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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

COMMENCEMENT IS 286TH, NOT 301ST, AS MIGHT BE THOUGH

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

As Harvard is in its three hundred and first year, one might assume that the coming Commencement would be the 301st, but such is not the fact.

The first Commencement was in 1642. No Commencement was held in 1644, and, owing to war, pestilence, disorder, and other causes, three were none in 1752, 1757, 1764, or from 1774 to 1780, inclusive. Since 1781 there has been one every year. Apparently, therefore, the 1937 exercises are the two hundred and eighty-sixth.

Nor is the Class of 1937 the 301st graduating class. The first class was the Class of 1642. There were no classes in 1644, 1648, 1672, or 1688, but there were two graduating classes in 1653, and since 1689 a class has graduated every year with unfailing regularity.

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