A guide to celebrating and sharing Yale’s 317th Commencement

A group of Yale students gathering around a sculpture on campus in their graduation caps and gowns.

Yale will celebrate its 317th Commencement with three days of activities Saturday-Monday, May 19-21.

The weekend will be filled with traditional rites and ceremonies, including a Baccalaureate Address by President Peter Salovey and Yale College Dean Marvin Chun; a Class Day address by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ’73 J.D.; a university-wide Commencement ceremony on Old Campus; individual diploma ceremonies in the residential colleges and graduate and professional schools; and a joint commissioning ceremony for students who have completed their ROTC training.

This year’s Commencement ceremony will feature a new twist: live commentary during the procession onto Old Campus by Penelope Laurans, former head of Jonathan Edwards College and senior adviser at the university.

Live streaming and social media sharing

Whether you’re on campus or unable to attend in person, you can enjoy festivities online. In addition, you can follow events on social media and share your own images and tweets. Here’s how:

  • Watch Class Day and Commencement ceremonies live on the Yale YouTube channel.
  • Follow Yale on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for images and stories about the weekend’s activities.
  • Use the hashtag #Yale2018 on Twitter and on Instagram to share your photos and impressions.
  • Follow @Yale for live tweets from Class Day and Commencement.
  • Email photos you’d like to share on the Yale Facebook page to [email protected].
  • Download images of Commencement 2018 taken by Yale photographers during and after the weekend on our Flickr page.
Yale students in caps and gowns cheering at graduation.

Baccalaureate service

Graduating seniors, their friends, and families are invited to attend the Yale College Baccalaureate at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (for students in Trumbull, Silliman, Branford, and Jonathan Edwards colleges); at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday (for students in Morse, Timothy Dwight, Saybrook, Pierson, and Pauli Murray colleges); or at 11 a.m. on Sunday (for students in Berkeley, Hopper, Davenport, Ezra Stiles, and Benjamin Franklin colleges). The ceremony features remarks by President Salovey and Yale College Dean Marvin Chun. It will take place in Woolsey Hall, northwest corner of Grove and College streets.

Class Day exercises

Topping their academic robes with creative headgear is a longstanding undergraduate tradition on Senior Class Day, which is taking place on Old Campus on Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m. The featured speaker at the ceremony will be Hillary Clinton ’73 J.D., former First Lady, U.S. senator, U.S. secretary of state, and presidential candidate.

Class Day also includes such traditions as the planting of the Class Ivy, reciting of the Ivy Ode, awarding of top academic and athletic prizes to students, and the singing of Yale’s alma mater, “Bright College Years,” while waving a white handkerchief.

Watch Class Day exercises in real-time here.

University commencement

All Yale degrees are formally conferred during the Commencement ceremony on Old Campus, which will take place on Monday, May 21 at 10:30 a.m. During the ceremony, the deans of Yale College and the graduate and professional schools formally present their approved candidates to the president. The president, in turn, confers the degrees and admits new graduates to each degree’s “rights and responsibilities.” Student marshals from each residential college and school accept symbolic diplomas from the president on behalf of their colleagues. Smaller degree-granting ceremonies are then held at all the schools and residential colleges.

Watch the Commencement ceremony in real-time here.

ROTC joint commissioning ceremony

The Joint Military Commissioning Ceremony honoring the graduates of Air Force and Naval ROTC on Monday, May 21 at 4:30 p.m. in  Battell Chapel, 400 College St. Former Ambassador Ryan Crocker will be the featured speaker. A reception will follow at The Graduate Club, 155 Elm Street, New Haven, CT. RSVP to [email protected]

Other weekend activities

Commencement weekend will also include receptions, performances, and other special events. For a complete list of activities and for tips and information, visit Yale’s Commencement website. You can also download the Yale 2018 app, which features information about what’s happening and how to get there.

Campus & Community

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