Commencement is a term that is often used to refer to the end of a student's academic journey, but it actually has a much deeper meaning. The word “commencement” is derived from the Latin inceptio, which means “beginning”. This term was first used by medieval European scholars to refer to the initiation ceremony that marked the end of their studies and the beginning of their new privileges in the academic world. At this ceremony, graduates would give a banquet as a way of thanking their teachers and friends.
They would also give their first lecture as a legitimate teacher, thus beginning their teaching career. This is why commencement is seen as the start of something new, rather than the end of something old. University clubs, which were first used in the 13th century Oxford and Cambridge graduation processions, are still worn at commencement ceremonies today. It is important to note that not all students will have received confirmation of graduation before commencement day.
Some students who attend commencement may not even graduate until the following quarter. Despite this, commencement is still seen as an important milestone in a student's academic journey and marks the beginning of a new chapter in their life.