Thursday, May 24, 2012 – 9:00 AM
Welcome to the 361th Harvard Commencement. Although Harvard’s first Commencement in 1642 is more than 370 years behind us, Commencement numbering has fallen out of step as exercises were omitted for reasons ranging from war to plague. The cumulative effect is that 2012, for example, marks only the 361th Harvard Commencement.
Commencement at Harvard is comprised of three components: the ceremonial Morning Exercises, during which University degrees are conferred; the mid-day luncheons and diploma-awarding ceremonies at the undergraduate Houses, Graduate and Professional Schools; and the afternoon Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association, during which Harvard’s president and the featured Commencement speaker deliver their addresses.
The Morning Exercises, which convene in the outdoor Tercentenary Theatre, are attended by approximately 32,000 degree candidates, family members, faculty, alumni/ae, and guests.