The School of Art + Design invites you to participate in the 2017 School of Art + Design Convocation Ceremony on Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. in the Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, Illinois.

The Convocation address will be given by Preston Jackson (MFA, 1971). Preston Jackson was chosen as a 1998 Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the highest honor given to individuals in the State. He is Professor Emeritus of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Much of Jackson’s work deals with the subject of our history—both precise depictions of well-known historical figures as well as innovative portrayals of individuals whose lives, though unfamiliar to us, are part of our history that he wants us to learn. His work reveals the lives and personalities of his ancestors, and the stories of all of our forebears who lived in the United States in the 19th and early 20th century. Despite the hardships of those lives, the pieces do not reflect bitterness or hostility, but rather an admiration for the resolution and resiliency of each individual. Jackson recently was awarded a Regional Emmy for hosting “Legacy in Bronze”, a television show featuring his cast bronze sculptures.

Jackson is an amazingly prolific artist, and his work is varied and wide-ranging. He creates bronze abstract figurative work and monumental steel and cast bronze sculpture as well as two-dimensional work. Much of his large scale sculpture centers on where we have been and where we are going, both in a historical and a philosophical sense. Read more about Preston Jackson here.

An invitation to the 2017 Art + Design Convocation Ceremony and Reception will be sent by mid-March to your family at your permanent home address inviting your family and friends to attend these events. We ask that you or your family complete the Convocation Ceremony Form, by April 21, indicating the number of guests that will be attending the ceremony. Students may also complete the Convocation Ceremony Form online, and we encourage you to do so.

Tickets for the ceremony are required for family members and guests, including babies and toddlers, but not for students. Graduates must pick up guest tickets from Room 143 Art + Design Building. Seven tickets are guaranteed if picked up by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 1. Additional tickets may be picked up on Wednesday, May 3 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Immediately following the ceremony, a reception to honor graduates, families, and friends will be held in the Link Gallery, adjacent to the School of Art + Design. The 2017 BFA Graduate Exhibition in the Krannert Art Museum will be viewable by visitors to the reception.


Students and Faculty wear traditional academic regalia (cap and gown) for the Convocation Ceremony. Student orders may be placed online at The final day for ordering a cap and gown without a late fee is April 13. For further information about ordering regalia, please consult the campuswide Commencement website. Students may also order academic attire in person in the Author’s Corner, Illini Union Bookstore. The schedule for these on-campus dates is included in the academic attire section of the student instructions page on the campuswide Commencement website.

Diploma Presentation

Please submit your Convocation Ceremony Form by Friday, April 21 to guarantee that your name is called during the Presentation of Diplomas.

Ceremony Instructions

Please be at the Tryon Festival Theatre promptly at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, May 14 for procession instructions. Directional signs will be posted in the Krannert Center Lobby. Enter through the backstage area by taking the South Elevator to Level 2, and then make a left turn to the backstage of the Tryon Festival Theatre. As you enter the backstage area register with the Art + Design representative.

Locate your seat on the stage. Your name will be printed on a card and placed on your seat. Seating will be by program in alphabetical order.

Campuswide Commencement Ceremony

The Campuswide Commencement Ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Memorial Stadium. Visit the Commencement website or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for questions about the campuswide ceremony.

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