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.
WHAT IS SENIOR GIFT?
Senior Gift is an opportunity for the Class of 2017 to unite in making their first gift to the College. The Harvard experience would not be possible through tuition alone. Senior Gift contributions to the Harvard College Fund have an immediate impact on current students and directly benefit key areas such as financial aid, advising, athletics, and House life. The Senior Gift Campaign will be live from Wednesday, March 22, 2017 until Wednesday, May 3, 2017. All gifts given before Wednesday, May 24, 2017 will be counted in the Senior Gift participation announcement at Class Day. You can make your gift here.
WHERE AND WHEN DO I EAT DURING SENIOR WEEK?
Adams, Currier, and Leverett are open for lunch and dinner Sunday, May 14, through Saturday, May 20:
LUNCH: Noon–2:15 p.m.
DINNER: 5:00–7:15 p.m. (Please note: Dinner times vary on the following special evenings: Monday, May 15—Senior BBQ; Tuesday, May 16—HUDS' Greatest Hits Dinner; Thursday, May 18—Camp Harvard; and Saturday, May 20—The Dining Hall Finale)
On Monday, May 15, dinner will be served only at Senior Olympics at a location TBD. On Thursday, May 18, dinner will be served only at Camp Harvard in the Quad.
All Dining Halls are closed for meals after dinner on Saturday, May 20.
ARE THERE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES?
Harvard University encourages people with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities, including Senior and Commencement Weeks. If you anticipate needing accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) at 617-496-7001 or email email@example.com.
Accessible seating and other accommodations for individuals with disabilities are available in Tercentenary Theatre on Commencement Day. Accessible seating tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and will be distributed until all tickets are gone. In order to accommodate as many family members and friends with disabilities as possible in the reserved seating area, individuals with an accessible seating ticket will be permitted to have one companion accompany them into the accessible seating section. The companion must also have an accessible seating ticket. Harvard will make every effort to accommodate parents and guests without accessible seating tickets on Commencement Day; however, accessible seating is limited and advanced planning is strongly encouraged.
Prior to or on Friday, April 21—Graduating seniors should contact the University Disability Services (UDS) office with details of their potential ticket needs as soon as possible. Undergraduates may contact UDS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include: your name, your undergraduate House, # of tickets requested, and what your guest's needs are. After receiving email confirmation from UDS, your accessible tickets will be available for pick up along with your remaining general seating tickets at Senior Desk in May.
After Friday, April 21—If you have not contacted University Disability Services prior to Saturday, April 22, then you may exchange general seating tickets for accessible seating tickets in person at Senior Desk.
The accessible seating section is located adjacent to University Hall and will be clearly marked with the International Symbol of Access. As a courtesy, on Commencement Day wheelchair runner assistance is provided from the gate to the guest's seat in Tercentenary Theatre.
Guests are encouraged to arrive early on Commencement Day to avoid some of the crowding that usually takes place after 8:30 a.m. Gates open at 6:45 a.m. First aid stations and wheelchair-accessible restrooms will be located in Sever, Weld, and Thayer Halls. For information about accessible parking, transportation, or other resources: please visit commencement.harvard.edu/guests-disabilities.
WHAT IF MY FAMILY OR FRIENDS FROM OVERSEAS REQUIRE A VISA?
For family and friends to visit you in the U.S., they will most likely need to apply for a tourist visa. The process may vary widely by region and country. This process could take a long time to complete, so please start working on this sooner, rather than later. For more information about the specifics of this process, please visit hio.harvard.edu/b-visa. If your family members or friends require invitation letters for this process, please reach out directly to your Allston Burr Assistant Deans, whose contact information you can find at osl.fas.harvard.edu/house-deans.
AT WHICH EVENTS IS REGALIA REQUIRED?
Academic regalia (cap and gown) is required for the Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) Literary Exercises (for PBK seniors), Baccalaureate Service, and the Class of 2017 photograph on Tuesday, May 23, and for the Commencement Morning Exercises and the House diploma presentation ceremonies on Thursday, May 25.
WHERE DO I GET MY ACADEMIC REGALIA?
Cap and gown rentals are available for pickup May 18 to 25 in the textbook department on the third floor of the Coop, located on Palmer Street, during normal store hours (Monday to Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Sunday: 10:00 a.m.to 7:00 p.m.). The Coop is also open early on Commencement Day (beginning at 6:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 25).
Seniors are not required to reserve a cap and gown, but there is a charge of $40.50 to rent regalia (cash, check, charge, or Crimson Cash are accepted).
IS PARKING AVAILABLE DURING COMMENCEMENT WEEK?
For the Senior Class Family Reception, complimentary parking for guests is available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage on a first-come, first-served basis. On Class Day and Commencement Day, complimentary parking is available in the Allston campus (exact location TBD) on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit transportation.harvard.edu/parking.
ARE RECORDINGS OF THE COMMENCEMENT WEEK ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE?
Broadcast-quality, multiple-camera DVD recordings of Commencement: The Morning Exercises and the Annual Meeting of the HAA: The Afternoon Program are available. These DVDs are intended to be a permanent record of the day's events in Tercentenary Theatre. They both include coverage of the processions, with commentary leading up to the actual platform proceedings. The Class Day Exercises (Wednesday afternoon) are also available on DVD.
For purchase of, or information about these DVDs, contact Commencement Video at 617-884-6000 or email@example.com.
WILL COMMENCEMENT WEEK ACTIVITIES BE AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING ONLINE?
Class Day, Commencement: The Morning Exercises, and the Annual Meeting of the HAA: The Afternoon Program will be streamed online at http://www.harvard.edu/live-stream.
DO CHILDREN NEED TICKETS TO EVENTS?
For the Senior Class Family Reception and the Class Day Exercises, children require a ticket to enter. For the Class Day Picnic, anyone who will need his or her own meal requires a ticket. For Commencement: The Morning Exercises and the Annual Meeting of the HAA: The Afternoon Program, all children (except for infants under the age of one year old) need a ticket to enter the Yard.
HOW DO I GET A COPY OF THE 2017 HARVARD COLLEGE YEARBOOK?
To order, visit https://harvardyearbook.com and click the Order Online button. If you have any questions about the yearbook, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW DO I ORDER THE CLASS PHOTOGRAPH?
An order form was sent to family members in the spring. You can also pick up an order form at the time the photo is taken or any time prior at Senior Desk. Order online here. The cost is $35 for the color photo, $40 for the laminated photo, and $135 framed, plus shipping and tax (where applicable). Free shipping is available until May 24 for orders placed online.
WHERE CAN I GET GRADUATION-RELATED MERCHANDISE?
The Senior Class Committee offers merchandise to students and their families. Visit harvard2017.com/merch to see the collection, which includes diploma frames, mugs, baseball caps, fleeces, and more.
The Coop offers personalized announcements with the graduate's name, degree, and concentration. They also offer diploma frames with The Harvard Seal, in several styles. For more information or to order, visit the Coop in person or online.
The Harvard Shop provides personalized graduation announcements. For more information and to order, visit balfour.com/harvard or call 800-433-0296. Contact Denise Kwong, graduation products manager at The Harvard Shop, at email@example.com with any questions.
The Harvard Shop also offers rings. To view rings for sale, visit The Harvard Shop at 65 Mt. Auburn Street from 12 to 6pm from Tuesday, May 23, to Thursday, May 25. Balfour representatives will be on hand to help order rings and to offer free sizing services.
WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON SENIOR WEEK?
WHEN DO SENIORS HAVE TO VACATE THEIR ROOMS?
All seniors must be out of their rooms by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 26. No exceptions!
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
I AM OFF-CYCLE, BUT I WANT TO WALK IN COMMENCEMENT THIS YEAR. HOW CAN I ENSURE THAT I CAN PARTICIPATE IN COMMENCEMENT THIS YEAR?
If you are off-cycle and want to walk at Commencement this year, please be in touch with your Allston Burr Assistant Dean, House Administrator, and Academic Coordinator.