The Commencement ceremony dates back to 1758 and has been held outdoors on the Morningside campus since 1926.
It is a centuries-old tradition in which the President of the University grants degrees en masse to graduating students from eighteen schools, colleges, and affiliated institutions. During this ceremony, remarkable members of the Columbia community and special guests are also recognized through the conferring of medals, awards, and honorary degrees. It is Columbia tradition that the University Commencement address is given by the President of the University.
While each school holds an individual graduation ceremony, the University President is the only person who can confer the actual degrees. As part of the ceremony, each dean steps forward to request that the President confer degrees on the school's candidates; this tradition has become a memorable part of the ceremony. After the University President has conferred all degrees, cheers, applause, and celebration ensue as the class officially graduates.
With thousands of degree candidates, participants, and guests in attendance, the ceremony is an unforgettable, grand-scale celebration that appropriately marks the academic achievements of the University graduates. No degree candidate officially graduates until the University Commencement ceremony is completed.
The 263rd Columbia University Commencement ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. outdoors on the Morningside campus, rain or shine. All eligible May 2017 degree candidates, and February 2017 and October 2016 graduates, from all schools and colleges affiliated with Columbia University are encouraged to attend.
Family and friends of Columbia's graduates are integral to the University Commencement celebration. Tickets are required for admission.