MIT 2022 Commencement

December 22, 2021

Dear colleagues,

While Covid-19 continues to require our vigilance and flexibility, I write to share with you the plans for the Institute’s 2022 Commencement celebrations. After two years of virtual ceremonies, I’m pleased to announce that the Institute intends to conduct all Commencement ceremonies this May in person.

Many elements of this year’s celebrations will be familiar, but some are new. Faculty are welcome to participate in all the ceremonies occurring from Thursday, May 26 through Saturday, May 28. Details will continue to emerge throughout the spring, and you will receive a notice when it is time to register to participate and order regalia. The events are summarized below.

OneMIT Commencement Ceremony on Killian Court

Morning of Friday, May 27
A new ceremony that unites the undergraduate and graduate classes in all degree programs in all schools and the college. The OneMIT ceremony will include the academic procession; speeches, including President Reif’s Charge to the Graduates and the address by the yet-to-be-announced Institute Commencement speaker; and the turning of the Brass Rat. The start time of this 90-minute OneMIT ceremony will be provided in the new year.

Bachelor’s Degree Conferral on Briggs Field

Afternoon of Friday, May 27
Following the OneMIT Commencement Ceremony, there will be a conferral of bachelor’s degrees on Briggs Field, when students will cross the stage as their names are read.

Advanced Degree Ceremonies

Thursday, May 26
A new set of ceremonies, held by the schools and college, to recognize the graduates of all master’s and doctoral programs, when hoods will be presented to doctoral candidates and all of the degree recipients will be announced, cross the stage and have their pictures taken. The School of Architecture and Planning; the School of Engineering and the Schwarzman College of Computing (combined); the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and the School of Science will hold advanced degree ceremonies on Thursday. The Sloan School of Management will announce its ceremony schedule in the new year. We expect the ceremony times and locations to be finalized in January.

Special Graduation Ceremony for the Classes of 2020 and 2021

Morning of Saturday, May 28
A special event to celebrate those students whose graduations in 2020 and 2021 were marked by virtual ceremonies.

Background

The format changes being implemented this year will help address challenges with MIT’s former Commencement ceremony, which ran for more than four hours in the vastly oversubscribed setting of Killian Court. Before the pandemic, the Commencement Committee gathered input from the community on its priorities for Commencement. The input revealed some themes, specifically that both undergraduates and graduates want a Killian Court experience, undergraduates want to celebrate as a cohort (rather than be divided by school or college), advanced degree candidates are interested in a more targeted graduation ceremony, and all students look forward to crossing the stage and hearing their names, with family and friends in attendance. The new format was developed with those themes in mind and was approved by Academic Council in 2019. Implementation, however, was delayed by the onset of the pandemic.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the Institute may need to change plans if the public health landscape deteriorates, as was described in our letter to the community yesterday. We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and update you should we need to modify the plans outlined above.

We look forward to celebrating some new and familiar traditions that mark this significant milestone for MIT’s graduates. I wish you all a restful Winter Break.

Sincerely,

Martin A. Schmidt
Provost