Commencement Email #3


Happy Patriot’s Day and last week of classes!

Included in this email is information on:

1.Ticket Ordering – now open!
2.Graduation Award Nominations
3.Graduating Students Reception
4.Yearbooks and Congratulatory Ads
5.Disability Accommodations


The ticket reservation system for commencement is now up and running. The deadline for reserving tickets is Friday, May 4th. You will pick up your tickets starting Wednesday, May 16th.

Before you can reserve your tickets, we ask you to complete a short questionnaire about your experience at HLS. It takes less than 5 minutes and is a really important way for us to get comprehensive student feedback.

This is our ninth year of the survey. The scores and comments are taken very seriously and compared to previous years.

I want to assure you that survey responses are completely confidential. Your scores and comments go into a database, separate from any identifying information used for the tickets. The anonymous results are given to Dean Martha Minow.

Comments are reviewed, sorted by departments, and specifics are discussed and addressed on a department level. The feedback has helped us to improve things during the last eight years, so we are anxious to hear from you about what works, what doesn’t, and what changes you would like to see.

Once you complete the survey, you will be able to reserve your tickets. If you are not participating in the ceremonies and do not need any tickets, we invite you to complete the survey to provide feedback.

You will be able to order tickets to the various ceremonies through our on-line reservation system beginning today, here:

Here’s a quick summary of how the tickets work:

You do not need tickets to any of the events on the Law School campus on Class Day, Wednesday, May 23.

On Commencement Day, Thursday, May 24, you will receive 2 guest tickets for the University’s Morning Ceremony in Harvard Yard (you do not need a ticket as you will be seated with your class). This is where President Faust will confer your degree. The Law School stands as a group and sits – no individual calling of names (that happens at the next ceremony). This ceremony has about 32,000+ people and is a standing room only crowd. This is not for the faint of heart since it takes a long time to get in and out of the ceremony (as a rough example, most guests are in their seats by 7:30am and the ceremony doesn’t start until 9:45am). We suggest that people who might tire easily or be more sensitive to temperature opt instead to watch the ceremony in air conditioned comfort on the many screens we will have available in the law school classrooms. Sadly, because the ceremony is so crowded, we cannot give out any additional tickets for this ceremony so your additional guests are welcome to view the ceremony in the classrooms as well.

After the morning ceremony ends (11:15ish), you return to the Law School for the Luncheon and Diploma Ceremony. This is where Dean Martha Minow distributes degrees individually by degree and section. You get 1 complimentary ticket for lunch. You can purchase additional tickets for lunch ($15 each). Alternatively, your guests are welcome to attend the Law School ceremony without tickets if they would prefer to just sit at a table and not eat lunch. The ceremony is held on Holmes Field (in front of Langdell) and involves 5000 people at 500 tables of 10. The tables are not reserved so seating is first-come first-served. Everyone gets a seat. No reserving tables is allowed; if a sign is spotted on a table, a Commencement staff person will remove it.

After the Law School Ceremony, you can return to the Yard for the Afternoon Ceremony which includes speeches by President Faust and the Commencement Speaker, Dr. Fareed Zakaria. You get 3 tickets to this ceremony but there is usually room for additional guests. Graduating students do not need a ticket as long as you are still in academic regalia. This event usually involves 15,000 people.

You will pick up your tickets starting Wednesday May 16. You must be cleared through the Registrar and Student Financial Offices before receiving your tickets. In addition, you must complete the Graduate Employment Survey. If you have any questions regarding completing the survey, please contact OCS at  ocs at or 617-495-3119.


We are soliciting nominations for some graduation awards:

The Dean’s Awards for Community Leadership recognize a number of graduating students who contribute time and energy to making the HLS community a better place through involvement in student organizations, community service groups and individual efforts.

The Frank Righeimer Jr. Student Prize for Citizenship is awarded annually to one graduating student to recognize exceptional citizenship within the Law School community through involvement in student organizations, community service groups and individual efforts.

The William J. Stuntz Award, recognizing the graduating student who, in his or her time at Harvard Law School, has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to justice, respect for human dignity, and compassion.

The David Westfall Memorial Award for Student Citizenship is awarded annually to one graduating student for contributions to creating community within the first-year section and class.

To nominate graduating students for these awards, please email a short statement in support of their nomination to  dos at by Friday, April 20. Awards will be announced at the Class Day ceremony.

Nominated students will automatically be considered for all of these awards (unless you indicate otherwise). Please feel free to contact us with any questions ( dos at, (617) 495-1880)


Dean Martha Minow invites you to the Graduating Students Reception Wednesday, April 18 in Milstein East: 5:00pm to 7:00pm.


If you haven’t already purchased your 2012 yearbook, go to:… to personalize and order! Your yearbook will be shipped to you later during the summer and will include memories from the 2011-2012 school year, Class Day, and Commencement. Follow this link… for more information on purchasing a congratulatory ad for this year’s yearbook to personalize and upload text and photos. Ads are a great way for you, your family, and your friends to memorialize your time at HLS, so feel free to forward this link on to those you love. And it’s still not too late to upload photos of your student organization, journal, events, parties and HLS memories:… If it does not automatically log you into the site, enter username: 400135497 and password: harvardlaw – browse to select the photo(s) you wish to upload. (minimum recommended resolution of 400X600pixels). Enter information about the photo and provide contact information in case the staff needs additional information. Click “Save Details”. It’s that easy! Submit your photos today! *Please note that the Yearbook Staff will review all photos and determine final yearbook content. We cannot guarantee that all submissions will be used in the book. Any questions? Email  dsaylors at


If you or one of your guests is in need of disability accommodations, please be in touch with Natalie Rios ( nrios at in the Dean of Students Office, as soon as possible. The accommodation tickets for the University ceremonies are on a first come, first served basis and are limited.

There will be more info to come in the next few weeks about tickets and other important graduation details so please check your email and the Commencement 2012 website regularly. Thanks!

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