Yale will celebrate Commencement 2021 from May 21 to 24 in a series of ceremonies recognizing the achievements of more than 3,500 graduates across the university.
Spread across four days, the events — some in person, some online only — will incorporate many longtime customs familiar to generations of Yalies while accounting for the exceptional circumstances of the past year and adhering to public health guidelines. The rigorous choreography allowing schools and residential colleges to gather graduates in person involves necessary limits on duration and group size, as well as social distancing requirements.
For Yale College graduates, an Old Campus ceremony on Saturday, May 22, will draw on elements of four traditional events: the undergraduate Baccalaureate service and diploma ceremonies, Yale College Class Day, and university Commencement exercises. Designed with input from the Class of 2021, the ceremony will give all graduates the opportunity to walk across the stage as their names are read aloud. (Graduates will attend one of three assigned ceremonies, based on their residential college affiliation.) The full Class Day ceremony will take place May 23 through virtual programming on the Yale 2021 website, with Robert Lopez ’97, the Emmy-, Grammy-, Oscar-, and Tony-award-winning songwriter, as the featured speaker.
All in-person ceremonies will be for graduates only; in deference to the public health, no guests are permitted to attend. Families and friends are invited to watch livestream videos and additional programming available on the Yale 2021 site, which will launch May 20 with a full schedule of events.
Events for the schools of drama and music will be entirely virtual, including the School of Music’s annual Commencement Concert on May 23. It will present performances recorded throughout the year.
“Each of these events celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating students and
recognize the unique experience of the Class of 2021, while connecting them to the 319 classes that came before,” said Kimberly Goff-Crews, secretary and vice president for university life at Yale.
Read below for the full schedule, more information about how to be involved virtually, and health and safety guidelines. Detailed information about specific ceremonies can be found at the Yale 2021 website or directly from the relevant school or its website.