As it Happened: More Than 1,000 Stage Walkout at Harvard Commencement Ceremony

More than 1,000 people staged a walkout in support of 13 undergraduates who were barred from graduating, while interim President Alan M. Garber ’76 was booed at the end of his address to graduates. Follow The Crimson for live coverage of Harvard’s eventful Commencement ceremonies.
By Crimson News Staff

Pro-Palestine Harvard graduates lead a walkout of the University's commencement ceremonies.
Pro-Palestine Harvard graduates lead a walkout of the University's commencement ceremonies. By Jina H. Choe

More than 1,000 people walked out of Harvard’s 373rd Commencement while chanting “Let them walk,” in reference to the 13 Harvard College seniors who were denied degrees after their participation in the pro-Palestine encampment in Harvard Yard.

As interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 began to confer degrees upon the 9,262 graduates, beginning with students receiving degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the FAS, hundreds of students rose from their seats and began to walk out, protesting the University’s response to the war in Gaza and sanctions on students who participated in the encampment.

As the protesters exited Harvard Yard, several Palestinian flags flew toward the back of the ceremony.

David C. Parkes, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, continued to speak, raising his voice slightly over the chants of the protesters.

The administrators continue the conferral as usual, not acknowledging the chants, which continued for the duration of the ceremony.

As students chanted, Garber looked unfazed. University leadership anticipated disruptions to the Commencement ceremonies, even going so far as to change the route of the processions in preparation.

The pro-Palestine protesters marched to Epworth Church, a short walk away from Harvard Yard, where they hosted a “People’s Commencement” ceremony, in which they honored the 13 undergraduates who were denied diplomas from Harvard.

Students and families gather in front of Widener Library in anticipation of the Commencement exercises.
Students and families gather in front of Widener Library in anticipation of the Commencement exercises. By Julian J. Giordano

Despite Thunderstorm, Seniors Receive Diplomas at House Ceremonies — 3:00 p.m.

After the University-wide Commencement programming concluded around noon, undergraduates and their families dispersed to their respective residential Houses for lunch and to receive their diplomas.

At each ceremony, the Faculty Deans, the Allston-Burr Resident Dean, and one undergraduate speaker delivered opening remarks before conferring the diplomas to each student.

Though many of the ceremonies were intended to take place outside, a sudden downpour forced House staff to relocate to indoor locations, several at significantly reduced capacity. Leverett and Winthrop Houses had their students and families gather indoors in staggered groups in alphabetical order, while they live-streamed a Zoom video of the ceremony elsewhere in the House.

For the Adams House ceremony, graduates and their families lined up for food in a large tent on the Malkin Athletic Center lawn before thunder sent them crowding into a gym on the fourth floor of the MAC.

“I think the chaos of everything today definitely fits in with the climate of what has been going on at this campus for the past year,” Leverett House graduate Calliste A.O. Skouras ’24 said. “I think the mess of it all kind of puts things into perspective — that it doesn’t really matter if today doesn’t go perfectly, I’m happy to have just spent the last four years here.”

Festivities Continue at Harvard Medical School — 2:41 p.m.

BOSTON – After lightning delayed the start of the ceremony, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine graduates processed into the Quad Lawn. The ceremony began with an address from Dean for Medical Education Bernard S. Chang, who said that the ceremony would be expedited due to the delay.

During the land acknowledgment by the only U.S. tribal member in the graduating class, the student advocated for Palestine’s freedom, which was met with cheers from many graduates, including some donning “Harvard Divest” messages on their graduation caps.

Class Day speaker Melissa L. Gilliam – incoming BU president – then took the stage, advising the class to “love yourself, love one another, and love mankind.” Gilliam spoke of her mother’s journey to becoming the first Black reporter at the Washington Post, and then of Gilliam’s own story as a physician, where she first learned how to truly listen to her patients, and then advocated for empowering marginalized patients in the healthcare system.

Harvard’s 373rd Commencement Ends — 11:54 a.m.

On schedule, the Commencement ceremony ended at 11:54 a.m. as the Memorial Church bells tolled.

The benediction was delivered by Pusey Minister Matthew Ichihashi Potts, who ruminated on the meaning of the word “blessing” and addressed the “trying times” the Class of 2024 has experienced during their four years on campus.

“There are differences among us. Most of them are keen and beautiful. Some of them are deep and painful,” Potts said.

“But none of these differences need be as important as the difference you can make with what you have gained here,” Potts added.

The ‘People’s Commencement’ Begins — 11:42 a.m.

As hundreds of graduates and faculty settled into Epworth Church, Harvard Law School graduate Lea H. Kayali opened the ceremony with a speech.

“As a Palestinian who has been betrayed and abandoned by the University, I cannot tell you how much it means to me that all of you walked out in solidarity with the Palestinian people and the 15 seniors who were prevented from graduating,” Kayali said.

Her remarks were met with stomps and cheers, as well as several calls for “louder” from graduates seated in overflow seating.

Kayali acknowledged the graduates that flew in from “all over the country and the world” to join the protest.

“Thank you for walking with us,” she said.

“By joining this walkout, you all took a stance against the injustice that prevented our classmates from graduating today, and more importantly took a stance against injustice happening my people in Palestine,” Kayali added.

Graduates Stream Into Epsworth Church to Hold ‘People’s Commencement’ — 11:28 a.m.

Hundreds of graduates filed into Epsworth Church after walking out of Commencement.

Members of the Harvard University Band played a celebratory song as HOOP organizers, flying the Palestinian flag, took the stage before the pews, where graduates stand. The group on stage included several seniors who were barred from graduating over their pro-Palestine activism.

Inside, volunteers handed out water bottles to graduates entering the church. A certificate from “The People’s University,” given to “Members of the Student Movement” were pre-placed on seats.

“In honor of the students in Palestine who will not get to graduate because of the ongoing Nakba. We stand up for them and our own students who have been targeted by Harvard University and are unable to graduate today,” the certificate stated, which was signed by HOOP.

Graduates continue to stream into the packed church, which was full of cheers and clapping. Several faculty members from various Harvard graduate schools were also in attendance.

Maria Ressa Begins Keynote Address — 11:24 a.m.

In her address to the Class of 2024, Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa discussed her experience facing repression for her investigative journalism and the importance of searching for truth in a world filled with increasing disinformation.

“I did nothing wrong except to do my job — to report facts, to hold power to account,” Ressa said. “For this, I had to be okay with going to jail for the rest of my life.”

Journalist Maria A. Ressa delivers the featured address at Harvard's 2024 Commencement ceremonies.
Journalist Maria A. Ressa delivers the featured address at Harvard's 2024 Commencement ceremonies. By Addison Y. Liu

She began her speech with an acknowledgement to former Harvard President Claudine Gay, who Ressa said first asked her to speak at Commencement. Gay, who resigned Jan. 2, has not been acknowledged by other speakers and was not on stage during the ceremony.

Ressa joked about the repression she has personally faced by the Philippine government, including telling the audience that she had to request permission from the Philippine Supreme Court to travel to Harvard.

“Anyone else out on bail?” Ressa asked. “Just me?”

Following the student speakers before her, Ressa addressed the campus protests which she said “are testing everyone in America.”

“Protests are healthy; they shouldn’t be violent. Protests give voice; they shouldn’t be silenced,” she said, to applause.

“But, you live in complicated, complex times where I think administrators and students also face an unacknowledged danger — technology, making everything faster, meaner, more polarized.”

Ressa repeatedly warned about the rise of fascism, specifically calling out technology companies like Meta and advocating for change to laws which have “allowed these tech companies to manipulate and enable violence and genocide.”

She asked students to live by the “golden rule” and consider the impact of their actions on others.

“So let me end this by reminding you: we are standing on the rubble of the world that was, and we must have the foresight and courage to imagine - and create the world as it should be: more compassionate, more equal, more sustainable,” she said.

“Our world on fire needs you,” she ended. “Welcome to the battlefield. Join us.”

Garber, Manning Bestow Honorary Degrees — 11:17 a.m.

Following the presentation of degree candidates to the president, Corporation, and Board of Overseers, Garber then conferred honorary doctorate degrees on six recipients.

The witty introductions to the honorary degree recipients are written by Secretary of the University Marc L. Goodheart ’81.

Interim University Provost John F. Manning ’82 read the introductions before Garber officially conferred the degrees.

Goodheart presented each honorary degree recipient with their physical degree.

Bacow received a doctorate of laws, Dudamel Ramírez received a doctorate of music, Gates received a doctorate of science, Chin Hansen received a doctorate of humane letters, Harjo-Sapulpa received a doctorate of literature, and Ressa, the principal speaker, also received a doctorate of laws.

Manning described Bacow as a person with “a rare combination of confidence and humility, decisiveness and empathy, devotion to academic values and dedication to how universities can serve the world.”

“With deep thanks to one of higher education’s most admired leaders, we honor the pride of Pontiac, Lawrence S. – or, as he’d insist we call him, Larry – Bacow,” he added.

HOOP Organizers Lead Graduates in Walkout Outside Widener Gates — 11:03 a.m.

Hundreds of graduates from the College and the graduate schools staged a walkout during the conferral of degrees. Several graduates donned keffiyehs, held banners and signs, and chanted as they streamed out of the Class of 1889 Gates.

Graduates, alongside some family and faculty members, chanted “Disclose, Divest, We will not stop, We will not rest” and “Harvard University, We know what side you’re on, Remember South Africa, Remember Vietnam” as they follow organizers towards Epworth Church, according to a HOOP organizer. Members of the Harvard University Band, playing the drums, joined the procession out of Commencement.

The protesters blocked Cambridge St. during the walkout. Several Cambridge police officers on bikes followed the group.

Around an hour before the walkout, a group of around 20 pro-Palestine protesters — including HOOP organizers and Cambridge residents — gathered outside Widener Gates, holding Palestinian flags and signs. A group of six pro-Israel counterprotesters joined shortly before the walkout.

During the walkout, the counterprotesters appeared to be chanting “Am Yisrael Chai,” an anthem associated with Jewish peoplehood, but the counterprotesters were drowned out by those participating in the pro-Palestine walkout.

Hundreds Walk Out of Harvard Commencement Ceremony During Degree Conferral — 10:49 a.m.

Hundreds of students and some faculty members walked out of Harvard’s Commencement ceremony to protest the University’s decision to bar 13 undergraduate seniors from receiving their diplomas over their participation in the pro-Palestine encampment in Harvard Yard.

“Let them walk,” students chanted as they began to file out of Tercentenary Theater, referring to the 13 seniors.

The Harvard College Administrative Board voted to place five students on suspension and more than 20 other students on probation over their involvement in the protest. Among those students were 13 graduating seniors who have since been denied their degrees because they were no longer in good academic standing.

A female student holds up a graduation cap with the message "End the Occupation" during Harvard's Commencement ceremonies Thursday.
A female student holds up a graduation cap with the message "End the Occupation" during Harvard's Commencement ceremonies Thursday. By Addison Y. Liu

The Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, confirmed on Wednesday that it would deny the 13 seniors from obtaining their diplomas after the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted on Monday to allow the students to graduate in an effort to reverse the Ad Board’s decision.

In doing so, the Corporation issued a sharp rebuke of the FAS.

Graduate English Address Also Acknowledges the 13 Denied Diplomas — 10:39 a.m.

Harvard Law School graduate Robert L. Clinton IV capped off student speeches with the Graduate English Address, which he titled “On Being Good.”

Clinton similarly addressed the seven months of intense scrutiny on Harvard’s campus, which he said altered his previous conception of Harvard as a “refuge.”

“This year, I’ve been reminded of just how exposed we are, “ Clinton said. “Antisemitism. Islamophobia. Anti-Arab bias. Doxing. Death threats. Losing jobs. Losing a president. Losing friends. Losing our right to free speech.”

Clinton encouraged attendees to speak out against injustice, specifically calling on them to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.

“There are many ways to be good, and there’s complexity in what it means to make the world a better place,” Clinton said.

“I would be remiss to say it's not very good to announce the day before commencement that 13 seniors will not graduate,” he added.

Administrators on the platform sat stone-faced, as Clinton brought up the seniors who will not receive degrees. Clinton also received a standing ovation at the end of the speech.

Senior English Address Speaker Shruthi Kumar ’24 Goes Off Script, Slams University for Preventing 13 Seniors From Graduating — 10:25 a.m.

Shruthi Kumar ’24, whose speech was titled “The Power of Not Knowing,” veered off script to criticize the University for denying 13 graduating seniors their diplomas after they faced disciplinary charges over their participation in the pro-Palestine Harvard Yard encampment.

Kumar pulled out a piece of paper from her robes in a dramatic moment, appearing to deviate from her prepared remarks.

“As I stand here today, I must take a moment to recognize my peers — the 13 undergraduates in the class of 2024 that will not graduate today,” Kumar said. “I am deeply disappointed by the intolerance for freedom of speech and their right to civil disobedience on campus.”

“The students have spoken. The faculty have spoken,” Kumar added. “Harvard, do you hear us?”

“Harvard, do you hear us?” she repeated.

Kumar received a standing ovation from the crowd, including members of the faculty.

As soon as Kumar began addressing the 13 undergraduates who will not be graduating, the Harvard-run official video stream zoomed in on Kumar, not showing the applauding audience or the Corporation members seated behind Kumar.

Shortly afterwards, the camera panned to show members of the audience and the top administrators and Corporation members behind her as Kumar received a standing ovation.

In the rest of her speech, Kumar addressed division on campus over the war in Gaza and described the experience of being doxxed in the fall.

“For many of us students of color, doxxing left our jobs uncertain, our safety uncertain,” she said. “This semester, our freedom of speech and our expressions of solidarity became punishable, leaving our graduation uncertain.”

Kumar received the loudest applause of any speaker before her.

Garber Loudly Booed at End of Speech — 10:09 a.m.

Interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 was loudly booed by Commencement attendees at the end of his address to the Class of 2024.

The heckles made it initally difficult to hear University Marshal Katherine O’Dair when she began to introduce the student selected to deliver the Latin Salutatory.

Interim Harvard President Alan Garber Begins Speech, Observes Minute of Silence for Lives Lost ‘Around the World’ — 10:06 a.m.

Interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 began his Commencement address by acknowledging that protesters may try to disrupt the graduation ceremony to protest the Israel’s war in Gaza and holding a minute of silence for those experiencing “moments of fear, dread, grief and anguish” in the world.

As Garber delivered his first Commencement remarks as interim University President, he acknowledged the potential student protests, saying it is “their right” to protest.

“As our ceremony proceeds, some among us may choose to take the liberty of expressing themselves to draw attention to events unfolding in the wider world,” he said.

“But it is their responsibility to do so with our community—and this occasion—in mind,” he added.

University Chaplains Address the Crowd — 10:01 a.m.

Harvard College senior Isabella E. Peña ’24 sang the national anthem before Khalil Abdur-Rashid — Harvard’s first full-time Muslim chaplain — and Harvard Hillel Campus Rabbi Getzel Davis gave the ceremony’s opening blessing with a message of peace. This is the first time in Harvard’s history that the University has had two chaplains of different religions as the chaplains of the day.

Following a land acknowledgement by Abdur-Rashid, Davis led the first prayer, calling for compassion amidst division.

“I bless us today with another way to engage with our sense of separateness — compassion,” Davis said. “Compassion lies not in numbing our alienation or fighting against it. Instead, ‘compassion’, literally ‘suffering together’, comes from recognizing that our own experience of isolation resembles the universal experience of others.”

Abdur-Rashid followed with a similar call for unity.

“Help us remember that we are indeed brothers and sisters of one another; that we are to cultivate and preserve peaceful bonds with each other; and that we are to be mindful and grateful for all the blessings you have graced us with,” he said.

The prayer concluded as both University chaplains said “Shalom Aleichem” and “As-Salaamu Aleikum.”

“May peace be with us all,” Davis and Abdur-Rashid said in unison.

Planes Circle Harvard Yard — 9:49 a.m.

A plane is circling the Yard with a banner trailing behind it that reads “Jewish Lives Matter.US.” A different plane is flying the Israeli flag next to the American flag.

A plane flies over Harvard Yard during the commencement ceremony carrying a banner that reads 'Jewish Lives Matter.US.'
A plane flies over Harvard Yard during the commencement ceremony carrying a banner that reads 'Jewish Lives Matter.US.' By Julian J. Giordano

Outside Harvard Yard, a billboard truck circles the square displaying the names and faces of students under the banner “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.”

The truck is funded by Accuracy in Media, a group that routinely used doxxing trucks during the fall semester.

Though the Yard is only accessible to ticketed guests, the University cannot prevent planes and trucks from displaying political messages to graduates and their guests from above in the sky.

Threat of Protest Prompted Procession Changes — 9:39 a.m.

Interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76, interim Provost John F. Manning ’82, school deans, members of the governing boards, and the honorary degree recipients did not participate in the typical Commencement procession due to concerns of a protest.

A procession still occurred featuring members of Harvard’s faculty. They were led by Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Hopi E. Hoesktra and processed to the front of Tercentenary Theatre.

Instead, Harvard’s leadership unceremoniously walked onto the stage from the side, forgoing the usual pomp and circumstance of the start of Commencement.

A doxxing truck circles Harvard Yard on Commencement morning. Police officers outside Harvard Yard warned the truck drivers that the truck cannot park outside Johnston Gate.
A doxxing truck circles Harvard Yard on Commencement morning. Police officers outside Harvard Yard warned the truck drivers that the truck cannot park outside Johnston Gate. By Frank S. Zhou

Doxxing Truck Returns to Campus for Commencement — 9:22 a.m.

A billboard ‘doxxing truck’ displaying faces and names of students arrived at the Yard and began driving around Harvard square.

The display, which closely resembled that of another billboard truck that circled the Square in October, labeled the students as “Harvard’s leading antisemites” and included links to websites alleging the students had signed onto a controversial statement released after Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

The first billboard truck has been joined by a second — this time criticizing the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body. The display on the side of the truck includes the names and faces of five Corporation members and referred to the body as a “national disgrace & laughingstock.”

One of the people displayed on the truck, Susan L. Graham ’64, has not served on the Corporation since 2019.

The display, which carried the logo of the Jewish Leadership Project, also criticized what it called the “racist ideology of D.E.I.” and seemed to call on the Corporation members to resign.

Khurana, Paulsell Deliver Valediction in Philips Brooks House Courtyard — 8:57 a.m.

Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana and outgoing Eliot House Faculty Dean Stephanie Paulsell spoke to seniors at the valediction in the Philips Brooks House courtyard.

Paulsell, who is a Harvard Divinity School professor, shared her fond memories of the Eliot dining hall and Thursday-night poetry study breaks.

“The true Harvard is not one unchangeable thing. It never has been,” she told the soon-to-be graduates. “The true Harvard is us. Multiple, changeable, always in flux.”

Students applauded Paulsell.

Khurana spoke afterward to praise the graduating class.

“You’ve inspired me with your generosity, your courage, your passion, your ideas, your commitment, your kindness,” Khurana said.

Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana speaks outside PBHA on Commencement morning.
Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana speaks outside PBHA on Commencement morning. By Julian J. Giordano

He encouraged students to reflect on where they were before coming to Harvard, where they are now, and all that happened during their years at Cambridge — and invoked the symbolism of the courtyard where students were assembled.

Around the base of the sundial behind Holden Chapel, he noted, “is an inscription, a warning, a call to action. It reads, ‘On this moment hangs eternity.’”

Some students watched Khurana’s address stony-faced or leafed through their programs as he spoke, but after he finished, he drew cheers from the crowd.

Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine Distributes ‘The Harvard Crimeson’ — 8:51 a.m.

Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine, the coalition of pro-Palestine student groups that organized the encampment, distributed fake copies of The Harvard Crimson that are titled “The Harvard Crimeson.”

Copies include a list of HOOP’s demands of the University to disclose and divest from all investments “in Israel, the ongoing genocide in Gaza, and the occupation of Palestine.”

In the fake paper, HOOP wrote an article alleging in headlines that Harvard has invested “Hundreds of Millions in Genocide” and “The Crimson Refuses to Talk About Palestine.”

Pro-Palestine protesters laugh as they distribute fake issues of The Harvard Crimson, titled The Harvard Crimeson, Thursday morning.
Pro-Palestine protesters laugh as they distribute fake issues of The Harvard Crimson, titled The Harvard Crimeson, Thursday morning. By Frank S. Zhou

Under the latter headline, the parody paper appeared to reference Crimson Managing Editor Miles J. Herszenhorn ’25 by writing: “But no judgement. You also wouldn’t want to jeoparidze your relationship with your legacy media journalist father, or your exclusive relationship to Alan Garber, or your $500,000 annual budget, or...”

Commencement protesters standing in the Science Center Plaza outside Harvard Yard laughed as they read out the fake paper’s title.

Bacow to Receive Honorary Degree — 8:00 a.m.

Harvard will confer honorary degrees on six individuals during the Commencement Ceremony, including former University President Lawrence S. Bacow, who stepped down from the presidency in June 2023.

Other recipients include conductor Gustavo A. Dudamel Ramírez; Sylvester James Gates Jr., a physics professor at the University of Maryland; Joy Harjo-Sapulpa, a chancellor of the American Academy of Poets and former U.S. Poet Laureate; Jeannie Chin Hansen, former CEO of the American Geriatrics Society; and Maria A. Ressa, the Nobel-prize winning journalist who will address the Class of 2024 as the principal speaker later today.

Grads Make Statements in Support of Palestine — 7:55 a.m.

Many students at today’s ceremonies have chosen to make statements in support of Palestine with their caps and gowns. Some are wearing keffiyehs and others have decorated their caps with the Palestinian flag or messages to Harvard.

​​Three people held a canvas banner reading “Stop the Genocide in Gaza” outside Thayer Gate. Some students’ caps read “free free Palestine” and “disclose divest.”

A graduate wearing a keffiyeh stands at Commencement Thursday morning.
A graduate wearing a keffiyeh stands at Commencement Thursday morning. By Julian J. Giordano

The University will confer 7,782 degrees today— a number that notably does not include 13 pro-Palestine student protesters whose degrees were a point of serious contention between the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.

The Corporation voted not to award the 13 students degrees yesterday, reasoning that the faculty had not placed them back in good standing after being sanctioned by the Harvard College Administrative Board.

Protesters Rally for Palestine, Harvard Undergraduates Facing Disciplinary Action — 7:52 a.m.

Protesters gathered around Harvard Yard across the Smith Campus Center, holding handmade signs in support of the students facing disciplinary action by the College for staging a pro-Palestine encampment in Harvard Yard earlier this month. The signs contained messages like “Opposing Genocide is Not Anti-Semitism,” “Let Them Graduate,” and “This Jew Stands With Palestine”.

Cambridge police officers observed the protesters from across the street.

Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine Distributes Fake Commencement Programs — 7:50 a.m.

As families of graduating seniors line up outside the gates of Harvard Yard, members of Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine distributed pamphlets providing information on why Harvard should disclose and divest from its “at least $200 million in companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land,” the pamphlet read.

In the pamphlet, FSJP wrote that “there is broad support for divestment from Israel at Harvard.”

The pamphlet also included a timeline of Harvard’s divestments from controversial holdings in the past, including apartheid in South Africa, tobacco stocks, and fossil fuels.

Rain, HMS, and HSPH Enter the Yard — 7:33 a.m.

Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health students begin processing into the Yard amid a sudden sprinkle of rain. Students chatter among themselves and snap selfies. A few students raise umbrellas. One HMS student carries a canvas banner that reads “colonialism & occupation is a public health crisis” and demands divestment.

University officials in regalia prepare for the ceremonies in front of Memorial Church.
University officials in regalia prepare for the ceremonies in front of Memorial Church. By Julian J. Giordano

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! — 7:25 a.m.

The Harvard Crimson’s Commencement edition is being distributed to students and their guests at the various entrances to Harvard Yard. Pick up a copy of the newspaper from one of the Crimson editors passing out copies or read the print version online.

Undergraduate Procession to Harvard Yard Begins — 7:22 a.m.

Graduates in Leverett House process down Mass. Avenue along Harvard Yard.
Graduates in Leverett House process down Mass. Avenue along Harvard Yard. By Frank S. Zhou

Seniors begin processing up Plympton Street with their Harvard Houses to the tune of bagpipes. The Harvard Marching Band is also playing down Massachusetts Avenue as the seniors process, all draped in caps and gowns for the upcoming ceremony.

Overnight Preparations — 4:34 a.m.

Harvard University employees prepared for Thursday’s festivities overnight by placing the finishing touches on Harvard Yard.

Orange cones were placed alongside the Yard on Massachusetts Avenue to direct traffic in anticipation of thousands of pedestrians who will line up to get the best seat in Tercentenary Theatre.

A worker was also using a water hose and high pressure nozzle to clean the street in Harvard Square outside the T station in anticipation of the more than 30,000 people who will pass through the area today.

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