The conferring of academic and honorary degrees takes place during Encaenia, a ceremony rooted in the traditions of Oxford. Encaenia is a Greek word meaning “beginning, commencement,” and the term has been used since the founding of King’s in 1789. The King’s graduation ceremony has not changed greatly over the years apart from the conferring of honorary degrees (although the use of Latin has given way to English).

A memorable event rooted in tradition

Bachelors of Arts, Science and Music are conferred by the president of Dalhousie University, while Bachelors in Journalism and honorary degrees are conferred by the chancellor of the University of King’s College. Combined honours degrees in Contemporary studies, Early Modern studies, and History of Science and Technology are conferred together by the presidents of Dalhousie and King’s.

The president of Dalhousie and the chancellor of King’s confer the degrees of Master of Journalism and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction. Graduands are presented alphabetically by degree and come forward individually to be conferred; kneeling to receive the degree is optional.

The academic gowns and hoods of faculty and graduands, the procession led by the apparator carrying the university mace, the music and celebratory setting make King’s Encaenia a happy, splendid, and memorable event.

Before you graduate

If you do NOT plan to attend the graduation ceremony, you must notify the Registrar’s Office by emailing registrar@ukings.ca. They will also require an up-to-date mailing address so that your parchment may be mailed to you.

If you are a potential graduate, information will be sent to you from the President’s Office via mail and e-mail regarding your graduation week. Make sure the Registrar’s Office has your valid local address and e-mail address on file so that you receive this important information. You may change your address through Dal Online or by emailing registrar@ukings.ca. NOTE: Email communications are sent to your institutional email address so be sure to check this email account.

You are encouraged to check your student account balance. Students with an outstanding debt to the College (tuition, fees, library fines, etc.) will not receive their parchments at the Encaenia. Instead, you will instead receive an empty folder on stage, and once you settle your outstanding debt you will receive your parchment. Please consult the Payments Guide or visit the Student Accounts Office at accounts@ukings.ca if you have questions. Please note that online payments can take up to 2 to 3 business days to appear on your account.

If you have a preferred name that is different from your legal name, that hasn’t been reflected on your Academic Record, please contact Academic Services at registrar@ukings.ca as soon as possible. This will ensure that your preferred name will be reflected on your name card to be read at the ceremony and in the Encaenia program. Degree parchments are required to have legal names.

If you have recently completed a legal name change, please send documentation providing proof of name change to Academic Services as soon as possible, and no later than May 12, 2023.

All graduating Indigenous students at King’s are entitled to receive a traditional medicine pouch as a gift from the university during the ceremony. This gift will be provided to students while they walk across the stage. Please contact the Registrar’s Office via email at registrar@ukings.ca by May 12, 2023 and let us know if you would like to receive this gift during Encaenia.

Events during Encaenia week

President’s Dinner

Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Prince Hall
Reception starts at 5:45 p.m.

Tickets for the President’s Dinner are available in the Bursar’s Office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Cash, cheque, debit or credit cards are accepted. Graduands may receive a maximum of four (4) tickets (one for the graduand and three for guests). There is no charge for the graduand’s ticket. The cost for guests is $30 per person.

Please note this event has sold out in previous years, so we encourage you to get your tickets as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

If you are an MFA Potential Graduand:

To obtain tickets please contact Tami Kendell in the Bursar’s Office. There is no charge for the graduand to attend either the President’s Dinner or Coffee with the President (see below), but the graduand must still reserve a ticket. You can reach Tami by calling (902) 422-1271 ext. 125 or by emailing tami.kendell@ukings.ca. After purchasing, your tickets will be available in the Bursar’s Office for pickup.

Baccalaureate Service

Thursday, May 25, 2023
King’s Chapel
10:30 a.m.

Taking its name from the “laurel” wreaths worn by graduates in the middle ages, the King’s Baccalaureate service is an Anglican service of Choral Matins held in the Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Encaenia day. The graduands who wish to attend should assemble in their gowns and hoods at 10:15 a.m. in the Boardroom, after which they will process into the Chapel and sit together as a class. Attendance is optional, but graduands are strongly encouraged to participate in this traditional college service led by the Chaplain and Chapel Choir. The service lasts for one hour, and includes a brief address given by one of the honorary degree recipients or another special guest. The service includes contributions from a number of faith traditions and is meant to be inclusive for all. Family and friends are welcome to attend. There are no tickets required for this service.

Reception for Journalism, Writing & Publishing graduands

Thursday, May 25, 2023
King’s Boardroom, 2nd floor, A&A Building
11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The School of Journalism, Writing & Publishing invites graduands, parents and guests to share a nibble and a glass of punch at the Graduate Reception.

Encaenia (graduation ceremony)

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
2:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Reception Desk in the Arts & Administration Building (A&A). There is no charge for these tickets.

Full schedule of events for May 25th

Each graduand is entitled to receive four (4) guest tickets to the ceremony – graduands do not require a ticket themselves.

If there are additional tickets for the ceremony, they will be distributed in mid-May. Students who have indicated that they will not be attending Encaenia will not be entitled to receive tickets.

If you are an MFA Potential Graduand:

To obtain tickets for Encaenia, please email Emma Naguib, University Receptionist & Administrative Assistant at emma.naguib@ukings.ca. You will receive a confirmation email. Please plan to pick up your tickets from the Arts & Administration (A&A) Reception Desk before May 25.

We want to ensure that Encaenia is accessible for all who wish to attend. If you and/or your guest(s) require special seating or other arrangements, please contact our Accessibility Officer at accessibility.officer@ukings.ca.

King’s Student Union – Encaenia Day Events

Thursday, May 25, 2023
KSU Galley
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The King’s Galley will be open on Encaenia Day with coffee and treats. Graduates get a free cookie courtesy of the KSU!

HMCS King’s Wardroom Night
7:30 p.m. to midnight

There will be a final night in the Wardroom for all graduates in the class of 2023. The Wardroom asks that everyone bring 2 pieces of ID (1 government-issued photo ID and a secondary ID, both not expired)

Coffee with the President

Friday, May 26, 2023
President’s Lodge
10:30 a.m.

Tickets for Coffee (and cinnamon buns) with the President are available in the Bursar’s Office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. There is no charge for these tickets. Graduates, family and friends are most welcome to attend.

For MFA Potential Graduands only: To obtain tickets please contact Tami Kendell in the Bursar’s Office. There is no charge for the graduand to attend either the President’s Dinner or Coffee with the President, but the graduand must still reserve a ticket. You can reach her by calling (902) 422-1271 ext. 125 or by emailing tami.kendell@ukings.caYour tickets will be available in the Bursar’s Office for pickup. 

Other important information for Encaenia

Full Schedule of Events – Encaenia Day, May 25

Gown and hoods
G. Peter Wilson Room, 2nd Floor of NABWednesday May 24 12-2:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 25 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.*Assistance with gowning is only available on May 25*

King’s Chapel10:30 a.m.

Reception for Journalism, Writing & PublishingBoardroom, 2nd floor A&A building
11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Assemble for School of Journalism, Writing & Publishing Class Photo
King’s Library Steps
12:45 p.m.

Assemble for 2023 Class Photo
King’s Library Steps
1:00 p.m. 

Procession (Graduands only)
King’s Quad to the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium1:15 p.m.

Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
2:30 p.m.

Post-Encaenia Reception
Prince Hall
4:30 p.m.

Gowns and hoods

Graduands must wear a gown and hood to Encaenia. Gowns and hoods may be obtained from the G. Peter Wilson Room, 2nd floor of the New Academic Building (NAB) during two times: Wednesday May 24 from 12-2:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 25 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. A deposit of $50 (cash or cheque only) is required when the gown and hood are issued. The deposit will be refunded in full upon return of the gown and hood to G. Peter Wilson Room immediately after Encaenia.

Mortarboards (for Master’s graduands) will be available at the same times as above. All graduating Black students of African descent are entitled to borrow a Kente stole for the Encaenia ceremony, which can be borrowed during gown pick up. All graduating Indigenous students at King’s are entitled to borrow a stole, with a design customized by our Nsukwi’ (Auntie) in Residence, Emily Pictou-Roberts, for the ceremony. Students can pick up the stole during gown pick up.

Degree frames

The King’s Alumni Association provides the opportunity to pre-order a King’s degree frame to help mark this special occasion. The preordered frame will be available for pickup in the lobby of the Arts & Administration Building (A&A) immediately following the graduation ceremonies. Those who did not preorder a frame will also be able to purchase one at this time. The monies raised from the sale of these frames will be used to support the Alumni Association’s priority of providing financial assistance to students through scholarships and bursaries.


The Commencement Group will be selling flowers at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. Grads and families can pre-order bouquets here or buy them onsite before or after the ceremony.

Livestreaming and Photography/Video During Encaenia

The full Encaenia will be livestreamed beginning at 2:30 p.m. The stream will be posted on the King’s Livestream Page. Video recording of the celebration will be posted to the King’s website after the ceremony.

There will be an official photographer and videographer at the event to record the ceremony. It is likely that you will be photographed by the official photographer at the moment you are conferred with your degree (capped). These photographs will be available on the Encaenia Archive Page in the week following the ceremony. Further information on the video will also be available on the Encaenia Archive Page.

We encourage your family and friends to take photographs at the ceremony, but we ask that they move to the front of the auditorium shortly before you will be conferred. Once they have taken their photographs, we ask that they return to their seat to make room for others.

Joining our Alumni Association

Once you graduate, you will automatically be a member of the oldest alumni association in Canada. Congratulations!

Along with maintaining and creating connections with your fellow King’s peers, the University of King’s College Alumni Association can become a vital resource in helping you as you go forward into the next phase of your life. Please share your news with them by writing to our Alumni Relations Manager, Kimberly Gosse at kimberly.gosse@ukings.ca or update your contact information—especially your email address—so that they can stay in touch with you. The Alumni Association will keep you posted on King’s news and alumni through events on the King’s website, our alumni magazine (Tidings) as well as by their monthly alumni e-newsletters.