Class of 2021

Diplomas coming out of the building 10 dome

Commencement 2021

To honor the incredible hard work and accomplishments of our graduating students, Commencement 2021 has two parts:

  • First, on online event on June 4, 2021, to confer degrees (all degrees, all Schools) and to celebrate our graduates.

Video in the Commencement Archive

What happens now?

Planning for the May 2022 on-campus festivities for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will continue in the months to come—the Commencement Committee, Alumni Association, and student leaders will be working together to collect input from graduates and staff. Please remain alert to your email, keep your contact information current with the Registrar’s Office and the MIT Alumni Association, and follow #mit2021 (often, announcements are reinforced via social media.)

Thank you—We look forward to gathering again in Cambridge as OneMIT.

Online Commencement 2021

Download a PDF of the MIT Commencement 2021 program, including graduates’ names


Order of the Program

Opening

DIARY OF A PANDEMIC YEAR

Composed by Jamshied Sharifi ’83
Conducted by Frederick E. Harris, Jr.

Lyrics based on poetry by Sophia D-G ’22; Patricia Gao ’21; Cynthia Hua, Affiliated Research Assistant, Media Arts and Sciences; Moana Minton Meadow ’02; Maisha M. Prome ’21; and Kareena Villalobos ’22

Poetry compiled and edited by Erica Funkhouser, Lecturer, MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing

Performed by MIT Wind Ensemble & MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, Frederick E. Harris, Jr., Music Director; MIT Symphony Orchestra, Adam K. Boyles, Music Director; MIT Concert Choir, William Cutter, Music Director; MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Laura Grill Jaye, Music Director; and Rambax MIT, Lamine Touré, Music Director

With students from The Chorallaries of MIT, The MIT Logarhythms, MIT Syncopasian, The MIT Asymptones, and MIT Resonance

Director/Editor: Jean Dunoyer ’87 | Audio Mixing and Mastering Engineer: Jamshied Sharifi | Recording Engineer: Cuco Daglio | Videographers: Miles Lowery, Jean Dunoyer, and Alex Loer | Director of MIT Video Productions: Clayton Hainsworth


Welcome

Diane B. Greene SM ’78
Chair, MIT Corporation

Invocation

Reverend Thea Keith-Lucas
Interim Chaplain to the Institute

Commencement Address

Bryan Stevenson
Founder and Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative

Video: The Class of 2021 Looks Back

Produced by MIT Video Productions

Salute

Madeleine Sutherland
President, MIT Graduate Student Council, 2020-2021

Salute and Turning of the Class Ring

Kofi Blake
President, MIT Class of 2021

Greetings from Palmer Station, Antarctica

Daniel Lowenstein
PhD student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Chemical Oceanography
Research Assistant, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Charge to the Graduates and Conferring of Degrees

L. Rafael Reif
President, MIT

Salute from the Faculty

Sangeeta N. Bhatia SM ’93 PhD ’97
John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Engineering, MIT

Welcome into the MIT Alumni Association

Charlene C. Kabcenell ’79
President, MIT Alumni Association

Closing Remarks

Diane B. Greene SM ’78
Chair, MIT Corporation

School Song
and Take Me Back to Tech

Led by the Chorallaries of MIT

The hour following the online Commencement Celebration Program and Degree Conferral was devoted to the presentation of graduates’ names. In addition, graduates may search for their names and share an individual slide with family and friends.

Go to the graduate recognition site

MIT welcomed Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, as the guest speaker for the Commencement 2021 online celebration program. Stevenson, Aronson Family Professor of Criminal Justice at the New York University School of Law, is a public interest lawyer and social justice activist who is also the author of the best-selling memoir, Just Mercy and the visionary creator of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which commemorates the Black victims of lynching in the United States. Read more in The Tech and in MIT News.

For the full list of performers, please see our page of thanks and acknowledgments

Lyrics and composer’s notes

Notes

Diary Of A Pandemic Year grew from a seed planted by Fred Harris and Gayle Gallagher; to compose and present a piece of music at MIT’s 2021 Commencement that reflected the unique challenges of the past year. Fred and Gayle had specific ideas about the architecture and tone of the piece: it should begin with a pensive fanfare, it should progress from dark to light, and it should incorporate text in some way. I find such guidance helpful in narrowing the scope of a composition and making it possible to begin writing. But it was not until Erica Funkhouser sent a compilation of student poems on the pandemic that the vision for the piece became clear. The emotional openness, simplicity, and at times aching sadness of their writing was my guiding light, and informed all compositional decisions.

Reading their selected lines, and the longer poems from which they were drawn, I began to get a sense of the impact of the pandemic on young people – its larger significance given their fewer years on the planet, its limiting force on a time that should for them be exploratory and expansive, and its uncomfortable place in a matrix of unfolding calamities brought on primarily by human inattention and hubris.

The current moment feels hopeful; the birds sing of new life. But I sense in the pandemic a warning, and an unsubtle suggestion that we should not “return to normal”, but seek an evolved, equitable, and holistic way of structuring our world. Our young people know this in their bones. We should listen.

Jamshied Sharifi


Lyrics

Lyrics based on poetry by Sophia D-G ’22; Patricia Gao ’21; Cynthia Hua, Affiliated Research Assistant, Media Arts and Sciences; Moana Minton Meadow ’02; Maisha M. Prome ’21; and Kareena Villalobos ’22

Poetry compiled and edited by Erica Funkhouser, Lecturer, MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing

 

To the list of things that make me sad,
I add each day each day
 
The color goes.
This is the world:
Just gray and gray and gray.     
 
Longing is the same in both directions.    
Look at the sky and remember    
 
Everything beautiful lies both forwards and backwards.    
Look at the sky and remember
That it’s good to be alive.    
 
Overwriting the written constellations
I create my own new map
I trace my finger along the lines.   
 
I am the little blade of light
Blade of light
from the crack in the door.
 
I am the orange wedge
Of sun
Of sun
Through your window.     
 
This is the beginning
of the story we tell
again and again
It is the beginning
of the story we tell
Who will listen?
 
We are fragile
we are precious
we are fragile
 
We are fragile
we are precious
we are fragile
 
We are fragile
we are precious
Who will listen?  

Arise All Ye of MIT

Lyrics revised (1985) by Alvin Kahn
Download PDF

Arise, all ye of MIT
in loyal fellowship
the future beckons unto thee
and life is full and rich.
Arise and raise your glass on high
tonight shall ever be
a mem’ry that will never die
for ye of MIT.

Thy sons and daughters, MIT
return from far and wide
and gather here once more to be
re-nourished by thy side.
And as we raise our glasses high
to pledge our love for thee
we join all those of days gone by
in praise of MIT.

Tag your social media posts with #MIT2021! Connect on Twitter (@MIT, @MITCommencement, @MITStudents, @MIT_Alumni), Instagram (MITpics, MITStudents, MITalumni), and Facebook (Facebook.com/MITnews, Facebook.com/MITAA). Go to socialmediahub.mit.edu to experience the day through MIT social media accounts.

The Commencement party kit includes downloadable party decorations, Zoom backgrounds, music, a discount code to the COOP to purchase MIT swag, and more, courtesy of the MIT Alumni Association. Contact

School of Architecture and Planning

Architecture
Thursday, June 3 | 12 – 1:15 pm
Request a Zoom invitation

Program in Media Arts and Sciences
Thursday, June 3 | 2 – 3 pm EST
Celebration information

School of Engineering

The Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology
Wednesday, May 26 | 5–7 pm
Request an invitation

Supply Chain Management Program
Saturday, May 22 | 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Friday, June 4 | 3:30 pm – 5 pm
Request an invitation

Sloan School of Management

One Sloan Convocation
Friday, May 28
Event information and webcast link

School of Science

Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
Thursday, June 3 | 4:30 pm
More information

MIT–WHOI Joint Program
Wednesday, June 2 | 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Zoom registration details to follow

For the names of musicians and contributors, please see the full list of credits and acknowledgments of the many people to whom we are indebted for producing MIT Commencement 2021.

2021 FAQ

The online Commencement 2021 celebration program was webcast with captions and ASL interpretation. No special equipment is required to enjoy the show.

No: there is one MIT Commencement ceremony program for all degrees and all areas of study.

 

All graduating students are eligible to receive a digital version of their diploma at no cost. Digital diplomas enable you to own your MIT credential and are the most immediate way for you to share your achievement with potential employers, institutions of higher learning, and family and friends.

In order to receive your digital diploma, you must opt-in and complete the following steps:

1.    Open one of the reminder emails from the Registrar’s Office.
2.    Download the Blockcerts Wallet app to your mobile device.
3.    Add MIT as an issuer.

After Commencement, subsequent issuances will occur on the first of the month. Learn more about MIT’s digital diplomas and email records@mit.edu with questions.

Yes. All graduates will receive their MIT diplomas. Digital diplomas are not a replacement for MIT’s traditional, paper diploma. Be sure to keep your contact information current in WebSIS so the Registrar knows how and where to reach you. If you graduated in September or February and no longer have access to WEBSIS, write to records@mit.edu to provide your new contact information. This is critical to MIT being able to reach you with official electronic or physical mailings.

Physical diplomas will be mailed to all Class of 2021 graduates by the Registrar’s Office in mid-June; expected shipment time is 2-3 weeks. To ensure prompt delivery, please update your mailing address in degreeapp.mit.edu by Friday, June 4.

No, you do not need to worry about placing an order for academic regalia.

However, if you wish to have a cap and gown for photos and to keep as a souvenir, you may either

A note for PhD/ScD candidates: your Doctoral hood will be provided to you by MIT...you do not need to order it. Diplomas + hoods are to be shipped over the summer. To ensure prompt delivery, please update your mailing address in degreeapp.mit.edu by Friday, June 4.

Yes! You may still order a class ring:

  • 2021 undergraduates: contact MIT’s Herff Jones representative, Jeff Quirk
  • 2021 advanced degrees: visit the Grad Rat website for details

The hour following the online Commencement Celebration Program and Degree Conferral was devoted to the presentation of graduates’ names. In addition, graduates may search for their names and share an individual slide with family and friends.

Go to the graduate recognition site

YES. If you chose not to submit a recording of your name via Name Coach—or if you missed the deadline—and you were on the degree list, you were included in graduate recognition. ⇒ Go to the graduate recognition site

Because the celebration was online this year, all graduates (September 2020, February 2021, and June 2021) were recognized.

If you think you have missed Commencement-related email, first check your spam and junk boxes for errant messages. To confirm you are on the degree list OR to provide a post-MIT email for further communication, please follow up with the Registrar’s Office.

Because the Class of 2021 will be invited back to campus in May 2022, it is very important to keep your contact information current. Thank you.

A special message from Volaroid

A group of students banded together combining creativity and tech to make a one-of-a-kind gift, MIT-style! UNBOX YOUR GRADUATION!

Check out 📢THE GRAD APP!!📢, an augmented reality mobile app where you can create an avatar (using computer vision), receive your diploma on Killian Court (build in game engine), and share your moment with the world (using screen record).

Simply download THE GRAD APP from the Android and iOS stores (it's free) and enter your name to unlock the experience!

Good luck and keep shining bright!

Cheers to you!

—Victoria, Eswar, Luis, & Austin

  • Tag us on social media #mitgradapp #onemit #mit2021
  • If you have any issues or want to say hi, email us at  vbousis@mit.edu

Planning for the May 2022 on-campus festivities for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will continue in the months to come—the Commencement Committee, Alumni Association, and student leaders will be working together to collect input from graduates and staff. Please remain alert to your email, keep your contact information current with the Registrar’s Office and the MIT Alumni Association, and follow #mit2021 (often, announcements are reinforced via social media.)

Thank you—We look forward to gathering again in Cambridge as OneMIT.