Welcome to UW–Madison, New Badgers!

New Student Convocation

What is Convocation?

Join fellow students on September 5, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. for a formal welcome to UW–Madison, hosted by Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin and the Office for Student Transition and Family Engagement (OSTFE). This Wisconsin Welcome event features performances by the UW Marching Band, a chance to grab your free copy of the 2023 Go Big Read, and a welcome from university leaders, including Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin herself!

UW–Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin addresses thousands of first-year and transfer students during the New Student Convocation.

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What Students Need To Know…

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Convocation Day Schedule

Pre-Convocation Events

  • 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Academic Programming and Orientation
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Chancellor’s Welcome Lunch held outside Gordon Dining & Events Center

New Student Convocation

  • 12:30 p.m. Kohl Center Doors Open for New Student Convocation
  • 1:00 p.m. UW Marching Band Performance at the Kohl Center
  • 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. New Student Convocation Ceremony and Go Big Read Distribution at the Kohl Center

Post-Convocation Celebrations

  • 3:00 — 4:30 p.m. Free Ice Cream Social at Alumni Park, Hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Association
  • 4:00 — 8:00 p.m. Badger Welcome Dinner at Gordon Dining Center and Four Lakes Dining Market, Hosted by University Housing

Orientation Times For Schools & Colleges

School/College Name Timing Orientation Location
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Allen Centennial Garden
College of Engineering 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Engineering Mall
College of Letters & Science 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Memorial Union, Shannon Hall
College of Letters & Science – Honors Program 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. George L. Mosse Humanities Building, Room 3650
Cross College Advising Services (CCAS) 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Ingraham Hall, Room B10
School of Business 10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Grainger Hall
School of Education 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Memorial Union, Great Hall
School of Human Ecology 9:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Nancy Nicholas Hall, Room 2235
School of Nursing – Pre-Nursing 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Signe Skott Cooper Hall
School of Pharmacy – Pre-Pharmacy 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Rennebohm Hall, Room 2006

Directions for Chancellor's Welcome Lunch

Chancellor’s Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be served on the basketball courts behind Sellery Residence Hall. Please enter via East Campus Mall and W. Johnson Street or Dayton Street. Once you receive your lunch, find a seat outside Gordon Dining and Event Center or in front of the Kohl Center. Doors will open for Convocation starting at 12:30 p.m.Map showing routes to Chancellor's Welcome Lunch at Sellery Residence Hall. Enter north from East Campus Mall/Johnson Street or south from East Campus Mall/Dayton Street.

Program for New Student Convocation

Color Guard Presentation of Colors

National Anthem

  • University of Wisconsin Marching Band

Welcome and Introduction of the Platform Party by Charles Lee Isbell Jr.

  • Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Native Nations Welcome by Annie Jones

  • Professor of Extension and Member of the Menominee Nation

Lori Reesor

  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Joel Baraka

  • UW–Madison Class of 2022, Co-founder and CEO, My Home Stars
  • Introduced by Kevin Jacobson, Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Chair

LaVar J. Charleston

  • Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer

Jennifer L. Mnookin

  • Chancellor


Sign language interpretation provided by McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Kohl Center Carry-In Policy

Items Permitted: Bags no larger than 8.5” x 11”, clear totes no larger than 12” x 6” x 12”, diaper bags (with child), binoculars, cameras (lenses no longer than 4”), seat cushions (not more than 16” wide), jackets, blankets, and items related to a medical condition.

Halloween costumes may be worn, but the costumes must be able to fit into a normal seating space and must be of an appropriate nature. No additional carry-ins are allowed as part of a costume.

Items Prohibited (including, but not limited to): Bags larger than 8.5” x 11” (including backpacks), food, beverages, containers, drones, laptops, video recorders, monopods, tripods, selfie-sticks, laser pointers, weapons, banners, flags, signs, noisemakers, inflatables, strollers, or any items deemed dangerous or inappropriate.

All items and spectators are subject to search. Storage facilities are not available for checking prohibited items. Items left at gates will be disposed of accordingly.

For a complete list of prohibited items, please visit: UWBadgers.com/FanPolicies.

Accessibility & Accommodations

General accommodations provided at New Student Convocation include:

  • On-screen closed captioning
  • Onstage American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, broadcast via main video boards
  • Wheelchair accessible seating platforms with companion seating at entry level (Sections 103, 105, 125, 127)
  • ADA elevator access to main floor seating (Gate A)

The McBurney Disability Resource Center will also host an Accessibility Suite in the Nicholas Club, located at the entry level, near Gate A. The Accessibility Suite will include:

  • Lower stimulus, distraction, and volume levels
  • Space for standing, movement, and breaks
  • Wheelchair access
  • Flexible seating with additional spacing
  • Sight line to main video boards
  • On-site ASL interpreters in suite for communication access
  • On-screen ASL interpreters broadcast from the stage via additional monitor
  • Closed captioning
  • Assistive listening devices (ALD)

You do not have to contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center to utilize the Accessibility Suite. You are also welcome to invite fellow students to accompany you in the space. For questions regarding accommodations and accessibility at New Student Convocation, please email info@mcburney.wisc.edu or call 608-263-2741.

2023 Convocation Speakers

Jennifer L. Mnookin

Position title: Chancellor

Charles Lee Isbell Jr.

Position title: Provost, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Lori Reesor

Position title: Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

LaVar J. Charleston

Position title: Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer

Annie Jones

Position title: Professor of Extension, Member of the Menominee Nation

Joel Baraka

Position title: UW–Madison Class of 2022, Co-founder & CEO of My Home Stars

Discover Our Traditions

175th Anniversary

Celebrating its 175th anniversary, UW–Madison continues its legacy of forging a path forward. Because this is — and always has been, and always will be — where an idea can change the world.

Bucky and a guest pose in front of the 175th anniversary–inspired ice cream truck.

Native Nations Welcome

UW–Madison occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land. Today’s Native Nations Welcome will not only encourage you to be good stewards of the land, but of one another as well. Both people and place create our multifaceted community.

The flag of the Ho-Chunk Nation dances in the wind.

UW Marching Band

Whether at a Badger game or the famous 5th Quarter, you can find the UW Marching Band performing for 50,000+ fans each week. You'll get a taste of this tradition before Convocation begins!

Members of the UW Marching Band perform led by associate director of bands Corey Pompey.


Badgers have sung our famous school song for over 100 years. Then, in the 1930s, former Wisconsin Band Director Ray Dvorak introduced the iconic arm swaying. You’ll sing this song with your new classmates today and again at Commencement.

First-year students link arms and sing "Varsity" at the end of New Student Convocation.

2023 Go Big Read

Didn't get your FREE copy of "How Minds Change" by David McRaney? Pick one up at these campus locations: College Library, Memorial Library, Steenbock Library, Ebbing Library, Law Library, or Merit Library.

Cover of the 2023 Go Big Read common read book, "How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion" by David McRaney