Celebrate the classes of ’20 and ’21

TThe University announced today that members of the 2020 and 2021 graduates, who received their Harvard degrees off campus in virtual conference ceremonies during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, will be invited to return to campus on May 29, 2022, to enjoy the rites of the festival. Because the circumstances are unique, there are numerous-including how many people will be traveling to Cambridge, with whom. So President Lawrence S. Bacow’s invitation refers to a poll where class members can indicate their inclinations, and college planners in turn can determine how many people could be accommodated, how many tickets each person could be granted. for guests, and so on. .

In his invitation to class members, Bacow said:

I write with happy news. Now is the time to keep my promise to welcome you back to campus someday for an unforgettable and joyful start. We will meet at the Tercentenary Theater at 8:00 a.m. a m on Sunday May 29, 2022, to celebrate your accomplishments, marking the conclusion of what has been an extraordinarily trying time for all of us with an affirmation of the strength and spirit of our community.

Planning for the festivities is underway. Each of the schools will host programs in addition to the college-wide gathering, and we will contact you and share additional information as it becomes available. In the meantime, I hope you will take a moment to express your interest, which will help us in the work ahead.

I look forward to sending you a great start from the heart of Harvard Yard. Nothing can replace the energy and excitement of being together, and I hope you and your loved ones can join us for what we hope will be a once in a generation event.

He also invited members of the community to attend, “to celebrate not only their accomplishments but also your own efforts to see them through a time of great uncertainty and change.”

Amidst many unknowns, some things are clear.

First, members of classes ’20 and ’21 are no longer students. Their diplomas were awarded, diplomas posted; they are in good faith old students, returning to Harvard (or not) to participate in some of the ceremonies they were denied when the campus closed. It is therefore not a “Debut” with awarding of a diploma and a diploma, but only the Harvard festivities and rituals that usually go hand in hand with one. These traps and opportunities are reincarnated for the benefit, pleasure and fulfillment of graduates and their families who have been deprived of this joyous opportunity by a global public health crisis.

Second, it’s going to be a busy debut season, like no other:

• In the new order of business (if public health conditions permit), the class of 2022 will have a full, regular, in-person debut at the Tercentennial Theater and at undergraduate homes and graduate and vocational schools on Thursday, May 26. Morning exercises will likely be incorporated into the regular schedule of events, including Phi Beta Kappa literary exercises, school days, and various social gatherings – and the morning schedule will include the keynote speech by the guest speaker from Commencement (the precedent set in the virtual events 2020 and 2021).

• As was the case last year, the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) Annual Meeting – with a separate guest speaker, a report from the President, and various honors (former, traditional afternoon exercises) —will be held separately this year on Friday June 3, surrounded by reunions. These events are now separate from Beginnings Per se: an arc to the reality of many, as Harvard confers more degrees and graduates, their families, and reunion crowds have increasingly exceeded the capacity of the theater. tricentenary and the surrounding area.

• In between, the weekend after the start, but before the HAA meeting and meetings, promotions 2020 and 2021 will get their delayed hoopla, sharing pandemic stories, indulging in nostalgia after those many months apart, parading together in college badges – and, last but not least, a fitting sense of closing this Harvard chapter of their life. The opening staging will have been in place for the 2022 Celebrant class, slipping the transition between this year’s graduation ceremony (whose attendees will have to be rushed off stage and out of town to make way for those who will attend the before two classes) and the arrival of reunion classes makes perfect sense.

Plans for the weekend are not yet known. Presumably, it will be a two-day affair (May 28-29), given the early hour of the university ceremony on Sunday. Bacow’s note alludes to gatherings and celebrations at home and at school, such as those typically scheduled after Start morning events, and possibly on Saturdays, given the likely arrival of attendees. It was not known if there would be a speaker or commemoration that relates to the unique circumstances and experiences of the classroom pandemic, but one can imagine something like this as part of the formal college curriculum. The Honorans received their honorary degrees at virtual ceremonies over the past two springs, and guest speakers, as noted, have already spoken. The content of this event “unique in a generation” (we hope!) Will therefore necessarily be different.

In any event, for those who want a facsimile of the full-fledged Beginning experience, the University keeps its promise to roll out the Crimson rug on their behalf. Stay tuned for a late May and early June unprecedented in the institution’s 386 years.

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