Can I see copies of past commencement programs?

Yes, you can see past commencement programs. Commencement programs are a great way to look back at your time in college. Copies of past commencement programs are available in the Office of the Registrar. It contains information about the graduation ceremony and a list of all graduates, their commencement numbers and class year, and formal speeches at each graduation ceremony. Usually, the graduate will receive a copy of this booklet with their diploma. 

University Archives/Or The Library

A great place to begin is your local library. Librarians are often more than willing to help you track down copies of programs for your school, especially if you’re trying to search for one that took place several years ago. It also never hurts to call ahead and try to talk with the librarian in charge of special collections. Programs from as early as 1871 are available. 

The programs contain the names of all graduates and their degrees and photos of many of the graduates. They make for an excellent keepsake for graduates and their families. Many libraries keep copies of programs from nearby colleges and universities, and some even have archives of programs dating back many years.

The University Historical Department is located in the University Library, and they have an extensive collection of commencement programs. Just go to the University Libraries website and type “commencement” into the search bar. Programs are kept on file, and each year’s program is added to the collection.

If your library doesn’t have the program, you’re looking for, you can try contacting the school directly. Most colleges and universities have online archives of past commencement programs, and many will send you a copy of the program if you ask.

How to get a copy of a commencement program?

In order to acquire your hands on a copy of a previous year’s commencement program, there are several options.

You can acquire programs online or via mail. Whichever method you choose, you’ll have to supply the necessary data:

• Your graduation date

• Your college name (e.g., University of…..)

• Your degree program (e.g., Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts)

• Your degree program name (e.g., Communication Studies)

• Your full legal name

Stop By Your College

If you’re attending a smaller university, it might be easier to look into getting your program the old-fashioned way. Stop by the registrar’s offices or the university archives, and you may be able to get a copy of the program used for your year – or maybe a couple of years before and after your graduation year. 

Of course, this option may take some time to arrive in your mailbox, but it can be worth it if you want one special keepsake from your school days.

Alumni associations

Many universities have alumni associations that can help you track down a copy of the commencement program. Some examples include the University of Chicago Alumni Association, the Harvard University Alumni Association, and the Yale University Alumni Association.


Finally, the last resort is to purchase a program copy from a third-party vendor. Prices for commencement programs vary widely, so compare prices before buying.

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