May 10-11, 2024

Greetings, Class of 2024!

This is the place to find helpful information for Blackburn’s graduation weekend ceremonies.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Shawna Poe, Executive Assistant to the President & Board of Trustees.

  • Senior Send-Off – Friday, May 10 at 5:30 pm (Jaenke Alumni Center)
  • Senior Convocation – Friday, May 10, at 7:00 pm (Bothwell Auditorium)
  • Commencement – Saturday, May 11, at 10:30 am (Hudson Quad)

Find streaming information for Senior Convocation and Commencement below.

Stream Our Events

Senior Convocation – May 10, 2024 at 7:00 pm CT
Commencement – May 11, 2024 at 10:30 am CT
See the 2024 Commencement Program (PDF)
2024 Commencement Speaker

Al Sturgeon

Al Sturgeon serves as Associate Dean of Student Life & Spiritual Development at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law as well as Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor in its Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Dean Sturgeon earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1992 and then worked as a coach, teacher, and pastor in Arkansas and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for sixteen years prior to moving to Pepperdine where he earned a Juris Doctorate and a Certificate in Dispute Resolution in 2011.

After admission to the State Bar of California in 2011, he began work in higher education and has held various positions in student affairs since then, including serving as the chief student affairs officer at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and Vice President for Diverse & Equitable Student Life and Dean of Students at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois. He lives in Malibu, California, with his wife, Jody.

Frequently Asked Questions about Commencement Weekend

To walk across the stage at Commencement, you must have a cap and gown.  It is recommended that you order from Herff-Jones using the following links:

You must order cap and gown before April 5, 2024.

While it is recommended that you order from Herff-Jones so all the graduates will look the same, you may use another source if you wish.

There will be a professional photographer at the graduation events taking headshots of all the graduates and photos as you come off the stage after receiving your diploma. They will also have a “group” photo made from the headshots. If you want to order any of these professional photos, Blackburn will have it’s own QR code that will be provided the day of Commencement.

You are NOT required to order photos, but you are required to have your picture taken.

Announcements and invitations can be ordered from Herff-Jones at

Academic dress is appropriate clothing worn under academic cap and gown with no additional decoration on the gowns, except official pins and/or cords from recognized honorary societies. This applies to both Commencement and Senior Convocation.

At rehearsal we will:

  • Hand out information about ordering picture and/or DVD’s.
  • Hear important announcements from various campus offices regarding diplomas, events, etc.
  • Line you up in the exact order you will march in for Commencement.
  • Go over the steps you will follow as you process into the Commencement site with your classmates.
  • Practice entering the rows so you will be in the right order to receive your diploma.
  • Practice crossing the stage individually so you will know what to expect at Commencement.
  • Make sure we have the correct pronunciation of your name so it will be announced correctly as you cross the stage at Commencement.
  • Answer questions and concerns you may have.

Clearly, Rehearsal is extremely important, so it is MANDATORY!

Senior Convocation is a student-focused celebration for the graduates, their friends and families. Students, faculty, and staff will attend without formal regalia. Graduates will process and sit with their classmates. YOU ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND. If you have an unavoidable conflict, you must contact the College Marshal.

Senior Convocation, Friday, May 10 at 7:00 pm in Bothwell Auditorium. (Guests should arrive early)

Commencement, Saturday, May 11 at 10:30 pm on the Hudson Quad (or in the Gym in case of rain). Guests should arrive early.

Students and guests must RSVP for the Senior Send-Off – RSVP before May 1!