Harvard College Alumni
Commencement Information for the College Class of 2017
Events involving family members of the College Class of 2017 graduates begin on Tuesday, May 23. Family members should plan to participate in all activities scheduled for Tuesday, May 23 through Thursday, May 25, 2017, with May 25 (Commencement) being the most important day to attend.
Graduation Week Schedule for Students and Families/Guests
Tuesday, May 23
|11:00 AM||Phi Beta Kappa Literary Exercises
Sanders Theatre (open to the public)
|1:30 PM||Baccalaureate Procession
Old Yard (graduates process; guests welcome to observe)
|2:00 PM||Baccalaureate Service
Memorial Church (service for students only)
Tercentenary Theatre (audio for families and guests)
|3:30 PM||Class of 2017 Photo
Widener Library Steps
|5:00 PM||Class of 2017 Family Reception
Science Center Plaza
Wednesday, May 24
|11:00 AM||ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
|Noon||Class Day Picnic
|2:00 PM||Class Day Exercises
with featured speaker
|5:00 PM||Faculty Deans’ Receptions
|8:00 PM||Band, Choral, and Glee Club Concert
Thursday, May 25
|6:45 AM||Yard Gates Open|
|9:45 AM||366th Commencement: The Morning Exercises
|Noon||Diploma Presentation and Luncheon
|2:30 PM||366th Commencement: The Afternoon Program
Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association
with featured speaker
Open weekdays Monday, May 8, through Wednesday, May 24, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Seniors are invited to come to Senior Desk at the Harvard Alumni Association offices, located at 124 Mount Auburn Street, 6th Floor in Cambridge, to pick up all of the tickets to which they are entitled and to purchase additional tickets. This is the only way for students to pick up tickets. When students arrive at Senior Desk, they can purchase additional tickets with cash or credit card.
Total Tickets Given
Tuesday, May 23
|Phi Beta Kappa Exercises||Not required||Not required|
|Baccalaureate Service||Not required||Not required|
|Class of 2017 Photo||Not required||Not required|
|Class of 2017 Family Reception||3 (including senior)||Free but limited
Wednesday, May 24
|ROTC Commissioning Ceremony||Not required||Not required|
|Class Day Picnic*||3 (including senior)||$10 each
|Class Day Exercises||5 (including senior)||Free but limited
|Faculty Deans' Receptions||Not required||Not required|
|Band, Choral, and Glee Club Concert||Not required||Not required|
|Thursday, May 25|
|Morning Exercises**||4 (not required for senior)||Not available|
|House Diploma Presentation||Not required||Not required|
|House Luncheon||3 (including senior)||$16 each
(Senior Desk in advance or
checker day of)
|The Afternoon Program||5 (including senior)||Free but limited
*Ticket reservations for this event must be made in advance at Senior Desk (May 8–24).
**For all ticketed events except the Morning Exercises, seniors will require one of the provided tickets. For the Morning Exercises, the regalia and lanyard are the senior’s ticket for entry.
Class of 2017 Family Reception
Tuesday, May 23 at 5:00 PM
Enjoy a reception and drinks with your senior, as well as other families and guests. Tickets are complimentary for the graduating senior and guests. These complimentary tickets must be picked up by each senior at Senior Desk.
Class Day Picnic
Wednesday, May 24 at Noon
Enjoy a casual lunch in the Old Yard before the start of the Class Day Exercises. Tickets are complimentary for the graduating senior and two guests and $10 per each additional person. Complimentary tickets must be picked up and any additional tickets must be purchased in advance at Senior Desk. Seniors are encouraged to check with their family first before purchasing tickets as refunds are not accepted.
Class Day Exercises
Wednesday, May 24 at 2:00 PM
For seniors and guests, featuring the presentation of the Ames Awards, the Harvard and Ivy Orations, and the Class Ode, sung to the tune of "Fair Harvard." A remarkable display of eloquence and entertainment by fellow classmates, complemented by the featured Class Day speaker. Each senior is entitled to five complimentary tickets. Graduating seniors will require one of these tickets for entry. Additional tickets will also be available at Senior Desk.
Commencement—The Morning Exercises
Thursday, May 25 at 9:45 AM (gates open at 6:45 AM)
For the Morning Exercises, seniors in academic regalia (cap and gown) do not need tickets for the Commencement Morning Exercises in Tercentenary Theatre (security lanyards and regalia are required for entry). Family members and guests will require tickets for the Commencement Morning Exercises. The Commencement Morning Exercises are extremely crowded (over 32,000 people attend) and, consequently, tickets are limited to a maximum of four per graduating senior (no exceptions). Please note that a ticket does not guarantee a seat. The sale of Commencement tickets is also strictly prohibited. For more information about the schedule for the Morning Exercises please visit the University Commencement website.
Commencement—Diploma Presentation and Luncheon
Thursday, May 25 at Noon
Between the Commencement Morning Exercises and Afternoon Program, in each House, there is a diploma presentation ceremony and luncheon. This is the ceremony where the graduate actually receives his/her diploma. Tickets are not required for the ceremony but are required for the luncheon. Tickets for the luncheon are complimentary for the graduating senior and two guests. Additional guest tickets can be purchased at Senior Desk in advance or during the lunch from the checker (cash only on the day of Commencement).
Commencement—The Afternoon Program
Thursday, May 25 at 2:30 PM
Students will receive five Afternoon Program tickets (one for the graduate and four for guests), where addresses by the Harvard President and the featured Commencement speaker are scheduled. Additional Afternoon Program tickets may become available at Senior Desk. For more information about the schedule for the Afternoon Program please visit the University Commencement website or the Harvard Alumni Association's Annual Meeting website.
1. How can I purchase Class of 2017 merchandise?
Seniors and family members will be able to purchase class merchandise, brought to you by the Senior Class Committee, through the class website during the winter and spring. All items will be delivered to seniors on campus during the spring semester.
2. Where can I purchase graduation announcements?
The Coop offers personalized announcements with the graduate's name, degree, and concentration. For more information or to order, visit the Coop, visit thecoop.com, or call 800-368-1882.
The Harvard Shop, a division of Harvard Student Agencies, also offers personalized graduation announcements. For more information or to order, visit the Harvard Shop at 52 JFK Street, visit CBgrad.com, or call 800-433-0296.
3. How can I obtain academic regalia (cap and gown)?
Cap and gown rentals will be available prior to May 25 in the Textbook department on the third floor of the Coop on Palmer Street. For more information, please review this page from the Coop or call 617-499-2122.
Harvard College undergraduates do not have to reserve academic regalia (cap and gown) in advance.
4. How do I order a copy of the Class Photo?
If you are not able to pick up an order form at the time the photo is taken, you can pick one up at 124 Mount Auburn Street, 6th floor at any time. You can also contact: Panfoto, panfoto.com, P.O. Box 650063, West Newton, MA 02465-0063, (781-788-9595, Fax: 781-788-4999).
5. Are recordings of the Commencement Week activities available for purchase?
Broadcast-quality, multiple-camera DVD recordings are available of the Commencement Morning Exercises and the afternoon Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association held in Tercentenary Theatre. Class Day Exercises (Wednesday afternoon) are also available on DVD. The morning and afternoon Commencement Day recordings include commentary during the processions. Single-camera recordings of diploma ceremonies at the Houses may be available based on House.
Additional information about viewing or purchasing recordings will be available as Commencement approaches. For purchase of or information about videos at Houses, contact your House Administrator.
6. How do I purchase a copy of the Harvard College Yearbook?
Orders can be placed by going to the website: harvardyearbook.com.
7. Are there special arrangements for persons with disabilities?
Yes. There is an accessible seating section available for persons with disabilities in Tercentenary Theatre on Commencement Day. For more information, please visit the main Commencement site here.
Other Commencement Week activities may also be accessible depending on location. Please email the Harvard Alumni Association or call 617-496-7001 for specific information or requests.
8. Is there parking available during Commencement Week?
Parking during this time is limited. For the Class of 2017 Family Reception, limited parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis at the 52 Oxford Street Garage from 4:30–8:30 PM that evening. For Class Day and Commencement Day, accessible Parking is available at the Athletics Complex at the Allston Campus. Please enter via Gate 8 and a parking attendant will direct you to a spot. After you park, there will be accessible shuttles available to take you to the Harvard Yard's Tercentenary Theatre. The shuttle buses will be running continuously during these days, offering transportation across campus. Individuals needing accessible parking spaces are encouraged to plan ahead as parking during this time is extremely limited. Specific details about Commencement parking and transportation are available on this page.
9. How do I get added to the Social Senior Class List to receive information about Senior Events?
If you are a graduating or social senior, and you have not been receiving information about senior or Commencement events, please email Class Secretary Jonathan Sands at firstname.lastname@example.org
10. How can I find out if I am officially considered a senior?
If you want to walk at Commencement but are unsure of your senior standing please contact your Allston Burr Assistant Dean or contact the Registrar directly.
11. What if I need to invite family or friends from overseas who may require a visa?
For family, relatives, and friends to visit you in the U.S., they will most likely need to apply for a tourist visa. The actual process may vary widely by region and country. For more information about the specifics of this process, please visit the Harvard International Office website. If your family members or friends require invitation letters for this process, please reach out directly to your Allston Burr Assistant Dean.
12. Do family members under 5 years old need to pay for or need tickets to events?
For the Family Reception, no ticket is needed for those under 5 years old. For the Class Day Picnic and House Luncheon, these are pre-bagged or pre-set meals; if children will need their own lunches, they will need their own tickets. For Class Day/Commencement Exercises, children do not need tickets if they are able to sit on your lap.
13. When must seniors vacate their rooms?
All seniors must vacate their rooms by 5:00 PM on Friday, May 26, 2017 (no exceptions).