On Sunday, May 29, 2022, the Graduate School of Design will host Commencement for the Classes of 2020 and 2021.

Overview

Harvard University and the Graduate School of Design will celebrate the resilient recent graduates who experienced one-of-a-kind virtual graduation ceremonies but were unable to participate in traditional, on-campus Harvard University Commencement exercises due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saturday, May 28

  • 4:00-6:00 p.m. Lanyard pick-up at Gund Hall

Sunday, May 29, Commencement Day:

  • 8:00 a.m. Harvard Yard University-wide Special Commencement Ceremony
  • 10:30 a.m. Graduate School of Design Special Commencement Ceremony
  • 1:00 p.m. Lunch for GSD graduates and guests
  • 7:00 p.m. Beer N Dogs for the Classes of 2020 and 2021

COVID-19 Attestation and Protocols

COVID-19 transmission is rated as “high” in Boston and Cambridge. Please use this knowledge as you plan your commencement activities.

By registering to participate in Commencement, all graduates and their guests agree to:

  • Abide by all state, local, and University COVID-19 guidelines and protocols in place at the time you come to campus
  • Understand that the University strongly encourages all guests to be fully vaccinated and boosted (if eligible) and if unvaccinated to complete a COVID-19 (PCR or antigen) test before arriving on campus.
  • Get tested every day that you have a scheduled event, even if you are not experiencing symptoms.
    • Rapid antigen tests are widely available at area pharmacies.
    • Harvard’s Color PCR testing is still available. We encourage those enrolled in this program to continue using it, in addition to rapid tests.
  • If you test positive, do not attend commencement events during your isolation period.
    • After testing positive, adhere to the 5-day home isolation guidance.
    • For the full 10 days, follow strict masking and do not drink or dine in proximity to other people.
    • Visit the Keep Harvard Healthy website for more information.
  • If you have symptoms, no matter how mild, please do not attend commencement events – even if you test negative.
  • For indoor and crowded outdoor events, wear a high-quality mask that fits securely without air gaps around your nose and mouth. See mask guidance here.
  • If attending events that involve unmasking to eat or drink, minimize any unmasked mingling and mask up whenever you can.

All graduates and guests will be required to wear masks when inside GSD campus buildings. Masks may be briefly removed to eat, drink, or pose for photography.

The University will continue to actively monitor public health conditions and communicate expectations and guidelines to graduates and guests participating in Commencement.

Information for Graduates

Detailed Schedule

While some times may be subject to change, the detailed schedule for Commencement is below.

Please note that registration is required for graduates and their guests in order to participate in Harvard and the GSD’s Commencement activities.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

  • 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Lanyard/Yard Ceremony Credential Pick-up / Druker Design Gallery, Gund Hall
    • 4:00 p.m. Informal tour of Gund Hall led by Kevin Liu MDes ’21

Sunday, May 29, 2022

  • TBD Harvard Yard gates open to ticketed guests / Harvard Yard
    • Please visit the University Commencement website to learn more about what to expect during the University-wide Special Commencement Ceremony, including policies on tickets, bag inspection, strollers, etc.
  • 6:30 a.m. Light continental breakfast (coffee, water, granola bars) available for GSD graduates / Gund Hall
  • 6:30 a.m. Graduates line up for procession / Gund Hall
  • 6:45 a.m. Graduates begin procession / Gund Hall
    • If Graduates are not in this procession line, they will be unable to participate to sit with their class during the University-wide Special Ceremony
  • 7:00 a.m. Academic Procession into Tercentenary Theatre
  • 8:00 a.m. University-wide Special Commencement Ceremony begins / Harvard Yard, Tercentenary Theatre
  • 9:30 a.m. Gund Hall backyard tent opens to ticketed guests for GSD Diploma Ceremony / Gund Hall back yard
    • QR codes will be scanned for guests with tickets. Those without tickets will be directed to a standing room line which will open up once the majority of guests with tickets have been seated.
  • 10:00 a.m.* University-wide Special Commencement Ceremony ends / Harvard Yard, Tercentenary Theatre
  • 10:30 a.m.* Graduate School of Design Special Commencement Ceremony begins / Gund Hall back yard
    • Ceremony will include an address by Jeanne Gang MArch ’93 (read more)
  • 1:00 p.m.* Lunch for GSD graduates and guests following Special Commencement Ceremony / throughout Gund Hall
    • Photobooth and gift pick-up, courtesy of Alumni Relations / The Pit
    • 2:00 p.m. Informal tour of Gund Hall led by Kevin Liu MDes ’21
    • 3:00 p.m. Informal tour of Gund Hall led by Kevin Liu MDes ’21
  • 7:00 p.m. Beer n Dogs for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 (Graduates only) / Gund Hall back yard
    • This event is organized through a collaboration between the Office of Student Affairs, Development and Alumni Relations, and ’20 and ’21 Class Marshals

* These times are approximate, as they are contingent on when the University-wide Special Commencement Ceremony ends. Graduates and guests can expect activities to start roughly at the times that are listed above, but please expect slight delays.

Registration

2020 and 2021 graduates will receive information on registration from the Harvard Alumni Association and GSD Alumni Relations via email. This webpage and the Harvard University Commencement webpage will be updated frequently with updated information. The deadline to register for Commencement is Friday, May 20 at 11:59 pm ET.

If you are not receiving messages from the HAA or GSD, please ensure your contact information and email subscription preferences are up to date by logging in, with your HarvardKey, to the Online Alumni Directory.

Each graduate will receive up to three guest tickets to the University-wide Commencement and GSD ceremony so that family and friends can take part in celebrating the hard work and perseverance of our graduates. Children under the age of 2 do not need a ticket in order to attend activities on May 29.

The deadline to request additional tickets was Friday, April 15. All graduates who requested additional tickets will be notified in early May if their request was granted.

Guests who were not granted tickets through the waitlist will be able to participate in the GSD’s Commencement ceremony from a standing room section in the Gund Hall backyard.

University Ceremony Credentials

Alumni are strongly encouraged to come to the Druker Design Gallery in Gund Hall on Saturday, May 28, from 4:00–6:00 pm to pick up their graduation lanyard. This lanyard serves as your credentials to access the University Ceremony in Harvard Yard.

  • Graduates will need to bring a photo ID and your Commencement QR Code to pick up your lanyard.
  • Graduates who pick up lanyards on Saturday will receive a small gift while supplies last.
  • Please remember to bring your lanyard on Sunday morning.

Graduate Housing and Lodging

Campus housing will be offered to graduates for the nights of Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29. The University endeavors to accommodate all graduates who request housing, but housing will be limited by availability and will be unable to guarantee specific locations. The deadline for graduates to request on-campus housing was Friday, April 15. Graduates who applied for campus housing will be notified by May 6 with information on their housing assignment.

Harvard University will not be able to provide campus housing for families and guests.

The University has secured room blocks at Boston-area hotels. Please visit the University’s Commencement Accommodations page for details on these room blocks and to learn about other hotels in the area.

Graduate Travel

The University is committed to making the celebration financially feasible for all members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021. There will be no charge for registration, provided meals, nor for campus housing for the graduates of these classes, yet we know that for some graduates, the cost of traveling to campus may be a hardship.

To request financial assistance, please contact commencement_20and21@harvard.edu by Saturday, April 29. 

Regalia

The University is committed to a ceremony with the pomp and circumstance of a traditional Commencement, including a processional during which graduates will be expected to wear the appropriate regalia.

The deadline to place regalia orders through the Coop was Saturday, April 9. For graduates with addresses within the continental United States, regalia will ship directly to your home. Graduates with international addresses will have their regalia delivered to Harvard Square COOP for pick-up Monday, May 23-Sunday, May 29.

If you missed the April 9 deadline and do not have regalia, the COOP will have EXTRA keepsake regalia sets available for last-minute purchase.

Harvard Square Coop pick–up location: 18 Palmer Street, Cambridge MA 02138. Please use the Palmer Street entrance — from The Coop main entrance on Massachusetts Ave, go left toward Milk Bar and Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe, then take a right onto Palmer Street at the Origins Store.

International Graduate Regalia Pick-up and Graduate Regalia Purchase Dates:

  • Monday, May 23, 2022: 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 24, 2022: 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 25, 2022: 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 26, 2022: 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
  • Friday, May 27, 2022: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 28, 2022: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
  • On Sunday, May 29, The Coop will open at 5:30 a.m. for Keepsake Regalia pick up.

Keepsake Regalia Pick-up Instructions
International Graduates must bring the following when picking up their Keepsake regalia:

  • Harvard Student ID or a Government Issued ID (driver’s license, passport).
  • Copy of your Purchase Confirmation (Optional)
  • Someone else can pick up regalia for you, but they must have a copy (printed or digital) of your ID.

Keepsake Regalia Purchase Instructions
If you missed the deadline to purchase Keepsake Regalia, you can purchase regalia at the COOP by providing the following information:

  • Your school
  • Degree (ex: MArch, MDes)
  • Height and weight
  • Graduates must pay for the Keepsake Regalia when placing their orders — Master’s degrees regalia is $94, PhD regalia is $191

Affinity Graduation Stoles

If you did not receive an affinity stole for the 2020 or 2021 virtual ceremonies, you can request a stole for pick-up. The pick-up location for GSD graduates is TBD. The deadline to request stoles is May 2, 2022.

Visa Support Letters for International Visitors

If you are a 2020 or 2021 graduate and you and/or your guest(s) require a visa support letter in order to travel to Cambridge to participate in Commencement on May 29, 2022, please fill out this form. The deadline to request visa support letters is Friday, May 20.

The GSD can provide an official letter to the US consulate in your or your guest’s home country, officially supporting the visa application. Letters will be issued in secured PDF form and will be sent via email. Letters will be processed within 5-10 business days of when your form is submitted.

Beer N' Dogs

Development and Alumni Relations and the Office of Student Affairs invite Graduates from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 to a Graduation Edition of Beer and Dogs on Sunday May 29, from 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Graduates will enjoy hot dogs, sausages, and Impossible burgers grilled up by The Sausage Guys and DJ sets by Anriduh Gurumoorthy MDes ’20 and Han Ning Tsai MAUD ’20.

If you have questions, please email Commencement_20and21@gsd.harvard.edu.

Information for Guests

Guest Tickets

Each graduate will receive up to three guest tickets to the University-wide Commencement and GSD ceremony so that family and friends can take part in celebrating the hard work and perseverance of our graduates. Children under the age of 2 do not need a ticket in order to attend activities on May 29.

The deadline to request additional tickets was Friday, April 15. All graduates who requested additional tickets will be notified in early May if their request was granted.

Guests who were not granted tickets through the waitlist will be able to participate in the GSD’s Commencement ceremony from a standing room section in the Gund Hall backyard.

Live Webcasts

Key events, including the Harvard Yard University-wide Ceremony and the GSD’s Commencement Ceremony, will be available by live public webcast for anyone unable to attend in person.

The GSD’s webcast will include live English captions and simultaneous automated translated captions will be available on separate links in Chinese – Traditional, Chinese – Simplified, Greek, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and Spanish. These can be viewed on cell phones by those attending in person, as well as being available for remote viewers of the livestream.

Accessibility

Graduates will have the opportunity to request accommodations for guests with disabilities or other needs requiring accommodation to participate fully in the celebrations. Graduates requiring accommodations for themselves or their guests should indicate their requests through the registration process or contact the GSD’s planning team directly about your/your guest’s accessibility needs.

The GSD’s Commencement Ceremony will be held in the Gund Backyard. Below is a general description of the format/conditions during the Ceremony.

  • The ceremony will take place outdoors, primarily on grassy terrain, under the cover of a tent.
  • Guest seating is general admission, aside from seats reserved for those with accessibility needs.
  • Ceremony speakers will use microphones and speak from a podium.
  • Restrooms are available inside Gund Hall prior to tent entry, and within the ticketed tent area in the form of portable bathrooms, including a wheelchair accessible unit.

Captioning and Translation

English captions and translated captioning is available for guests watching Commencement in-person or watching the webcast remotely. Captions will be available via a weblink to a web-based platform and more information will be available closer to May 29.

In addition to English, translated captions will be available in

  • Chinese – Simplified
  • Chinese – Traditional
  • Korean
  • Spanish
  • Greek
  • Hindi
  • Persian
  • Japanese

Equipment Rentals

There are a number of equipment rental companies in the local area. Wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and other equipment may be rented from local vendors that provide short term loans for a cost.

Belmont Medical Supply
http://www.belmontmedical.com/
185 Belmont Street, Belmont, MA 02478
617-484-3888

Boston Orthopedic & Respiratory Equipment
http://www.bostonorthoresp.com/
175 Main Street, Charlestown, MA
617-337-5133 or (800) 854-6370

Additional Information

Questions?

For further questions about Commencement for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, please contact commencement_20and21@gsd.harvard.edu.