A guide for family, friends, and students

Calendar of Events

Please read below for information about major Commencement 2016 exercises and events.

Yale College Baccalaureate ceremonies

Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22
(dates and times assigned by residential college; see schedule below)

Woolsey Hall, corner of College and Grove Streets

Since Yale’s first century, Yale College seniors and faculty have gathered on the Sunday before Commencement for the Baccalaureate ceremony, a ceremony with a Baccalaureate sermon at its heart. The sermon of days past has given way to an address by Yale’s president, although religious overtures remain with the participation of the university chaplain and the singing of hymns and an anthem. Of the three main events of Commencement weekend – Baccalaureate, Class Day, and Commencement – Baccalaureate is the most formal.

Seniors and their guests are assigned to one of the three services based on residential college affiliation. Students wear academic regalia and process from Cross Campus to Woolsey Hall, located on the corner of Grove and College Streets. The wheelchair-accessible entrance to Woolsey Hall is via Wall Street and Beinecke Plaza.

Saturday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m.
Morse, Pierson, Saybrook, and Timothy Dwight Colleges

Sunday, May 22 at 9:30 a.m.
Berkeley, Calhoun, Davenport, and Ezra Stiles Colleges

Sunday, May 22 at 11:00 a.m.
Branford, Jonathan Edwards, Silliman, and Trumbull Colleges

Yale College Class Day

Sunday, May 22 at 2:00 p.m.
Old Campus

Class Day, a Yale College tradition, takes place on Old Campus on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., and includes the awarding of academic, artistic, and athletic prizes; the celebration of undergraduates; and an address by a notable speaker. Seniors wear academic gowns with headgear of choice and process from Cross Campus to Old Campus. A colorful, informal event, Class Day lasts approximately two hours and takes place outdoors rain or shine.

University Commencement

Monday, May 23 at 10:30 a.m. 
Old Campus

All university degrees are formally conferred during the Commencement ceremony on Old Campus. During the ceremony, the dean of Yale College and deans of 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. The ceremony lasts approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

Diploma Ceremonies

(for Yale College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and professional schools)
Monday, May 23 at noon, or immediately following University Commencement
Locations to be announced

Diploma ceremonies for Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools usually take place immediately after university Commencement on Monday. These ceremonies last approximately two hours, and an optional Commencement luncheon follows in each of the residential colleges.

Rain Locations

Please click here to see the Rain Locations for different ceremonies.

A full Calendar of Events for Commencement 2016 will be posted in early spring. To get a sense of all of the events and activities that Commencement weekend includes, you may wish to look at last year’s Commencement schedule, archived here