University Commencement

Congratulations to the Class of 2021! The Columbia University Commencement ceremony of the 267th academic year will take place on Friday, April 30, at 10:30 a.m. (EDT), via web broadcast. All eligible April, May, and June 2021 degree candidates, and February 2021 and October 2020 graduates, from all schools and colleges affiliated with Columbia University, as well as family and friends, are encouraged to tune in to the celebration. An archived video of the ceremony and digital program will be available for viewing shortly after the live webcast.

Please visit our Announcements page for the most current Commencement related information.

About The Ceremony

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 affiliate 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 concludes.


Teaching Awards

Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching are given to faculty and graduate student instructors who have significantly influenced the intellectual development of Columbia students. For more information about this award, visit Office of the Provost.


Mentoring Awards

Faculty Mentoring Awards, inspired by the incredible mentoring legacy of Columbia Business School Professor Katherine W. Phillips, are given to senior faculty who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the professional development of their junior colleagues. For more information about this award, visit Office of the Provost.


Service Awards

Faculty Service Awards recognize full-time faculty whose extraordinary and creative voluntary service has contributed significantly to the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. For more information about this award, visit Office of the Provost.


Alumni Medalist Awards

Columbia Alumni Medalists are recognized for building Columbia's community - whether regionally, online, in specific Schools, or in cross-campus initiatives. Recipients are honored at University Commencement and at the Alumni Medalists Gala during Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend. For more information about this award, visit the Columbia Alumni Association.


Commencement History & Regalia

University Commencement has been a Columbia tradition since 1758, when the first ceremony was held at St. George's Chapel on Beekman Street. Learn more about the history of the ceremony and some of the traditions still observed today.