Manage episode 259008364 series 1587022
What was originally called Harvard College held its first Commencement in September 1642, when nine degrees were conferred. Today some 1700 undergraduate degrees, and 5000 advanced degrees from the university's various graduate and professional schools, are conferred each Commencement Day.
Each degree candidate attends three ceremonies: the Morning Exercises, at which degrees are conferred verbally en masse; a smaller midday ceremony during which actual diplomas are given in hand; and in the afternoon the annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association's, at which Harvard's President and the day's featured speaker deliver their addresses. The ceremonies shifted from late summer to late June in the nineteenth century, and are now held at the end of May.
In the celebration, the bells will fill Harvard Square and the surrounding area with music. At the conclusion of Commencement Exercises, the Memorial Church tower will ring its deep-toned bell, for years the only bell to acknowledge the festival rites of Commencement, meanwhile a number of neighboring churches and institutions ring their bells too.
As the oldest university in Massachusetts, Harvard has seen countless students pass through its halls. In addition to the myriad political giants, there are many entrepreneurs, movie stars and more among those with a Harvard degree.�