Commencement in spite of COVID

They wore masks, they quarantined--and they earned their degrees. The Class of 2021 goes down in history.

Bob Handelman

Bob Handelman

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Capping off an unprecedented academic year, on May 24, 2021, President Peter Salovey ’86PhD conferred 3,395 degrees on the class of 2021, including 1,142 graduates of Yale College and 1,173 of the Graduate School. The final act of a school year completed in the face of a global pandemic, the university’s 320th Commencement took place as vaccinations spread widely in Connecticut and restrictions were starting to lift.

Still, it was hardly like it used to be. Seven different commencement ceremonies took place on Old Campus—three of them for the undergrads alone—so as to limit the size of the crowd. Several other commencements were held at schools with large lawns, like Nursing and Law. In all, the 320th Commencement took four days (and months of planning). To watch the highlights, go to https://yale2021.yale.edu.

You can read President Salovey’s message to the Class of 2020 here, read interviews with new graduates here, and read about honorary degree recipients and teaching prize winners on the following page.