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Harvard’s 366th Commencement Exercises

March-April 2017

To accommodate the increasing number of those wishing to attend Harvard University’s Commencement Exercises, the following guidelines are proposed to facilitate admission into Harvard Yard and Tercentenary Theatre:

  • Degree candidates will receive a limited number of tickets to both the Morning Exercises and the Afternoon Program. Parents and guests of degree candidates must have tickets to enter Harvard Yard. Seating capacity is limited in Tercentenary Theatre. For details, visit the Commencement Office website (  

Note: A ticket allows admission into Harvard Yard, but does not guarantee a seat. Seats are available on a first-come basis and cannot be reserved in advance. The sale of Commencement tickets is strictly prohibited. Gates will open promptly at 6:45 a.m. on Commencement Day.

  • Alumni may request a limited number of tickets on a first-come basis through the Harvard Alumni Association ( or by phone at 617-496-7001).  
  • Additional viewing is available in the Science Center and at most undergraduate Houses and graduate and professional schools. These locations provide seating, and admission tickets are not required in most cases. The Morning Exercises and Afternoon Program may also be viewed via live broadcast on Commencement Day through the webpage.  

Commencement Day Schedule

Morning Exercises: These begin following the academic procession into Tercentenary Theatre. After the student orators’ speeches, the President, Provost, and Deans will confer degrees. The University Band and University Choir perform throughout the Exercises. 

Diploma-Granting Ceremonies and Luncheons: Degree recipients, parents, and alumni return to their Houses, schools, or reunion luncheons, or may purchase tickets for boxed lunches at the Alumni Spread in Harvard Yard.

Afternoon Program: The Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association includes the Overseer and HAA director election results, presentation of the Harvard Medals, and remarks by Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust and the Commencement speaker.

~ The Harvard Commencement Office and The Harvard Alumni Association

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