NYU Commencement Guide: How to watch Taylor Swift’s speech online and more

On May 18, NYU is honoring the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 after two years of virtual graduation ceremonies. Here is what you need to know about the day.


Alana Beyer

NYU president Andrew Hamilton speaking at the commencement ceremony for the class of 2019 at Yankee Stadium. (Photo by Alana Beyer)

Tori Morales, Staff Writer

As May 18 comes closer and purple-robed seniors stroll through Washington Square Park, NYU is preparing for its first in-person commencement ceremonies at Yankee Stadium since 2019. The ceremony for the class of 2022 will run from approximately 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021 will start at around 5 p.m. and conclude at 7:30 p.m.

Order of commencement proceedings

Gates will open at 9 a.m. for the commencement ceremony of the class of 2022 and 4 p.m for the classes of 2020 and 2021, one hour before each ceremony’s preshow. The 30-minute-long preshow, which consists of student interviews conducted live from the stadium’s field, will be followed by faculty and platform party processions.

At approximately 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, the ceremonies will begin, featuring speeches from members of NYU’s board of trustees, faculty and one student from the graduating class. Honorary degree recipients will then deliver remarks and receive their diplomas.

For the ceremony celebrating the class of 2022, honorary degree recipients include neuroscientist and former Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Susan Hockfield, City University of New York chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez, and Grammy-winning musician, songwriter and producer Taylor Swift, who will speak on behalf of the honorary degree recipients.

Later in the day, the ceremony in honor of the classes of 2020 and 2021 will feature Smithsonian Institution secretary Lonnie Bunch, author and historian Jill Lepore and disability rights activist Judith Heumann, who will receive honorary degrees. Heumann will address attendees as a representative of the recipients.

[Read our interview with Judith Heumann on NYU’s commencement and disability activism]

Following the speeches, one preselected graduate from each school will accept a symbolic degree on behalf of their fellow graduates. The torch ceremony — a symbol of continuing education across generations in which a senior faculty member passes the torch to the youngest baccalaureate candidate — will proceed. A final speech will commend the graduating classes, and then, thousands of students will become NYU graduates.

Seating information and livestream access

Degree candidates will be seated in assigned sections on the field level, while guests will be seated in general admission sections on the upper levels of the stadium. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to ensure they are able to pass through security before the beginning of the ceremony. Selfie sticks, hard-sided containers, flowers, balloons and video cameras will be prohibited per Yankee Stadium policy.

Ceremonies will also be livestreamed on NYU’s website, Facebook profile and YouTube page for those unable to attend in person. Access the live stream here on May 18.

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COVID-19 protocol

NYU will not be requiring masks for guests or graduates, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding outdoor events. However, attendees are strongly encouraged to wear a mask. Guests should be aware that the university may update its COVID-19 protocols with changing city risk levels.

All graduates and attendees must be vaccinated and boosted with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization-authorized vaccine, unless they are younger than five years old or have a valid medical or religious exemption. Individuals who are not vaccinated will be required to provide a negative PCR test taken within three days of the ceremony. 

NYU encourages those with vaccination cards in languages other than English to have their documents translated for convenient admission. The university will not be checking the vaccination status of attendees, but all individuals must be able to provide proof of vaccination upon request.

Contact Tori Morales at [email protected].