Explorations and Curiosities
Commencement and Alumni Events 2023
Harvard Commencement week guide
COMMENCEMENT WEEK includes addresses by President Lawrence S. Bacow and actor-filmmaker Tom Hanks. For details and updates on event speakers, visit harvardmagazine.com/commencement.
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Monday, May 22
Affinity Celebration honoring First Gen and Next Gen graduates, 2-4, Sever Quadrangle
Affinity Celebration honoring Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Desi-American graduates, 5:30-7:30, Sever Quadrangle
Tuesday, May 23
Affinity Celebration honoring Black graduates, 9-11, Sever Quadrangle
Phi Beta Kappa Exercises, at 11, with orator Adam Falk, Ph.D. ’91, theoretical physicist and president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and guest poet Natalie Diaz, winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Postcolonial Love Poem, Sanders Theatre
Lavender Celebration honoring LGBTQ+ graduates, 1-3, Sever Quadrangle
Baccalaureate Service for the Class of 2023, at 2, followed by class photo, Tercentenary Theatre
Affinity Celebration honoring Latinx graduates, 4-7, Sever Quadrangle
Class of 2023 Family Reception, at 5, Science Center plaza
Harvard University Band and Choruses Concert, at 8, Tercentenary Theatre
Wednesday, May 24
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, at 11, with President Lawrence S. Bacow and guest speaker Lieutenant General Maria B. Barrett, commanding general of the U.S. Army Cyber Command, Tercentenary Theatre
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Awards Convocation, at 11, with Carlos Alvarado Quesada, forty-eighth president of Costa Rica, Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, Boston
College Class Day Exercises, at 2, with speaker TBA, Harvard and Ivy Orations, and remarks by incoming Harvard Alumni Association president Tracy “Ty” Moore II ’06, Tercentenary Theatre
Harvard Kennedy School Graduation Address, at time TBA, guest speaker Ban Ki-moon, M.P.A. ’84, former United Nations secretary general, JFK Memorial Park
Law School Class Day Ceremony, 2:30-4, with an address by actress Michelle Yeoh, Holmes Field
Business School Class Day Ceremony, 2:30, with speaker Raymond McGuire, ’79, J.D.- M.B.A. ’84, president, Lazard, Baker Lawn
Graduate School of Education Convocation, 3:30, speaker TBA, Radcliffe Yard
Graduate School of Design Class Day, 3:30, with speaker Chicago-based architect Kimberly Dowdell, of the global design firm HOK, and 2024 president of the American Institute of Architects, Gund Hall backyard tent
Divinity School Multireligious Commencement Service for the Class of 2023, 3:30, HDS campus green
Dudley Community Reception, at 4
Faculty Deans’ Receptions, at 5, undergraduate Houses
Thursday, May 25
Commencement Day, Harvard Yard gates open at 6:45
Academic Procession, begins at 7:45, the Old Yard
The 372nd Commencement Exercises, 9:30-12:15, with guest speaker actor-filmmaker Tom Hanks, Tercentenary Theatre
Photograph by Niko Yaitanes/Harvard Magazine
Luncheons and diploma-awarding ceremonies, at 12:15, undergraduate Houses, and the graduate and professional schools (various locations)
Harvard Extension School Class of 2023 Ceremony and Reception, 1-3:30, Harvard Museum of Natural History courtyard
Harvard Medical and Dental Schools Class Day Ceremony, Luncheon at noon, followed by ceremony and keynote address by neurosurgeon, author, and Emmy Award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN Sanjay Gupta, HMS Quad
Affinity Celebration honoring Indigenous graduates, time and location TBA
Friday, May 26
Radcliffe Day, panel discussion, “The Essential Role of Women Leaders in Global Health,” at 10. Moderator Jacqueline Bhabha, professor of the practice of health and human rights, leads panelists: Harvard Medical School senior lecturer on global health and social medicine, cofounder and former vice chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity, and Rwandan pediatrician Agnes Binagwaho; executive director of the United Nations Population Fund Natalia Kanem ’76; and director of the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) Reema Nanavaty.
Following the discussion, there will be remarks by writer and global health advocate Chelsea Clinton, and a ceremony and keynote conversation between this year’s Radcliffe Medal honoree Ophelia Dahl, healthcare and social justice advocate, and cofounder of Partners In Health (PIH), and PIH trustee John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and other titles. Registration required, Radcliffe Yard
Friday, June 2
Harvard Alumni Day, starting at 11, a University-wide event honoring alumni impact, citizenship, and community across the globe, including remarks by guest speaker Mary Louise Kelly ’93, co-host of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and by President Lawrence S. Bacow. Recognition of the Harvard Medalists, along with the traditional all-alumni parade, musical performances, and a Harvard Yard party with food and drinks, Tercentenary Theatre
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Harvard University’s 372nd Commencement Exercises
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Since 1642, when just nine students graduated, Harvard’s Commencement Exercises have brought together the community unlike any other tradition still observed in the University. Degree candidates, with those who supported them, are anticipated to participate in Harvard’s 372nd commencement exercises this spring. Given the increasing number of people planning to attend, we ask that interested readers carefully review the guidelines governing ticketing, regalia, security precautions, health and safety, and other details at https://commencement.harvard.edu/.
Commencement Day Overview
The Commencement Exercises begin when the academic procession is seated in Tercentenary Theatre and the sheriff calls the “meeting to order.” Three student orators deliver addresses, and the dean of each School introduces the candidates by groups for their respective degrees, which the president then confers. Toward the conclusion of the ceremony, the graduating seniors are asked to rise, and their degrees are conferred on them as a group by the president. Honorary degrees are then conferred before the Commencement speaker delivers an address. The exercises are then adjourned.
Diploma-granting Ceremonies and Luncheons: Graduates and their guests return to their respective undergraduate Houses or graduate and professional Schools.
Please note: University health and safety guidance and policies may change based on current conditions and federal, state, and local requirements.
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Harvard Alumni Day
Friday, June 2, 2023
The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) invites the University community to Harvard Alumni Day. This global celebration will honor alumni impact, citizenship, and community. It begins with the alumni parade led by the Chief Marshal and the eldest alumni in attendance. Together with their schools and classes, alumni will process into Tercentenary Theatre for the HAA’s annual meeting program, which will feature an alumni keynote speaker, a report from Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow, recognition of the Harvard Medalists, and more. A luncheon and other programming follow. Alumni not in attendance are invited to join via live stream or through local watch parties.
—Harvard Commencement Office and Harvard Alumni Association