MIT has conferred degrees since 1868. Commencement has evolved throughout the Institute’s history, with 1917 as the first year Exercises were held on the new Cambridge campus. Between 1920 and 1978, the Exercises were held in locations both on campus and throughout Boston, including Symphony Hall and the New England Mutual Hall. Commencement Exercises were not held in 1918 and 1919 due to World War I.
The reestablishment of Killian Court as the site of MIT Commencement was proposed by the Class of 1978 and since 1979, MIT has maintained this tradition. In 2019, Killian Court also was the site of the Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral ceremony.
The year of the first Commencement guest speaker was 1880—these pages provide a list of the most recent Commencement speakers.
In the Commencement Archive you will also find MIT News Commencement Exercise coverage from the past 10 years and photo and video galleries.
Full coverage of Commencement is available via MIT News
- 2019 Climate crisis "is unlike any other ever faced by humankind."
- 2018 "It's about people"
- 2017 “How will you serve humanity?”
- 2016 “There’s more at stake today than in any story ever told”
- 2015 “It's mind, hand...and heart.”
- 2014 “Solve the unsolvable!”
- 2013 A sunny outlook for MIT graduates
- 2012 Sal Khan salutes ‘the wizards of tomorrow’
- 2011 “Set your sights on changing the world”
- 2010 “You can’t play it safe and win”
- 2009 “Write the next chapter”
- 2008 Yunus tells MIT grads they can ‘change the world’
- 2007 Vest guides MIT grads to optimism and service
- 2006 MIT graduates Class of 2006
- 2005 Thousands graduate in sun-soaked ceremony
- 2004 Zerhouni urges collaboration and the ‘50/50 rules of life’