Webcast: May 31 program

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Congratulations, graduates!

This pages hosts the on-demand video for May 31 online Commencement celebration, held especially for graduates and families who observed Shavuot on May 29.

  • Pre-show program
  • Main Commencement program ⇒ go to 1:01
  • Scroll of graduates’ names ⇒ go to 2:10:50
  • Post-show program ⇒ go to 2:21

Celebrating Commencement
  • Noon–1 pm EDT: Pre-program show, hosted by Talia Khan ’20 and Yaateh Richardson ’20
  • 1–2 pm EDT: Online Commencement Program and Degree Conferral
  • 2–3 pm EDT: Welcome into the MIT Alumni Association, scroll of graduates’ names, and post-program show

Download a PDF of the Commencement 2020 celebration program for May 31, including graduates’ names



To The Light, To The Flame
composed by Jamshied Sharifi ’83
performed by The MIT Wind Ensemble
conducted by Frederick E. Harris, Jr.


Cynthia Barnhart SM ’86 PhD ’88
Chancellor, MIT


Rabbi Michelle Fisher SM ’97
Executive Director, MIT Hillel

Commencement Address

William H. McRaven
US Navy Admiral, Retired
Chancellor, University of Texas System, 2015–2018


Introduction by Eran Egozy ’95
Professor of the Practice, Music and Theater Arts, MIT


Peter X. Su PhD ’20
President, MIT Graduate Student Council 2018–2020

Salute and Turning of the Class Ring

Nwanacho Nwana ’20
President, MIT Class of 2020

Charge to the Graduates and Conferring of Degrees

L. Rafael Reif
President, MIT

Salute to the Advanced Degree Recipients

Esther Duflo PhD ’99
Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, MIT

Closing Remarks

Cynthia Barnhart SM ’86 PhD ’88

School Song

Chorallaries of MIT

Take Me Back to Tech

MIT Community: sing-along!

Welcome into the MIT Alumni Association

R. Erich Caulfield SM ’01 PhD ’06
President, MIT Alumni Association

I wrote “To The Light, To The Flame” in 2015, as a response to the loss of two friends, both around my age, both unexpected losses. It is a meditation on the fragility of our lives, on the paradoxical sense of them being both long and brief, and on the need and wish and desire to live presently, fully, and with intention. It was a gift to the MIT Wind Ensemble and to Fred Harris, and it gives me great pleasure that it has found a place in this time of loss and uncertainty.

While writing the piece I came back several times to Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day” (printed below).  It was in some way a guide to the composition.

I wish the MIT Class of 2020 the best at this threshold in their lives.

—Jamshied Sharifi

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver (1935–2019)

from New and Selected Poems, 1992, Beacon Press, Boston, MA
Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver. All rights reserved.

For the names of performers, please see our list of thanks and acknowledgments.

Comusica is a participatory music experience featuring the voices of hundreds of 2020 graduates and alumni, stitched together into one of the largest crowd-sourced pieces of music ever undertaken. Read about Comusica in The Boston Globe

A collaboration by Music and Theater Arts, the Office of Digital Learning, MIT Video Productions, Resource Development, Arts at MIT, and the Opera of the Future Group at the Media Lab. Details and full list of credits at the Comusica website

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.

For the names of performers, please see our list of thanks and acknowledgments.

Download PDF

I wish that I were back again at Tech on Boylston Street,
Dressed in my dinky uniform so dapper and so neat.
I'm crazy after calculus, I never had enough;
’twas hard to be dragged away so young,
’twas horribly awfully tough!

Hurrah for Technology, ’ology ’ology oh,
Glorious old Technology, ’ology ’ology oh!

Back in the days that were free from care in the ’ology varsity shop,
With nothing to do but analyze air in an anemometrical top.
The differentiation of the trigonometric pow’rs
The constant pi that made me sigh in those happy days of ours.

Hurrah for Technology, ’ology ’ology oh,
Glorious old Technology, ’ology ’ology oh!

Take me back on a special train to the glorious institute,
I yearn for the inspiration of the technological toot.
I’d shun the quizzical physical prof and chapel and all that,
But how I’d love to go again on a scientific bat.

and then it’s
C-H-N-O-L-O-G and Y comes after G

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology!

Tag your social media posts with #MIT2020! 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 MIT Parents Association invites you to celebrate the graduates of 2020 with its DIY Commencement Party Kit! The kit includes customizable party decorations, music, a discount code to the COOP to purchase MIT swag, and more.

Graduates: you are invited to sign up for the MIT 2020 App powered by Volaroid! A team of MIT students and alums have built an immersive augmented reality experience to complement the online event...through the app, you’ll be able to create a digital avatar, then see yourself walk down Killian Court and receive your diploma from President Reif. The Volaroid team also will collect these memories to create an archive of the 2020 graduates of MIT.

All are invited to upload a photo for the community mosaic, an MIT Alumni Association project and part of Tech Reunions. As we celebrate the 2020 graduates, you are family, too...join us!

This Commencement season is unusual...see the special FAQ relating to graduation in the time of covid-19.

For day-of technical issues, please contact the webcast team.

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 2020.