Commencement 2023

A return to tradition after the pandemic.

On May 22, over 4,000 newly minted graduates—the vast majority of whose Yale years were affected by fallout from the pandemic—celebrated at a ceremony noteworthy for its return to tradition. Students, families, and friends gathered for Yale’s 322nd commencement on Old Campus on a perfect May day, sunny but not too sunny, breezy but not too breezy. Yale conferred 1,436 degrees on undergraduates, 2,757 graduate and professional degrees, and nine honorary degrees.

One day earlier, on Class Day, Elizabeth Alexander ’84—poet, scholar, and the president of the Mellon Foundation—had delivered the 2023 Class Day address. That same morning, President Peter Salovey ’86PhD gave the Baccalaureate address (right) and Yale College dean Pericles Lewis gave his Class Day remarks. Most deans don’t quote the Grateful Dead in public, but Lewis was up for “Truckin’”: “Sometimes the light’s all shining on me  /  Other times I can barely see  /  Lately it occurs to me  /  What a long strange trip it's been.”

Click through to the next page for lists of teaching prize winners and honorary degree recipients. Read the president's Baccalaureate address here. And read interviews with new graduates here.