As the gates of Harvard Yard opened on Tuesday, Aug. 31, the annual Freshman Convocation was set to take place in Tercentenary Theater. However, unlike in previous years, the Freshman Convocation was accompanied by an additional ceremony for the sophomore class.
The morning begins shortly before 11 a.m. as each of Harvard College’s 12 upperclassmen houses processes into Tercentenary Theater, waving house flags and holding pillars adorned with house names. Due to the pandemic, the Class of 2024 was not able to gather in person for their convocation last fall.
At 11 a.m., a quiet falls upon the entire Class of 2024, as the Rev. Matthew Ichihashi Potts, the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University, commences the event with an Invocation.
During the ceremony, the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College perform. The events also included music from the Harvard Glee Club, Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Radcliffe Choral Society, and the Harvard University Band.
In addition to musical performances, University President Lawrence S. Bacow addresses the current sophomores about entering their second year at the College and the support mechanisms put into place to ensure a successful year for this class.
Nearing the end of the convocation, Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair recognizes each of the 12 houses present in the Theater. Each time O’Dair announced a new house, the entire cohort of sophomores erupted with excitement, celebrating their entrance into the house system.
As students migrated toward the steps of Widener Library for a class photo, members of the Class of 2024 posed with Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana for a photo to remember this momentous occasion.
With Sophomore Convocation being the first time the entire Class of 2024 physically convened in one location, the students gathered to capture this moment with a class photo. Waving house flags and carrying the 2024 banner, the class photo represented a longstanding class tradition amid the relatively untraditional ceremony.
Residents of freshman dormitory Mower Hall walk past Weld Hall and into Tercentenary Theatre after congregating with their entryways in front of their dorms.
Bedecked in dresses and suits, freshmen walk past Thayer Hall and University Hall on their way to the steps of Widener Library for a class photo.
The Class of 2025, the largest in the College’s history, gathers tightly to fit in front of Widener Library for their class photo.
The freshman class takes their photo prior to taking their seats for the commencement of their Convocation ceremonies. University President Lawrence S. Bacow joins students in the center to help carry the banner for the Class of 2025.
Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana addresses the Class of 2025 about humility and encountering perspectives that students might disagree with.
The Harvard University Band plays on the steps of Memorial Church in Tercentenary Theatre.
On a temperate Tuesday afternoon, a day before the start of classes, the Class of 2024 and 2025 begin their in-person Harvard journey.