Harvard to Host Joint Commencement Ceremony for Classes of 2020, 2021 This Spring


Harvard will host a joint Commencement ceremony for its last two graduating classes this spring, allowing the Classes of 2020 and 2021 to celebrate graduation in person after their exercises were postponed due to the pandemic.

The University will hold the event on the morning of May 29, 2022, with a University-wide gathering in Tercentenary Theatre and programs by each of Harvard’s 12 schools. Both classes will celebrate together in joint ceremonies.

The event will come just three days following the Class of 2022’s Commencement exercises, which are set for May 26.

University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote to affiliates Thursday afternoon that the event will mark “the conclusion of what has been an extraordinarily trying time for all of us with an affirmation of our community’s strength and spirit.”


“I am looking forward to giving you a proper send-off from the heart of Harvard Yard,” Bacow wrote. “Nothing can replace the energy and excitement of being together, and I hope you and your loved ones will be able to join us for what we hope will be a once-in-a-generation event.”

Harvard held virtual graduation ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, pledging to eventually hold an in-person Commencement. Bacow said in a March interview he hoped to make the event with “as much pomp and circumstance” as traditional exercises.

Members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 who require assistance with travel costs to campus can apply for financial aid from the University upon registration for the ceremony, which opens in early 2022.

The University will also offer on-campus accommodations at no charge for graduates returning for the event, subject to availability.

“​​We will endeavor to house all those graduates who request it, but we will be limited by availability and will be unable to guarantee specific locations,” the school’s Commencement website reads.

The University is also working to negotiate group rates at hotels in the area.

All graduates and their guests attending the Commencement Exercises must be fully vaccinated and follow on-campus Covid-19 protocols.

The joint ceremony will be followed by select Harvard and Radcliffe College reunions in person throughout the first week of June. This spring marks the first time class reunions and the annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association will occur in person since 2019.

—Staff writer Jasper G. Goodman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Goodman.

—Staff writer Kelsey J. Griffin can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @kelseyjgriffin.