Event Schedule
Entry Requirements
Frequently Asked Questions
Alumni Life Information

Commencement Week Schedule for Students and Families/Guests

A schedule for the College Class of 2023 for May 2023 is below. See the Frequently Asked Questions section below for information about how seniors will obtain tickets to Commencement Week events at Senior Desk

Additionally, you can view information about the University-wide affinity celebrations for graduates taking place May 22–25, including how to register for the events, at this website.

Tuesday, May 23

11:00 AM–12:30 PM

Phi Beta Kappa Literary Exercises

Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall (Open to the public; tickets not required). A traditional part of Harvard Commencement since the 18th century, the Literary Exercises celebrate the humane learning and passion for intellectual exchange that are the ideal and hallmark of the chapter. PBK seniors should wear their regalia. 

1:15–2:00 PM

Baccalaureate Procession

Old Yard, Harvard Yard (graduating seniors march in the procession; guests welcome to observe). Tickets not required. President Bacow will lead the Class of 2023 in a procession around the Old Yard into Tercentenary Theatre for the Baccalaureate Service. Graduating seniors should wear their regalia. 

Seniors should arrive by 1:15. The procession will begin at the corner of Holworthy and Thayer, and the line will extend back along Holworthy, Stoughton, Hollis, and Matthews. Once the procession begins, the class will pass in front of Thayer and University Hall, then enter Tercentenary Theatre between University Hall and Weld. From there, the line will process to Widener Library steps, and then down the aisles of the seating in Tercentenary Theatre before moving to the seats at the front of the Theatre closest to Memorial Church. 

2:00–3:30 PM

Baccalaureate Service

Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard Yard. Tickets not required. President Bacow will share remarks with the Class of 2023 and students will share sacred readings from their religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions. Graduating seniors should wear their regalia. Seniors will sit in assigned sections closer to the stage following the procession; guests are welcome to sit in the remaining sections separate from the students.

3:30–4:00 PM

Class of 2023 Photograph

Widener Library Steps. Tickets not required. Rain date: Wednesday, May 24, immediately following the Class Day Exercises. Graduating seniors should wear their regalia. A link to order the photograph is forthcoming.

5:00–6:30 PM

Class of 2023 Family Reception

Science Center Plaza. Enjoy a reception with food and drink for graduating seniors and their families and guests. Tickets required. Graduating seniors are allotted three free tickets and will require one of these tickets for themselves. Additional tickets will be available for free. Tickets are obtained by seniors at Senior Desk (see below).

Seniors and guests should enter the Plaza at Meyer Gate (the gate between Harvard Yard and the Science Center Plaza) or at the corner of Oxford and Kirkland streets. Guests should be prepared to give their tickets to staff. 

8:00–10:00 PM

Harvard University Band and Harvard Choruses Concert

Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard Yard. Tickets not required. Featuring student performers, this annual concert is open to all members of the Harvard community.

Wednesday, May 24

11:00 AM–Noon

ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard Yard. Tickets not required. This ceremony celebrates the commissioning of the new military officers from the College's ROTC contingent. 

Noon–2:00 PM

Class Day Picnic

Old Yard, Harvard Yard. Enjoy a casual bagged lunch before the start of the Class Day Exercises. Tickets required. Graduating seniors are allotted three free tickets and will require one of these tickets for themselves. Additional tickets can be purchased for $15. Tickets are obtained by seniors at Senior Desk (see below).

Guests should be prepared to give their tickets to the staff in exchange for a bagged lunch.

2:00–4:00 PM

Class Day Exercises

Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard Yard. Where Commencement is a University-wide program, Class Day celebrates the graduating College Class of 2023 and includes the featured Class Day speaker invited by the Class, the Harvard Oration (a formal, reflective speech by a member of the Class) the Ivy Oration (a light-hearted, comedic speech by a member of the Class), the presentation of the Ames Awards in recognition of two members of the Class and their service to the community, and the Class Ode (two original verses to the tune of Fair Harvard written and performed by members of the Class) . The event will also feature remarks from Rakesh Khurana, Danoff Dean of Harvard College and Ty Moore AB '06, incoming President of the Harvard Alumni Association. The program will also be streamed online at harvard.edu/live and be available for later viewing on YouTube.

There is no formal procession for this event, and seniors can sit with family and guests; there is no assigned seating. Signage around Harvard Yard and Tercentenary Theatre regarding ticket types and seating areas can be ignored on Class Day; these are for Commencement the following morning. Students will not wear academic regalia on Class Day; business casual dress is recommended for all.

Tickets required. Graduating seniors are allotted three free tickets and will require one of these tickets for themselves. Additional tickets will be available for free. Tickets are obtained by seniors at Senior Desk (see below). More information about entry requirements (including bag policies) for Tercentenary Theatre is below.

The Old Yard will be open on Class Day, but Tercentenary Theatre will be gated, and a Class Day Exercises ticket will be required for entry. Gates will open for ticket scanning and entry at 1:00 p.m. There will be five entry locations: between Thayer and University Hall, between University Hall and Weld, two lines between Weld and Widener Library, and between Widener Library and Pusey Library.

4:00–5:30 PM

Dudley Community Reception

Cambridge Queen's Head Pub. Tickets not required. For seniors, families, and guests.

5:00–6:30 PM

Faculty Deans' Receptions

Undergraduate Houses. Tickets not required. For seniors, families, and guests.

5:00–9:00 PM

Senior Letterwinners' Dinner

Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Advanced ticket purchase required. Senior student-athletes are free. For more info: harvardvarsityclub.org/SLD.

Thursday, May 25

6:45 AM

Harvard Yard Gates Open


8:00–8:15 AM

Senior Sendoff

Science Center Plaza Tent. Historically known as Senior Chapel. For graduating seniors only. Graduating seniors should wear their regalia. 

9:30 AM–12:15 PM

372nd Harvard University Commencement Exercises

Celebrating the achievements of all Harvard University graduates, this program features remarks from students, the conferring of student degrees, the presentation of honorary degrees, and an address by the Commencement Speaker.

Tickets are required. Graduating seniors are allotted up to four free tickets for guests (they will not need a ticket for themselves); additional tickets are not available.

Indoor viewing is available via live web stream in the Science Center (indoors and the Plaza Tent after 8:15 a.m.), the Smith Campus Center, and most undergraduate Houses, and the program will also be streamed online at harvard.edu/live. A ticket will not be needed for entry to these spaces. More information can be found at https://commencement.harvard.edu/.

Academic regalia, lanyard (to be distributed at Houses), and HUID allow entry for graduates. Tickets are obtained by seniors at Senior Desk (see below). More information about entry requirements (including bag policies) for Harvard Yard and Tercentenary Theatre is below.

Graduating seniors will enter Tercentenary Theatre by a formal procession from the Old Yard and will sit together by House in a section for Harvard College graduates. Families and guests will sit in a different section. Note that names of graduates are not called nor are diplomas presented at this program; this will occur at the Diploma Presentation and Luncheon at 12:30.

12:30–3:00 PM

Diploma Presentation and Luncheon

Undergraduate Houses. This event is where graduates' names will be called and diplomas will be presented. Tickets are not required to view the diploma ceremony but are required to partake in the lunch that occurs during this time. Graduating seniors should wear their regalia. Graduating seniors are allotted three free tickets for lunch and will require one of these tickets for themselves. Additional tickets can be purchased for $18. Tickets are obtained by seniors at Senior Desk (see below).

The order of the luncheon and diploma ceremony, as well as other program logistics, may vary by House or Community. Graduating students will learn more from their House regarding program plans, including the specific location. 

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Commencement Week Entry Requirements

All Commencement Week events are held rain or shine. In the case of inclement weather, alternate plans will be communicated to the students. 

All persons, bags, and personal items are subject to inspection before entering Commencement Week events. Backpacks, luggage, and any bag or item larger than 12" x 12" x 12" will not be permitted inside Commencement Week events.

Strollers are not permitted inside Tercentenary Theatre on Commencement Day. Strollers are permitted into Harvard Yard but must remain in the Old Yard within the overflow viewing area only, without exception.

Tickets to the Class Day Exercises and Commencement Exercises allow admission into Harvard Yard but do not guarantee seats. Seats cannot be reserved and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The sale of tickets for the Class Day Exercises and Commencement Exercises is strictly prohibited. Students who attempt to sell tickets may be referred to the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct.

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Frequently Asked Questions and More Commencement Week Information

How and when can tickets be obtained?

Tickets for the Family Reception, Class Day Picnic, Class Day Exercises, Commencement, and House Luncheon are obtained by graduating seniors only at Senior Desk

Graduating seniors must first complete the online senior exit survey, titled “Senior Survey,” before they pick up their Commencement Week tickets at Senior Desk. Graduating seniors will receive an email containing a URL to access the survey, which opens on May 5. The survey may take up to 24 hours to process, so please wait until the next business day before picking up tickets.

Each senior must pick up their own tickets in person (no pickups for others) and will need to bring their Harvard ID with them. No tickets (allotted, free, or purchased) will be available onsite at Commencement Week events. Seniors will be able to pick up their standard ticket packet, request any additional free tickets, and purchase any additional tickets that have a cost. Credit or debit card payments are accepted. 

Senior Desk is located at the Harvard Alumni Association at 124 Mount Auburn Street, 6th Floor. It will be open weekdays from May 8–May 24 from 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

  • May 8: Adams, Lowell, and Quincy
  • May 9: Cabot, Currier, Dudley, and Pforzheimer
  • May 10: Dunster, Leverett, and Mather
  • May 11: Eliot, Kirkland, and Winthrop
  • May 12–24 (weekdays): Students from all Houses can come to any of the remaining days.

What is the attire for Commencement Week activities?

Business casual attire is appropriate for all Commencement Week activities.

Are accommodations available?

There are a number of hotels in and around Harvard Square and the Cambridge area, including some accessible via the MBTA Red Line. Please plan to book early as hotels will quickly fill up. Unfortunately, courtesy rates at hotels are not available. Please visit the University Commencement website for more information.

At which events is regalia (cap and gown) required?

Regalia is required for the Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) Literary Exercises (for PBK seniors), Baccalaureate Procession and Service, and the Class of 2023 photograph on Tuesday, May 23, and for the Commencement Exercises and the Diploma Presentation ceremonies on Thursday, May 25.

How can seniors purchase regalia?

Regalia for Harvard College Seniors is available for pickup May 18 to May 25 at The Harvard Coop, Harvard Square location. No reservations are needed for the Harvard College senior regalia. Seniors should go to The Coop May 18 to May 25 to purchase their regalia. Distribution will take place on the third floor at 1400 Massachusetts Avenue. Visit www.thecoop.com for store hours.

The Coop is also open early on Commencement Day (beginning at 6:45 a.m. on Thursday, May 25).

The regalia fee is $55 for seniors; dual AB/AM candidates will have an additional fee for the master hood (cash and credit card are accepted). Please email customerservice@thecoop.com if you have regalia questions or request special sizing accommodation.

Where can I find information about accessibility for guests with disabilities?

Harvard University welcomes all guests on Commencement Day!

In Tercentenary Theatre, accommodations for individuals with disabilities may include, but are not limited to, accessible seating, wheelchair loan, Assistive Listening Devices, American Sign Language, and alternate program formats, including Braille, large font, and accessible digital files. Accommodations are available by request; see below for more information.

Guests are encouraged to arrive early (gates open at 6:45 a.m.), and there will be staff at the entry gates to Harvard Yard providing courtesy wheelchair transportation for all guests from the gate to guest seating in Tercentenary Theatre. First aid stations and wheelchair-accessible restrooms are located in Sever, Weld, and Thayer Halls in Harvard Yard. If you have questions about accommodations and the physical access provided for other commencement activities, please call the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) at 617-496-7001 or email haa_collegealumniprograms@harvard.edu. For information about accessible parking and transportation, please visit commencement.harvard.edu/ guests-disabilities.

Commencement Accessible Seating Details: The accessible seating section during the Thursday morning Commencement program in Tercentenary Theatre is located adjacent to University Hall and will be clearly marked with the International Symbol of Access (a figure in a wheelchair). Graduating seniors will be able to exchange a certain number of their general admission guest tickets for accessible seating tickets at Senior Desk in May. One companion accessible seating ticket is available to each guest in the accessible section (also as a replacement for a general admission ticket; the total number of guest tickets will still be four); however, when space is available, best efforts will be made to seat a limited number of additional guests (with general admission tickets and not accessible seating tickets) with the understanding that they may need to relocate if an accessible seating ticket holder needs the space.

For the Class Day Exercises on Wednesday, there will not be an accessible seating section due to ample seating. Additional accommodations are available by request.

For additional requests for accommodations, please email the University Disability Resources office at disabilityresources@harvard.edu or call 617-495-1859. 

What if family or friends from overseas require a visa?

Family and friends visiting the U.S. will most likely need to apply for a visitor visa. The process to apply for a visitor visa may vary widely by region and country. This process could take a long time to complete. We advise that you start the application process as early as possible.

For general information, you can visit hio.harvard.edu/b-visa. Individuals will need to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home countries for specific instructions on the visa application process and processing times.

If family members or friends require invitation letters for this process, students should reach out directly to their Allston Burr Resident Dean, whose contact information can be found at this page.

Is parking available during Commencement Week?

For the Class of 2023 Family Reception, complimentary parking 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 on campus in Allston on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit the Harvard Transportation & Parking office at transportation.harvard.edu/parking.

Do children need tickets to events?

All children—except for infants under the age of one—require tickets for all events except for the Class Day Picnic. For the Class Day Picnic, a ticket is required for each bagged lunch.

Will Commencement Week events be available for online viewing?

The Class Day Exercises and Commencement Exercises will be streamed online at harvard.edu/live.

How do seniors and families get a copy of the 2023 Harvard College Yearbook?

To order the Class of 2023 Harvard Yearbook, visit harvardyearbook.com/purchase. If there are any questions about the Yearbook, please email inquiries@harvardyearbook.com

How do seniors and families order the class photograph?

The following information is from 2022; information for 2023 is coming soon. Orders can be placed online. Students can also pick up an order form at the time the photograph is taken. The cost is $35 for the color photograph, $40 for the laminated photograph, and $135 framed, plus shipping and tax (where applicable). Discounted pricing is available until May 31 for orders placed online.  

Where can seniors and families order graduation-related merchandise?

The Coop offers personalized graduation announcements and the largest selection of diploma frames with the Harvard Seal, class rings, and Class of 2023 apparel and gifts. The Coop hosts a Grad Fair in the spring that offers great discounts on diploma frames and class rings. Students are encouraged to stay connected and visit the Coop in person or online at thecoop.com in early 2023 for the Grad Fair dates and to view the selections.

The Harvard Shop provides class rings and personalized graduation announcements. For more information, visit balfour.com/harvard or call 800-433-0296. To purchase official Harvard merchandise and to support a student-run business, visit The Harvard Shop website or at their store at 1380 Massachusetts Avenue. The 65 Mount Auburn Street location will be hosting monthly class ring try-ons until Commencement. Specific dates and times will be sent to the students' college email addresses in the days leading up to the event. Balfour representatives will be on hand to help order rings and to offer free sizing services. 

When do seniors have to vacate their rooms?

All seniors must move out of their rooms by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 26.

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Alumni Life Information

All Harvard undergraduates and graduates are members of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA), a dues-free organization. The HAA offers a wealth of opportunities to stay connected to Harvard and its alumni community, as well as excellent alumni benefits, including social, educational, and networking events; online learning; volunteer opportunities; and travel-study trips. 

Class of 2023 and Class volunteer Opportunities

Class of 2023, your class is the heart of your alumni activity. After graduation, your class will have a Reunion every five years. Between Reunion years, your Class or others may sponsor social events in Cambridge, around the world, and online. We encourage you to participate and take advantage of these resources. Remember to visit the class website at harvard2023.com for updated information specific to your Class.

The 2023 Class Committee will continue to guide and support your Class in alumni life. You can support their efforts by volunteering to be an activities chair! Activities chairs are College alumni volunteers who support their Class Committees and bring classmates and alumni from surrounding classes together in their post-grad cities and regions, serving as key players in keeping College alumni connected to each other. In a Reunion year (every five years), you can volunteer on your Reunion Program and Gift Committees.

Harvard Alumni Community

Log in to the HAA Alumni Directory with your HarvardKey and update your profile to connect with fellow alumni. Your HarvardKey does not change after you graduate. Through community.alumni.harvard.edu/person, you can update your address and other biographical information and connect with alumni from across the College and University. It is important to keep your information current to receive news, events, programs, and special announcements specific to where you live.

College Alumni Programs Office

The College Alumni Programs office of the HAA serves more than 100,000 Harvard and Radcliffe College alumni. The office oversees and develops programming to preserve and maintain Harvard traditions and to create new opportunities to connect members of the Harvard community with one another and with the University. Visit alumni.harvard.edu/college for details.

Harvard College Fund

For nearly 100 years, the Harvard College Fund (HCF) has supported so many things you love about Harvard: House life, Classroom to Table, financial aid, career services, and more. The HCF, working together with volunteers in the Harvard Alumni Association, provides one of the most meaningful and influential opportunities for you to stay connected to Harvard. More than 30,000 students, alumni, parents, and friends contribute to the HCF each year, but did you know there are multiple ways to give back by getting involved? Build an engaged and supportive recent graduate community by joining the Recent Graduate Leadership Committee; rally your classmates and serve as a class reunion volunteer; make connections by attending HCF regional events in your area. To learn more about how you can get involved, contact us at hcf_inquiry@harvard.edu!

Alumni Programs & Events

Learning opportunities at Harvard don’t end just because you have a degree. We invite you to take part in a variety of learning and social experiences designed to keep alumni connected with the intellectual life of the University—and to one another. These include career networking opportunities, tours at Harvard’s world-renowned museums, conversations with University leaders and administrators, and faculty lectures on everything from health care to space exploration to public service. Programs led by the HAA are in addition to the thousands of programs led by our extensive Club and Shared Interest Group networks. Alumni events are held online, on campus, and all over the world. For information on current programs, visit alumni.harvard.edu/programs-events.

Harvard Clubs

Stretching from South Africa to Norway, Argentina to Japan, there are nearly 250 Harvard Clubs and regional alumni communities worldwide eager to welcome recent graduates. Harvard Clubs provide great opportunities to meet new friends, expand your Harvard network across years and Schools, and stay connected to the University, often including targeted recent grad events amongst broad slates of alumni offerings including social, cultural, and community service activities. Many clubs are dues-free, and many more offer free or reduced dues for recent graduates. Please note that the Harvard Clubs of Boston and New York City have unique membership processes.

For a full list of Harvard Clubs and regional alumni communities, including contact information, visit alumni.harvard.edu/clubs-directory.

Harvard Alumni Association Shared Interest Groups

Are you interested in connecting with fellow recent graduates and other Harvard alumni around a shared identity, avocation, or professional interest? Would you like to find other alumni who share your interests or cultural pursuits? Are you looking to build community? HAA Shared Interest Groups connect thousands of alumni around the world to one another and to the University through a wide range of programs, events, communications, and service projects. Examples include First Generation Harvard Alumni, Harvard Alumni in Tech, Harvard Black Alumni Society, and Harvard Alumni for Global Women’s Empowerment.

For a full list of HAA Shared Interest Groups, including contact information, visit alumni.harvard.edu/sigs-directory.

Alumni Travel

From the turquoise glaciers of Antarctica to the breathtaking landscapes of Vietnam, travel with Harvard Alumni Travels to learn about and explore destinations across every continent. With options for all experience and activity levels, travel in the company of Harvard faculty, expert local guides, and fellow alumni from across the University. Look out for Spring Break Adventures for students and alumni with lower rates for students and recent College graduates. Join us in embracing this magnificent world and sites that bring us together. For more information, visit alumni.harvard.edu/travel.

Career Resources

As a recent graduate of Harvard College, you continue to have access to the Mignone Center for Career Success, including Crimson Careers and Firsthand Advisers. We also encourage you to use these platforms to post opportunities for and mentor students in the future. Visit https://careerservices.fas.harvard.edu/resources/connect-with-students/.

The HAA also has a collection of career-related resources, including webinars led by alumni. To learn more, please visit alumni.harvard.edu/community/careers-networking.

Email Newsletters

Stay informed on news and events across Harvard through the various alumni newsletters. Read Harvard Alumni News for a monthly snapshot of the latest University-wide updates or take a peek at what the College and fellow alumni are up to in College Alumni News. If you’re looking to further connect with the University community or local alumni, get a glimpse of the different events and programs being held by alumni for alumni in Harvard this Week.

Harvard Gazette

The Harvard Gazette is the official news website for Harvard University. It covers important campus community updates; University announcements; innovations in research across science, medicine, politics, global affairs, and more; and it is also a hub for stories from University affiliates. We encourage you to sign up to receive emails from the Harvard Gazette with the latest news. You can dive in further by visiting news.harvard.edu/gazette.

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine is published six times a year. Submit a personal update via harvardmagazine.com/classnotes/submit to see your news published in the Class Notes section of the magazine. To receive the July–August 2023 issue of Harvard Magazine, which will include coverage of your Commencement, please be sure your address is up to date by visiting community.alumni.harvard.edu/person. Class of 2023 copies will be mailed in the last week of June. For more information about Harvard Magazine, visit harvardmagazine.com.

Harvard Library 

Harvard University alumni are welcome to visit Harvard's libraries. All Harvard alumni can apply for a Library Borrowing Card, which comes with on-site access, at no charge. As a student you probably used HOLLIS to access library resources, but as an alum you must use the direct links from https://library.harvard.edu/how-to/use-harvard-library-alum. Links from HOLLIS, search engines, and elsewhere will not work for alumni. You can learn more information at https://guides.library.harvard.edu/alums.


For additional questions, please contact the HAA College Alumni Programs Office at haa_collegealumniprograms@harvard.edu or 617-496-7001 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.

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