Commencement Events

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Multireligious Commencement Service for the Class of 2017

4 pm in Memorial Church (Harvard Yard)

The Divinity School's Multireligious Commencement Service for the Class of 2017 will take place on Wednesday, May 24, at 4 pm in the Memorial Church, Harvard Yard. Family and friends are welcome. Tickets are not required. Any graduating student interested in helping to plan this service should email Kerry Maloney in February 2017.

The HDS faculty speaker will be Stephanie Paulsell, Susan Shallcross Swartz Professor of the Practice of Christian Studies.

A video of the service will be available on the Harvard Divinity School website in the days following the event.

Class of 2017 Photo

5:30 pm on the front steps of Memorial Church (Harvard Yard)

Following the Multireligious Commencement Service for the Class of 2017, a class photograph will be taken on the steps of the Memorial Church or, if it is raining, at the front of the building by the chancel. Information on how to purchase a copy of this photo will be sent to you by GradImages. You may also contact them at 800.424.3686.

Commencement Reception

5:30–7 pm, Tent, HDS Campus Green

Following the class photo, refreshments will be served from 5:30 to 7 pm under the tent on the HDS Campus Green, located between Andover-Harvard Theological Library and Andover Hall, for graduating students and their families and for HDS faculty and staff. All are welcome to attend; tickets are not required.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Commencement Day

Dean's Breakfast for Graduating Students

6:45–7:40 am, HDS Campus Green

HDS graduates should come to the tent on the HDS Campus Green (or, in case of rain, the Braun Room) no later than 7 am on Commencement morning.

6:45 am: Dean's Breakfast for Graduating Students  (under the tent on the HDS Campus Green; if it is raining, we meet in the Braun Room in Andover Hall)
7:35 am: The class marshals are: Melissa Coles, MDiv candidate; Siobhan Kelly, MTS candidate; and David Price, MDiv candidate; they will assist graduates in forming a procession with HDS faculty, which will leave the HDS Campus Green at 7:40 am.
8:05 am: The HDS student procession will gather in the Sever Quadrangle. The Commencement Office has requested that graduates not go directly to the Sever Quadrangle individually. From Sever, graduates will proceed to the Tercentenary Theatre for the Morning Exercises.

Please bring your Harvard ID, which will be required for you to gain access to Harvard Yard. Graduating students are strongly encouraged not to bring any bags, coats, or other items, or to leave them with one of their guests, as storage space will not be available at HDS, Tercentenary Theatre, or Memorial Church during Commencement activities.

Morning Exercises

9:45 am: Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard Yard

President Drew Faust will confer degrees at the 9:45 am Morning Exercises.

All degree candidates must wear academic regalia (cap and gown) to the Commencement Morning Exercises.

The Morning Exercises, which convene in the outdoor Tercentenary Theatre, are attended by approximately 32,000 degree candidates, family members, faculty, alumni, and guests. Because of limited seating capacity, this is a ticketed event, and those without a ticket will not be admitted.

Information for families and guests attending the Morning Exercises

The gates to enter Tercentenary Theatre will open at 6:45 am on Commencement morning. Parents and guests of degree candidates who have tickets to attend the Morning Exercises should plan their arrival accordingly. The lines in front of the Harvard Yard gates start forming as early as 5 am on Commencement Day. All guests will be required to show their tickets at the gates in order to enter Tercentenary Theatre. Guests should be seated by 8:30 am for the start of the academic procession, which begins at 8:50 am. Tickets to the Morning Exercises do not guarantee seating; please plan to arrive early, because there will be tens of thousands of people trying to get the best seats, or even just a chair to sit in!

For more about tickets, see the Ticket Information page.

PLEASE NOTE: All persons, bags, and personal items are subject to inspection before entering Harvard Yard. No backpacks of any type will be admitted. No bag or item larger than 12" x 12”x 12” will be permitted inside the Yard.

Diploma Awarding Ceremony

12:30 pm, HDS Campus Green

The Harvard Divinity School Diploma Awarding Ceremony will begin at 12:30 pm under the tent on the HDS Campus Green following the Morning Exercises. Graduates will be seated in alphabetical order and by degree program. The student speaker will be David Price, MDiv candidate. Dress for the ceremony is academic robe, headgear, and hood. Seating for guests is open, and tickets are not required. 

Commencement Luncheon

Immediately following the Diploma Ceremony, Andover Lawn

The Commencement Luncheon is held from 1:30 to 3 pm. Lunches will be available in Room 103 of Andover Hall and the Rockefeller Hall Lounge. Both locations will have all lunch options available. Kosher and specially ordered meals will be availabel for pick up in Room 200 of Andover Hall. Seating for the luncheon will be available indoors in the Rock Café, Braun Room, Sperry Room, Room 102 of Andover Hall, as well as outdoors on Andover Lawn and under the tent on the HDS Campus Green.

Tickets are required for the Commencement Luncheon. Please be sure to pick up your pre-ordered luncheon before 2:45 pm on Commencement Day.

The website for pre-ordering lunches for guests, friends, and visitors will be open until 5 pm on Friday, May 12, 2017.

Order lunch for guests, friends, and visitors

Every graduating student will receive one complimentary luncheon selection for themselves via a separate website. The link will be emailed to the graduating student in April/May.  

Please pick up your pre-ordered lunch tickets from the Registrar's Office (for students and guests) or the Dean's Office (if you are a member of the faculty or staff) by Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Should you prefer to have lunch at a restaurant in Harvard Square or Cambridge, please make your reservations as early as possible! Every restaurant in the vicinity of Harvard Square will be completely booked with long lines on that day. Read more about restaurants in Harvard Square.

Afternoon Exercises

2:30–4 pm, Harvard Yard

Following the luncheon, graduates and guests are invited to return to Harvard Yard for the Alumni Association program, from 2:30 to 4 pm, during which Harvard's President and the featured Commencement speaker deliver their addresses. Tickets are required for the Afternoon Exercises and will be available from the Registrar's Office in mid-May. Each student will receive three free tickets. Tickets do not guarantee seating; graduates will need a ticket to gain entrance to the Afternoon Exercises.

Commencement Tea

4–6 pm, Common Room, Center for the Study of World Religions

Faculty, fellows, staff, graduating students, and their families are invited to attend the Commencement Tea hosted by Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity, Professor of Comparative Theology, and Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, and the CSWR staff, in the courtyard of the Center for the Study of World Religions, 42 Francis Avenue, from 4 to 6 pm. Tickets are not required.