Harvard College Alumni
Commencement Information for the College Class of 2015
Events involving family members of the College Class of 2015 graduates begin on Tuesday, May 26. Family members should plan to participate in all activities scheduled for Tuesday, May 26 through Thursday, May 28, 2015, with May 28 (Commencement) being the most important day to attend.
Graduation Week Schedule for Students and Families/Guests
Tuesday, May 26
|11:00 AM||Phi Beta Kappa Literary Exercises
Sanders Theatre (open to the public)
|2:00 PM||Baccalaureate Service
Memorial Church (service for students only)
Tercentenary Theatre (audio for families and guests)
|3:30 PM||Class of 2015 Picture
Widener Library Steps
|5:30 PM||Class of 2015 Family Reception
Science Center Plaza
Wednesday, May 27
|11:30 AM||ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
|Noon||Class Day Picnic
|2:00 PM||Class Day Exercises
with featured Class Day Speaker
Natalie Portman AB ’03
|5:00 PM||House Masters’ Receptions
|8:00 PM||Band, Choral, and Glee Club Concert
Thursday, May 28
|9:45 AM||364th Commencement: The Morning Exercises
|Noon||Diploma Presentation and Luncheon
|2:30 PM||364th Commencement: The Afternoon Program
Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association
with featured Commencement Speaker
Deval L. Patrick AB ’78, JD ’82
Family Ticket Purchasing
Online ticket purchasing for family members and guests is now closed. Additional ticket purchases after this time must be done by students at Senior Desk.
Open weekdays Wednesday, May 6, through Wednesday, May 27, 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 and/or pick up tickets that their family members have requested and purchased in advance.
Total Tickets Given
Tuesday, May 26
|Phi Beta Kappa Exercises||Not required||Not required|
|Baccalaureate Service||Not required||Not required|
|Class of 2015 Picture||Not required||Not required|
|Class of 2015 Family Reception||3 (including senior)||Free
Wednesday, May 27
|ROTC Commissioning Ceremony||Not required||Not required|
|Class Day Picnic*||3 (including senior)||$10 each|
|Class Day Exercises||5 (including senior)||Free
|House Masters' Receptions||Not required||Not required|
|Band, Choral, and Glee Club Concert||Not required||Not required|
Thursday, May 28
|Morning Exercises**||4 (not required for senior)||Not available|
|House Diploma Presentation||Not required||Not required|
|House Luncheon||3 (including senior)||$15.50 each
(Senior Desk in advance or
checker day of)
|The Afternoon Program||5 (including senior)||May be available
*Ticket reservations for this event must be made in advance, either online (until April 30) or at Senior Desk (May 6–27).
**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 2015 Family Reception
Tuesday, May 26 at 5:30 PM
Enjoy a reception and drinks with your senior, as well as other families and guests. Tickets are complimentary for the graduating senior and two guests. Additional tickets will also be available at Senior Desk.
Class Day Picnic
Wednesday, May 27 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. All additional reservations must be made in advance, either online or at Senior Desk. Seniors are encouraged to check with their family first before purchasing tickets on campus. If family members have ordered tickets online, seniors may pick them up at Senior Desk.
Class Day Exercises
Wednesday, May 27 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 2015 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 28 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. To learn more about the history of the Spirit and Spectacle of Harvard Commencement, please visit this page.
Commencement—Diploma Presentation and Luncheon
Thursday, May 28 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 for $15.50 each (cash only on the day of Commencement).
Commencement—The Afternoon Program
Thursday, May 28 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 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 2015 merchandise?
Seniors and family members will be able to purchase class merchandise, brought to you by the Senior Class Committee, through this online marketplace. All items will be delivered to seniors near the end of 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 28 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 Picture?
If you are not able to pick up an order form at the time the picture 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 2015 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 either complete this online, secure survey or email the Harvard Alumni Association with your name, House, mailing address, and family contact information.
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 House 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 Masters' Receptions, these are pre-bagged 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 29, 2015 (no exceptions).