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Plan Your Visit

Harvard Extension School (HES) is thrilled to warmly welcome the families and guests of our extraordinary graduates.

There are two graduation ceremonies taking place on Thursday, May 23, 2024: Harvard University’s Morning Exercises in Harvard Yard and the HES Luncheon and Commencement Ceremony on the lawn of Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Tickets will be required for guests to enter both Commencement ceremonies.


  • For the Morning Exercises and the HES Commencement Ceremony, only infants and small toddlers who will remain in an adult’s lap for either ceremony’s duration can enter without tickets.
  • Children are not permitted in the graduate seating area during either ceremony (i.e., graduates cannot have their children sit with them).
  • Strollers are strongly discouraged because they pose a danger in case of emergency.
  • For the Morning Exercises: Strollers are permitted only in the Old Yard and not in Tercentenary Theatre.
  • For the HES Commencement Ceremony: Strollers are not allowed in the guest seating areas and must be left in designated areas.

How to Dress

May weather in Boston can be variable (hot and humid, cool, or raining), so use your judgment when deciding what to wear. Both the Morning Exercises and HES Commencement Ceremony will be held outside in most weather conditions, including heavy rain.

Useful items to bring include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hats
  • Umbrellas/ponchos
  • Blankets
  • Sunglasses
  • Snacks
  • Water bottles

Extreme Weather

  • Ceremonies will be held outdoors, rain or shine.
  • A live webcast of the exercises will be featured on Harvard’s website.
  • Commencement Exercises may be seen on Comcast Cable TV (channel 283) in Boston/Brookline and Cambridge/Greater Boston.

Security & Emergency Support

In accordance with Massachusetts state law, weapons are not permitted. All persons, bags, and personal items are subject to inspection before entering Harvard Yard. Guests will be screened with hand wand magnetometers and all small bags and pocketbooks will be searched.

No backpacks of any type will be admitted. No bag or item larger than 12 x 12”x 12” will be permitted inside the Yard. Please do not bring large-size bags, backpacks, luggage, briefcases, gift bags, wrapped gifts, packages, or balloons to the lawn area. There are no on-campus storage locations available.

In the event of an emergency, contact the Harvard University Police Department at (617) 495-1212. Police and EMT personnel will be on-site during all Commencement ceremonies.


Arrangements for accommodations should be made as soon as possible. Local hotels book up quickly during the graduation season. Please see the Plan Your Visit section on the Harvard University Commencement website for information pertaining to local hotels.

Parking & Shuttle Service

All visitors looking for Commencement Day parking, including guests needing accessible parking, should proceed to the Soldiers Field Park Garage, located at 111 Western Avenue in Allston. Signs will be posted directing traffic to Soldiers Field Park Garage or a nearby overflow lot. Parking will be available beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Commencement Day.

Harvard Transportation will provide continuous shuttle service between the main parking areas at the Soldiers Field Parking Garage to Harvard Square between 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Commencement day. All vehicles are fully accessible.

Also, Commencement Week visitors and guests should know there are many commercial parking facilities in and around Harvard Square. View locations and information for Harvard Square parking facilities.

Photography & Video

Photographers and videographers will be on campus recording Commencement activities. Your presence and comments may be captured and appear in photos and videos in School publications and websites. Photographs of your loved one crossing the stage will be available for downloading after the event through GradImages.

Live Streaming

Harvard University’s Commencement Exercises in Harvard Yard (Thursday, May 23) will be livestreamed on Harvard University’s website and on Comcast Cable TV (channel 283) in the Boston/Brookline and Cambridge/Greater Boston areas.

Harvard Extension School’s Commencement Ceremony will also be livestreamed on the Extension School website.