Harvard University's Honoring the Class of 2021 virtual ceremony was held on May 27, 2021, featuring principal speaker Ruth Simmons, PhD ’73, a leader in higher education, a GSAS alumna, and a recipient of the GSAS Centennial Medal. Following the University's program, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences held the Graduation Recognition Ceremony.
The Harvard COOP is offering Graduate School of Arts and Sciences merchandise for online sales only. Through May 31, 2021, visit the GSAS online store and use discount code GSAS2021 for a 15% discount on all apparel and gifts. (Rings, textbooks, and regalia are excluded.) COOP members receive an additional discount, however other promotions cannot be combined with this offer.
Planning for next year's Commencement activities is ongoing and details will be posted on this page as they become available in the fall. Please contact GSAA if you have questions or concerns.
May 27, 2021 Schedule
10:30 a.m. Honoring the Harvard Class of 2021. The program featured a principal address from Ruth Simmons, PhD ’73, and the conferral of degrees.
1:00 p.m. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Graduation Recognition Ceremony. Dean of Students Sam Bersola emceed the program and introduced the 2021 GSAS Marshals. Dean Emma Dench addressed the graduates and Chair of the Graduate School Alumni Association Council Marianne Steiner, MEN ’78, SM ’78, recognized the four alumni recipients of the 2021 GSAS Centennial Medal. Recognition of individual graduates proceeded by program. Watch the ceremony below or on Youtube.
Order of Programs
Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning
Biological Sciences in Public Health
Population Health Sciences
Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Regional Studies — East Asia
East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Engineering and Applied Sciences
Film and Visual Studies
Germanic Languages and Literatures
History of Art and Architecture
History of Science
Human Evolutionary Biology
Middle Eastern Studies
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Political Economy and Government
Regional Studies — Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia
Romance Languages and Literatures
Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology
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Students who graduated with a PhD or a terminal Master's in the November 2020, March 2021, or May 2021 degree periods were invited to participate in the Graduation Recognition Ceremony and asked to submit their details in advance by May 6. All degree recipients, including Master's in pursuit of a PhD and students receiving an AB/AM or AB/SM, were encouraged to join the University-wide virtual ceremony where their degrees were conferred. Individual recognition for those students is made at the completion of the PhD. All 2020 and 2021 graduates will be invited to participate in the postponed Commencement celebrations.
Ceremonies & Broadcast
The Honoring the Class of 2021 virtual university-wide graduation ceremony was broadcast on harvard.edu on Thursday, May 27, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. EDT. The 2021 GSAS Graduation Recognition Ceremony followed the University-wide program and was broadcast at 1:00 p.m. EDT. It is now available to stream above or on Youtube at your convenience.
University-wide Affinity Graduations
The First-Gen/Next Gen (FGLI+) Graduation Ceremony was held on Sunday, May 23, as an inaugural pre-commencement celebration open to all students and acknowledged graduates who identify as a member of the Next Gen community, including first-generation, lower-income, undocumented, Dacamented, mixed-status household, TPS, and first-gen international undergraduates and graduate students. This inaugural event is part of a pilot initiative to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of graduating First Gen/Next Gen students as well as their contributions to communities at and beyond Harvard. This celebration was sponsored by the Harvard Office for Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Harvard Next Gen Initiative, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Design, Harvard First-Gen Alumni, Harvard Primus, & Harvard Graduate Commons Program.
The Harvard University Lavender Graduation Ceremony was held on Monday, May 24, as an inaugural pre-commencement celebration open to all students and acknowledged graduates who identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. The ceremony included opportunities for student reflections and individual recognition by name and photo presentation. The event also featured welcome remarks from Sherri Charleston, Harvard University Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and the presentation of the inaugural Evelynn Hammonds Award for Exceptional Service to BGLTQ+ Inclusion to Dr. Bruce Churchill and the BGLTQ Treatment Team at Harvard University Health Services. The celebration was sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Office for Diversity, Inclusion & BelongingHarvard Divinity School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Design, & Graduate Commons Program.
The Harvard University Latinx Graduation Ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 25, as a pre-commencement celebration open to all students. This celebration honored Latin American and Latinx heritage and culture and was sponsored by the Harvard Office for Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging & the HGSE Office of Student Affairs.
The Harvard University Black Graduation Ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 25, as a pre-commencement celebration open to all students. This celebration honored African and African American heritage and culture and was sponsored by the Harvard Office for Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging & the HGSE Office of Student Affairs.
Diplomas will be mailed after conferral. For more information and instructions on receiving your diploma, please visit the FAS Registrar site.
Regalia & Stoles
Custom GSAS PhD and Master’s regalia is available for purchase via the Harvard COOP. Please allow at least six weeks for production and delivery.
In place of rented regalia this year, the Harvard Coop offered a special, keepsake gown made from 100 percent post-consumer, recycled materials in the USA which did not require returning the item(s). GSAS was also excited to offer its graduating students the opportunity to order stoles that honor their identities.
2020 GSAS Graduation Recognition Ceremony
On May 28, 2020, Harvard University convened online for the Honoring the Harvard Class of 2020 virtual program and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences followed with a Graduation Recognition Ceremony where each participant's name was read and recognized.
May 28, 2020 Schedule
11:00 a.m. Honoring the Harvard Class of 2020. The program featured Graduate and Undergraduate Orations, remarks from 2020 Commencement Speaker Marty Barron, executive editor of the Washington Post, and conferral of degrees.
12:30 p.m. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Graduation Recognition Ceremony. Dean for Student Affairs Garth McCavana PhD ’90 emceed and introduced the 2020 Commencement Marshals, including Blakely Bussie O’Connor PhD ’20, who spoke on behalf of the graduates. Dean Emma Dench provided remarks and recognized the four alumni recipients of the GSAS Centennial Medal. Reading of the names proceeded by the program.
Ceremonies & Broadcast
The Harvard University Honoring the Harvard Class of 2020 virtual ceremony was broadcast on Harvard.edu on Thursday, May 28, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. EDT (-4 GMT). More details available on the University-wide graduation program website. The GSAS Graduation Recognition Ceremony was broadcast at 12:30 p.m. EDT on gsas.harvard.edu. It is now also available to stream above at your convenience.