Academic events

Hosting the Traditions of UM-Flint

Signature university events are an important part of Academic Affairs. From major events like the Convocation and Commencement Ceremonies, to new activities like the Common Read, Academic Affairs honors the traditions of UM-Flint through the important milestones each year.

Academic Convocation

Academic Convocation is held the Thursday before the start of the Fall Semester each year at UM-Flint. This hallowed tradition is the official start of the academic year, and it is where faculty and staff are recognized for their achievements in scholarly endeavors and service to the institution.


The highlight of every academic year is the bi-annual Commencement Ceremonies. Typically held each December and April, Commencement is the culmination of a student’s educational journey at UM-Flint. UM-Flint will hold in-person December commencement ceremonies from December 16-19, 2021. Please visit this website for more information.

The Maize and Blue Award
The Maize and Blue award is the university’s highest undergraduate award and is presented to no more than 13 graduates at the May and December Commencement ceremonies. A special recognition is extended to Maize and Blue Award winners at each ceremony along with the presentation of a commencement stole and pin. The award is also noted on each recipient’s transcript and diploma. The commencement student speaker is selected from the group of Maize and Blue recipients. August graduates are eligible for the award the December after they finish degree requirements.

Common Read

The Common Read Project is faculty-led, in collaboration with academic and student affairs. The charge of the committee is to select a book that inspires intellectual curiosity, prepares students for the challenging reading that is part of a university education, and contributes to the university as a community of ideas, inquiry, and discussion. Faculty are encouraged to assign the book in their courses and to guide discussion of the text. The committee also develops programming around the book’s themes. The committee invites the author to campus for a major presentation and other discussions. Faculty, staff and students are all invited to read and discuss the book and attend events.

Jack W. Thompson, M.D. Distinguished Visiting Professorship

The Jack W. Thompson, M.D. Distinguished Visiting Professorship, generously supported by a gift from Dr. Thompson, began in 2004. The professorship is to be awarded to a nationally acclaimed scholar or public intellectual in a field of broad interest. Awardees will visit UM-Flint for an agreed-upon period of time and engage in educational and community activities.

2019-20 Diogo Verissimo, Ph.D.
Professor Diogo Verissimo is a world-renowned leader in designing and evaluating interventions to change environmentally relevant human behaviors.  He is also the author of more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. Professor Verissimo will visit UM-Flint in 2022. 

2017-18 (Franklin) Story Musgrave
A world renowned NASA astronaut who has earned seven graduate degrees in the areas of mathematics, computers, chemistry, medicine, physiology, literature, and psychology, and the recipient of 20 honorary doctorates.

2013-14 Robert William Buckingham, DrPH, MA, BA
Professor of Epidemiology and Inaugural Dean in the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan, a world renowned founder of the hospice movement internationally, and an advocate for global public health in such populations as people with HIV/AIDS.

2012-13 Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, MD, MPH
A medical doctor/psychiatrist and world renowned multi-genre creative writer, political activist, and an advocate for women’s rights.