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.
In order to accommodate all seniors and their guests, the ceremony is repeated three times: at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. Sunday. Each ceremony lasts one hour.
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.