Virtual Commencement 2020

Brightly colored graphic announcing Virtual Commencement on May 28, 2020

Important information for Commencement 2020

In March, Harvard University announced that celebrations honoring the graduating Class of 2020 this May would not be held in person. While the University remains committed to holding an in-person celebration for our 2020 graduates in the future, Harvard will come together virtually to honor the graduation of the Class of 2020 and to confer their hard-earned degrees this Thursday, May 28, 2020, with activities beginning at 10:30 AM EST. Harvard will live stream this virtual ceremony, and after, each School (including the GSD) will host their own online ceremony.

The GSD’s Award Ceremony, Class Day Address, and Diploma Ceremony will begin at 12:30 PM EST, and will be broadcast live on the school’s YouTube channel. For students and families who experience difficulty accessing YouTube, please visit this concurrent livestream. No registration will be required to view the program. Social Hours for graduates and guests will happen separately over Zoom and Remo.


11:00 AM: Harvard University program for all graduates, including official conferral of degrees
Tune in early at 10:30 for a pre-show countdown

12:30 PM: GSD Awards Ceremony
Tune in early at 12:15 for a pre-show performance by the Boston Brass Ensemble

1:10 PM (approx.): Class Day Address by artist Jenny Odell

1:45 PM (approx.): GSD Diploma Ceremony
Followed by TIN CAN, a short film by artist Mikel Patrick Avery and featuring the New Orleans-based Trendsetter Brass Band

3:30 PM: Department and program toasts to graduates

  • 3:30 pm: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, Design Engineering
  • 4:00 pm: Design Studies, Doctoral graduates
    Doctoral graduates are also invited to join the event for their primary affiliated department.
    Graduates received emails with log-in information to share with their guests.

*All times are Eastern Daylight (EDT) time zone.

In addition to ceremonies and social events, the Commencement Exhibition is another important part of our graduation celebrations, showcasing work by our graduating students. This year, the exhibition is online, and officially opened the morning of Commencement Day, May 28.


If you have a question about Commencement 2020, please contact [email protected].

You may also wish to view the university-wide Commencement site.


What’s Next?

Alumni engagement

After Commencement, graduates become part of the worldwide Harvard community of alumni. Alumni are encouraged to register to maintain their connections with classmates and professional contacts. To learn more, see the GSD Alumni Resources page, and the Harvard Alumni Association website.

Alumni can also continue to access some aspects of Harvard’s libraries. The Frances Loeb Library has a page with information on library use for GSD alumni.

Your Harvard email account will have a grace period before it is deactivated, but be aware that some Harvard services will be unavailable or limited after your official date of graduation and separation from the university. Ensure you have materials you may need from Canvas or my.Harvard in advance of graduating.

Future Years

If you are planning ahead for a future Harvard Commencement, these are the dates for the next several years. All Thursday dates are for Commencement Day itself, including the GSD’s Diploma Ceremony. All Wednesday dates are for the GSD’s Class Day activities.

2021: Wednesday, May 26 & Thursday, May 27
2022: Wednesday, May 25 & Thursday, May 26
2023: Wednesday, May 24 & Thursday, May 25
2024: Wednesday, May 22 & Thursday, May 23
2025: Wednesday, May 28 & Thursday, May 29
2026: Wednesday, May 27 & Thursday, May 28

Note that in 2020, 2025 and 2026, Commencement occurs during the same week as the Memorial Day holiday.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].