What is Commencement?


All university degrees are formally conferred during the Commencement ceremony on Old Campus. The name of every degree candidate has been submitted to the Yale Corporation earlier for approval; during the Old Campus 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.

Candidates for honorary degrees are presented to the president by the provost.

By tradition, the identity of Yale honorands is kept a secret until the day of Commencement. Read more about Yale honorary degrees