What is Class Day?


Yale College Class Day originated in the 19th century, when the entire graduating class—fewer than 100 students—gathered in a circle on Old Campus to share memories of their time at Yale. Today, the ceremony includes speeches and reflections by members of the class; the awarding of top academic, artistic, and athletic prizes; and the celebration of longstanding traditions including the Class Ivy, the clay churchwarden pipe, and the singing of  “Bright College Years.” Class Day, which takes place the Sunday before Commencement, features a notable speaker chosen with undergraduates’ input. Class Day speakers have included Senator Cory Booker; television journalists Fareed Zakaria, Barbara Walters, and Anderson Cooper; Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power; authors Christopher Buckley, Thomas Wolfe, and Chimamanda Adichie; Secretaries of State John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton; actors Jodie Foster and Tom Hanks; Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein; and U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden. A list of previous Class Day speakers can be found here.