recorded production. In 2022, Convocation returned to its roots for a more intimate Barton Hall student-driven event hosted during Senior Days.

Past Convocation Speakers

Past Convocation Speakers

Here are past Convocation speakers since 2000.

2023: Ken Jeong, Actor, Comedian

2022: Constance Wu, Actor

2021: Roxane Gay, Activist, Commentator, Professor, and Writer (virtual speaker)

2020: Leslie Odom Jr., Actor and Singer (virtual speaker)

2019: William Sanford Nye '77, Educator, Engineer, Comedian, Presenter, Author, & Inventor

2018: Ava Marie DuVernay, Activist, Filmmaker, and Producer

2017: Joseph R. Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States

2016: James Franco, Actor

2015: Gabrielle Giffords '96 of the U.S. House of Representatives & Mark Kelly Astronaut

2014: Ed Helms, Actor

2013: Cory Booker, 38th Mayor of Newark, NJ

2012: Michael Bloomberg, 108th Mayor of New York City, NY

2011: Rudy Giuliani, former 107th Mayor of New York City, NY

2010: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 116th Congress

2009: David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Political Strategist

2008: Maya Angelou, Poet

2007: Soledad O'Brien, Newscaster

2006: Martin Luther King the III, Activist

2005: Wesley Clark, former General of United States Army

2004: Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States

2003: James Carville, Political Strategist

2002: Danny Glover, Actor, and Human Rights Activist

2001: Janet Reno '60, former U.S. Attorney General

2000: Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator


Questions about Senior Convocation can be directed to the Campus Activities office at