commencement

Definitions:

Beginning; rise; origin; first existence; a day on which academic degrees are publicly conferred; also the day when a student is made a bachelor at Cambridge.
- Nuttall's Standard dictionary of the English language. By Nuttall, P.Austin. Published 1914. (noun) (n.) (noun)
Beginning; origin; the occasion when degrees or diplomas are conferred at schools and colleges.
- The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919. (noun) (n.) (noun)
Beginning, rise, or origin; first existence; the great annual day at Cambridge on which degrees are conferred and prize essays read, & c.; the similar day at Oxford is called " The Commemoration".
- Etymological and pronouncing dictionary of the English language. By Stormonth, James, Phelp, P. H. Published 1874. (noun) (n.) (noun)
The beginning: the thing begun.
- The american dictionary of the english language. By Daniel Lyons. Published 1899. (noun) (n.) (noun)
Beginning; time when students receive degrees.
- The Clarendon dictionary. By William Hand Browne, Samuel Stehman Haldeman. Published 1894. (noun) (n.) (noun)

Usage examples:

And, truly, it was a grand haul; for, not only did we obtain enough of every species of fish that swarmed in Lake Wichikagan, to provide a right royal feast to ourselves and our red friends, but a good many were left over and above to form the commencement of a store for the future.
- The Big Otter by R.M. Ballantyne
The ring of the axe and the sound of falling trees marked the commencement of civilization in those far- off regions.
- Through Five Republics on Horseback by G. Whitfield Ray
This contest has from its commencement been very interesting to other powers, and to none more so than to the United States.
- Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present by Various