The History. The Tradition. The Speech.
Leave Your Mark in Harvard History.
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Three Categories: Undergraduate English, Undergraduate Latin, Graduate English
Each year at the Harvard Commencement, three graduating students speak to approximately 32,000 students, faculty, parents, alumni/ae, and guests. As soon as the first anthem concludes, a senior strides to the microphone and announces, Salvete omnes! What follows is one of the oldest of Harvard traditions - an oration in Latin. Then a graduating senior, followed by a representative from one of the graduate or professional schools, deliver speeches in English. The original purpose of these speeches was to defend one’s thesis but, over time, topics have broadened and may now address important issues, current events, or lessons learned from personal experiences at Harvard or in the wider world.