Commencement Number Ceremony Date Notes
1 9/23/1642?*             
Harvard News Office indicates 9/23/1642 as the commencement date.
 
More research needed.
 
[See Matthews, Albert, 1860-1946 - Harvard commencement days, 1642-1916 (p 317).] 
 
*Date is based on Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 10/3/1642.           
                
First Harvard Commencement ceremony.
                                                                                                                                  
2 10/1643?
Harvard News Office indicates 10/1643 as the date, but exact date is not documented.
 
More research needed.
 
(See Matthews, Albert, 1860-1946 - Harvard commencement days, 1642-1916 (p 321).
na na Commencement not held.  No eligible graduates in 1644.
3 1645-exact date unknown More research needed.
4 7/28/1646* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/7/1646.
5 7/27/1647* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/6/1647.
6 7/25/1648* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/4/1648.
7 7/31/1649* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/10/1649.
8 7/30/1650* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/9/1650.
9 8/12/1651* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/22/1651.
10 8/10/1652* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/20/1652.
11  8/9-10/1653*?

*Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/19-20/1653.

[See Matthews, Albert, 1860-1946 - Harvard commencement days, 1642-1916 (p 379).]

Two days? More research needed.

12 8/8/1654* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/18/1654.
13 8/14/1655* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/24/1655.
14  8/12/1656* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/22/1656.
15 8/11/1657* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/21/1657.
16 8/10/1658* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/20/1658.
17  8/9/1659* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/19/1659.
18 8/14/1660* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/24/1660.
19 8/13/1661* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/23/1661
20 8/12/1662* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/22/1662.
21 8/11/1663* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/21/1663.
22 8/9/1664* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/19/1664.
23 8/8/1665* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/18/1665.
24 8/14/1666* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/24/1666.
25 8/13/1667* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/23/1667.
26 8/11/1668* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/21/1668.
27 8/10/1669* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/20/1669.
28 8/9/1670* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/19/1670.
29  8/8/1671* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/18/1671.
30 8/13/1672* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/23/1672.
31 8/12/1673* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/22/1673.
32 8/11/1674* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/21/1674.
33 8/10/1675* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/20/1675.
34 8/8/1676* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/18/1676.
35 8/14/1677* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/24/1677.
36 8/13/1678* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/23/1678.
37 8/12/1679* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/22/1679.
38 8/10/1680* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/20/1680.
39 8/9/1681*

*Dated by the Julian calendar.  Gregorian equivalent is 8/19/1681.

During a vacancy in the President’s office, Harvard Fellow Increase Mather presides over Commencement.

40 8/8/1682* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 8/18/1682.   
41 9/12/1683* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 9/22/1683.
42 7/1/1684* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1684.
43 7/1/1685* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1685.
44 7/7/1686* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/17/1686.
45 7/6/1687* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/16/1687.
46 7/4/1688* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/14/1688.
47 9/11/1689* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 9/21/1689.
48 7/2/1690* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The modern Gregorian equivalent is 7/12/1690.
49 7/1/1691* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1691.
50 7/6/1692* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/16/1692.
51 7/5/1693* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/15/1693.
52 7/4/1694* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/14/1694.
53 7/3/1695* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/13/1695.
54 7/1/1696* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1696.
55 7/7/1697* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/17/1697.
56 7/6/1698* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/16/1698.
57 7/5/1699* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/15/1699.
58 7/3/1700* *Dated by the Julian calendar. Gregorian equivalent is 7/13/1700.

 


 

Commencement Number Ceremony Date Comments                                                                                                                                                              
59 7/2/1701* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/12/1701.
60 7/1/1702* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1702.
61 7/7/1703* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/17/1703.
62 7/5/1704* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/15/1704.
63 7/4/1705* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The  Gregorian equivalent is 7/14/1705.
64 7/3/1706* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/13/1706.
65 7/2/1707* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/12/1707.
66 7/7/1708* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/17/1708*.
67 7/6/1709* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/16/1709*.
68 7/5/1710* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/15/1710.
69 7/4/1711* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/14/1711.
70 7/2/1712* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/12/1712.
71 7/1/1713* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1713.
72 7/7/1714* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/17/1714.
73 8/31/1715* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 9/10/1715.
74 7/4/1716* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/14/1716.
75 7/3/1717* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/13/1717.
76 7/2/1718* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/12/1718.
77 7/1/1719* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1719.
78 7/6/1720* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/16/1720.
79 6/28/1721*

*Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/8/1721.  

From Tolman - Commencement held privately due to Small Pox.

80 7/4/1722* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/14/1722.
81 7/3/1723* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/13/1723.
82 7/1/1724*

*Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1724.         

During a vacancy in the President’s office, Fellow* Henry Flynt and Tutor Nicholas Sever preside over Commencement.

83 7/7/1725*

*Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/17/1725.  

Benjamin Wadsworth, Class of 1690, AM 1693, is formally installed as Harvard’s eighth President.

84 7/6/1726* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/16/1725.
85 6/30/1727* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/10/1727.
86 6/28/1728* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/8/1728.
87 6/27/1729* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/7/1729.
88 6/24/1730*

*Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/4/1730.                         

College dismissed on account of Small Pox.

89 6/25/1731* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/5/1731.
90 6/23/1732* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/3/1732.
91 6/29/1733* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/9/1733.
92 7/5/1734* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/5/1734.
93 7/4/1735* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/4/1735.
94 7/7/1736* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/7/1736.
95 7/6/1737*

*Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/6/1737.                  

During a vacancy in the President’s office, Fellows* Henry Flynt and Nathan Prince preside over Commencement.

96 7/5/1738* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/5/1738.
97 7/4/1739* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/4/1739.
98 8/27/1740*

*Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 9/6/1740.  

Commencement postponed to later in summer of 1740 due to diphtheria contagion.

99 7/1/1741* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1741.
100 7/7/1742* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/17/1742.
101 7/6/1743* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/16/1743.
102 7/4/1744* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/14/1744.
103 7/3/1745* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/13/1745.
104 7/2/1746* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/12/1746.
105 7/1/1747* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The  Gregorian equivalent is 7/11/1747.
106 7/6/1748* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/16/1748.
107 6/30/1749* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/10/1749.
108 7/4/1750* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/14/1750.
109 7/3/1751* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/13/1751.
na none Commencement not held. Degrees conferred without personal attendance because of Small Pox. General diploma is dated 7/1/1752.
110 7/18/1753* *Dated by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian equivalent is 7/28/1753.
111 7/17/1754  
112 7/16/1755  
113 7/14/1756  
na none

Due to war, drought, famine, and small pox, public commencement (scheduled for 7/13/1757) was canceled and rescheduled and then finally cancelled for good on June 17, 1757.

(Confusing and conflicting info about this. More research needed.)

114 7/19/1758  
115 7/18/1759  
116 7/16/1760 The Corporation forbids dancing during Commencement Week either in the College-Hall or Chapel.
117 7/15/1761  
118 7/21/1762  
119 7/20/1763  
na none Due to several issues, including a small pox contagion, public commencement was canceled. Degrees conferred without personal attendance. General diploma is dated 7/18/1764.
120 7/17/1765
121 7/16/1766  
122 7/15/1767  
123 7/20/1768  
124 7/19/1769  
125 7/18/1770  
126 7/17/1771  
127 7/15/1772  
128 7/21/1773 During a vacancy in the President’s office, Fellow John Winthrop, the Hollis Prof. of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, presides over Commencement.
na none British-Colonial hostilties prompt the Corporation to suspend public Commencement. Degrees conferred  without personal attendance on 7/20/1774.
na none British-Colonial hostilties prompt the Corporation to suspend public Commencement. Degrees conferred  without personal attendance on 10/3/1775.
na none British-Colonial hostilties prompt the Corporation to suspend public Commencement. Degrees conferred  without personal attendance on 8/14/1776.
na none British-Colonial hostilties and small pox outbreak prompt the Corporation to suspend public Commencement. Degrees conferred  without personal attendance on 7/16/1777.
na none British-Colonial hostilties and small pox outbreak prompt the Corporation to suspend public Commencement. Degrees conferred  without personal attendance on 7/15/1778.
129 6/18/1779?

Boston Gazette states the ceremony occurred on 6/18/1779. But, official degrees officially conferred on 7/21/1779.                                                                                                                                 

More research on this needed.

na none British-Colonial hostilties prompt the Corporation to suspend public Commencements. Degrees conferred  without personal attendance on 7/19/1780.
130 7/18/1781 Commencement Exercises are “opened by an anthem performed by a collegiate band of musicians” in what proves to be the earliest recorded instance of concerted music-making among Harvard undergraduates.
131 7/17/1782  
132 7/16/1783  
133 7/21/1784  
134 7/20/1785  
135 7/19/1786  
136 7/18/1787  
137 7/16/1788  
138 7/15/1789  
139 7/21/1790  
140 7/20/1791  
141 7/18/1792  
142 7/17/1793 Samuel Holyoke (1762-1820), Class of 1789, composes the Commencement anthem “Make a Joyful Noise” (Psalm 98) at the request of John Pierce (1773-1849), Class of 1793.
143 7/16/1794  
144 7/15/1795  
145 7/20/1796  
146 7/19/1797  
147 7/18/1798  
148 7/17/1799 President Joseph Willard gives a Commencement address in English—the earliest known case in which a Harvard President addresses a Commencement crowd in the native tongue.
149 7/16/1800  

 

Commencement Number Ceremony Date Notes
150 7/15/1801                                                                                                                                                                    
151 8/25/1802  
152 8/31/1803  
153 8/29/1804  
154 8/28/1805  
155 8/27/1806  
156 8/26/1807  
157 8/31/1808  
158 8/30/1809  
159 8/29/1810  
160 8/28/1811  
161 8/26/1812  
162 8/25/1813 For the first time, Harvard distributes diplomas at Commencement.
163 8/31/1814  
164 8/30/1815  
165 8/28/1816  
166 8/27/1817  
167 8/26/1818  
168 8/25/1819  
169 8/30/1820  
170 8/29/1821  
171 8/28/1822  
172 8/27/1823  
173 8/25/1824  
174 8/31/1825  
175 8/30/1826  
176 8/29/1827  
177 8/27/1828  
178 8/26/1829 At Commencement, Josiah Quincy is formally installed as President. For the last time at a Harvard Commencement, the Governor of the Commonwealth and the President of the University greet each other in Latin.
179 8/25/1830  
180 8/31/1831  
181 8/29/1832  
182 8/28/1833  
183 8/27/1834  
184 8/26/1835  
185 8/31/1836  
186 8/30/1837  
187 8/29/1838  
188 8/28/1839  
189 8/26/1840  
190 8/25/1841  
191 8/24/1842  
192 8/23/1843  
193 8/28/1844  
194 8/27/1845  
195 8/26/1846  
196 8/25/1847  
197 8/23/1848  
198 7/18/1849  
199 7/17/1850  
200 7/16/1851  
201 7/21/1852  
202 7/20/1853  
203 7/19/1854  
204 7/18/1855  
205 7/16/1856  
206 7/15/1857  
207 7/21/1858  
208 7/20/1859  
209 7/18/1860  
210 7/17/1861  
211 7/16/1862  
212 7/15/1863  
213 7/20/1864  
214 7/19/1865 In the wake of the Act of April 28, 1865, the Governor of Massachusetts presides over the Harvard Board of Overseers for the last time. To this day, however, the Governor remains a regular guest at Commencement.
215 7/18/1866  
216 7/17/1867  
217 7/15/1868  
218 6/29/1869 Harvard begins regularly holding Commencement in June. The change was adopted during the administration of President Thomas Hill, who stepped down on Sept. 30, 1868.
219 6/28/1870 Presiding over his first Commencement, Charles Eliot declares, “We mean to build here, securely and slowly, a university in the largest sense.”
220 6/28/1871  
221 6/26/1872  
222 6/25/1873  
223 6/24/1874 On the day before Commencement, the University dedicates Memorial Hall* to the Harvard students and graduates who died for the Union in the Civil War.
224 6/30/1875 President Ulysses S. Grant awarded honorary degree.
225 6/28/1876  
226 6/27/1877  
227 6/26/1878  
228 6/25/1879  
229 6/30/1880  
230 6/29/1881  
231 6/28/1882  
232 6/27/1883  
233 6/25/1884  
234 6/24/1885  
235 6/30/1886  
236 6/29/1887  
237 6/27/1888  
238 6/26/1889  
239 6/25/1890  
240 6/24/1891  
241 6/29/1892  
242 6/28/1893  
243 6/27/1894  
244 6/26/1895  
245 6/24/1896  
246 6/30/1897  
247 6/29/1898  
248 6/28/1899  
249 6/27/1900 Harvard begins the practice of not granting honorary degrees in absentia and of keeping the names of honorands secret until Commencement Day.

 

Harvard Commencement Dates, 1901-2000

Commencement Number Ceremony Date Notes
250 6/26/1901                                                                                                                                                                                    
251 6/25/1902  
252 6/24/1903  
253 6/29/1904  
254 6/28/1905  
255 6/27/1906  
256 6/26/1907  
257 6/24/1908  
258 6/30/1909  
259 6/29/1910
260 6/28/1911  
261 6/20/1912  
262 6/19/1913  
263 6/18/1914  
264 6/24/1915 The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library is dedicated on Commencement Day as donor Eleanor Widener, mother of the namesake (lost aboard the Titanic), presents the library key to President Lowell. Library staff start moving in that afternoon.
265 6/22/1916 Harvard holds Commencement outdoors for the first time - in Harvard Stadium.
266 6/20/1917  
267 6/20/1918  
268 6/19/1919 Speaking on the afternoon of Commencement day, Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge calls education the nation’s biggest industry and the one that yields the largest dividends, and says citizens must be prepared to pay market price for "marked intellectual ability and teaching power.”
269 6/24/1920  
270 6/23/1921  
271 6/22/1922 For the first time, Harvard holds Commencement in Sever Quadrangle.
272 6/21/1923  
273 6/19/1924  
274 6/18/1925  
275 6/24/1926  
276 6/23/1927  
277 6/21/1928  
278 6/20/1929  
279 6/19/1930  
280 6/18/1931  
281 6/23/1932  
282 6/22/1933  
283 6/21/1934  
284 6/20/1935  
285 6/18/1936  
286 6/24/1937  
287 6/23/1938  
288 6/22/1939  
289 6/20/1940  
290 6/19/1941 On Commencement Day, Harvard hosts a historic convocation. Immediately following the Commencement exercises, honorand Lord Halifax, chancellor of Oxford University and British ambassador to the United States, presides over the first Oxford Convocation ever held on American soil. Its purpose was to present an honorary doctor of civil laws degree in absentia to President Franklin D. Roosevelt ’04 [’03], detained in Washington by illness.
291 6/11/1942 Corporation Secretary Jerome D. Greene, Class of 1896, announces that Commencement Day will be moved from June 18 to June 11, to create more of a breather between the end of the regular wartime academic year and the new summer term that begins on June 29.
292 6/12/1943  
293 6/29/1944  
294 6/28/1945  
295 6/6/1946  
296 6/5/1947  
297 6/10/1948  
298 6/23/1949  
299 6/22/1950  
300 6/21/1951  
301 6/19/1952  
302 6/11/1953  
303 6/17/1954  
304 6/16/1955  
305 6/14/1956  
306 6/13/1957  
307 6/12/1958  
308 6/11/1959  
309 6/16/1960  
310 6/15/1961  
311 6/14/1962  
312 6/13/1963  
313 6/11/1964  
314 6/17/1965  
315 6/16/1966  
316 6/15/1967  
317 6/13/1968  
318 6/12/1969  
319 6/11/1970  
320 6/17/1971  
321 6/15/1972  
322 6/14/1973  
323 6/13/1974  
324 6/12/1975  
325 6/17/1976  
326 6/16/1977  
327 6/8/1978  
328 6/7/1979  
329 6/5/1980  
330 6/4/1981  
331 6/10/1982  
332 6/9/1983  
333 6/7/1984  
334 6/6/1985  
335 6/5/1986  
336 6/11/1987  
337 6/9/1988  
338 6/8/1989  
339 6/7/1990  
340 6/6/1991  
341 6/4/1992  
342 6/10/1993  
343 6/9/1994  
344 6/8/1995  
345 6/6/1996  
346 6/5/1997  
347 6/4/1998  
348 6/10/1999  
349 6/8/2000  

 

Harvard Commencement Dates, 2001-

Commencement Number Ceremony Date Notes

350

6/7/2001                                                                                                                                                                         
351 6/6/2002  
352 6/5/2003  
353 6/10/2004  
354 6/9/2005  
355 6/8/2006  
356 6/7/2007  
357 6/5/2008  
358 6/4/2009  
359 5/27/2010  
360 5/26/2011  
361 5/24/2012  
362 5/30/2013  
363 5/29/2014  
364 5/28/2015  
365 5/26/2016  
366 5/25/2017  
367 5/24/2018  
368 5/30/2019  
369 5/28/2020 Coronovirus contagion closes HU schools, facilities, and campus from 3/16/2020. Commencement ceremonies to be held and observed online on May 28, 2020.